By Karol Sole

“I live in Hinsdale. Why are you asking me about Downers Grove Township?” asks a voter. You explain that the whole County is divided into nine Townships, like a tic-tac-toe board, and Hinsdale is in the southeastern township, named Downers Grove Township. Hinsdale is in Downers Grove Township. So is Darien, and other area communities. “But if I’ve never even heard of it, why does Downers Grove Township matter to me?”

If you happen to live in an unincorporated area, the Township is YOUR local government. Aren’t you curious to know what they are doing, for you, – or NOT doing for you? If you live anywhere in the Township, including downtown Hinsdale, you are paying taxes to the Township. Every property in the Township pays the same tax rate to the Township, whether the property is in the unincorporated areas, or not. Thanks, everyone, for helping to pay to maintain the roads and police protection in the unincorporated areas!

What is this Township unit of government good for? Employing Republicans. No record has been found of any Democrat being elected as a Downers Grove Township official, or employed in the office. The Highway Commissioner, the Assessor, the Supervisor and the Clerk are all elected in a partisan election by Township voters, along with four Trustees. They are all paid positions, some more than $100,000 per year! Salaries were set for the new term at the November 12, 2020 meeting, but the amount of the increases were not included in the meeting minutes – not very transparent for a unit of government! 2019 records show at least 35 employees, some known to be family members of elected officials, 80% receiving IMRF (pensions.)

What does the Township do? The Township has three funds: the General Town Fund, the General Assistance Fund, and the Road & Bridge Fund. For this discussion in the time of COVID with unemployment high and jobs scarce, let’s look at the General Assistance Fund which is intended to provide:

·        Financial support for residents who have limited resources or none;

·        Financial support for residents who are unemployed or disabled without any other forms of income;

·        Emergency aid and assistance.

You knew about this, right? General Assistance funding is available at the Township! Did you see the article in the paper? The informational postcard? Hear the PSA on the radio? Oh wait, those are ideas proposed by our Democratic candidates to notify struggling residents of financial aid available from the Township. Has any outreach even been attempted by the current Township officials? What would Democratic management of these programs look like? Democrats might even shift budget dollars to make additional assistance available in this difficult time!

Get to know our candidates for Downers Grove Township:

Maryann Vasquez, Supervisor

Tom Chlystek, Highway Commissioner

Mary Lemanski, Clerk

Gail Cabala-Lowry, Trustee

Gerry Kirschbaum, Trustee

Janet Winningham, Trustee

Bonnie Wayman Dodd Trustee

Our Democratic township candidates will reimagine Township Government with new ideas, new skills and new energy based in Democratic philosophy, ideals, policy and positions! Please give them your support and your vote!