As the supervisor of River Forest Township, I am responding to your editorial of July 10, "Time for Innovation." You suggest the idea of a merger between River Forest Township and Oak Park Township, with the comment, "River Forest Township basically purchases its services from Oak Park Township already."
As a reminder, both River Forest Township and Oak Park Township provide essential human services to our communities, in the areas of seniors, youth, mental health (including behavior health and developmental disabilities) and financial assistance. Equally important are the property taxpayer assistance services provided by both township assessors' offices.
Notably, township services are efficiently provided in River Forest at the cost of 1% of a property tax bill and 2.5% of a property tax bill in Oak Park. A separate township levy ensures that funds are preserved and set aside specifically for the purposes of human and assessor services.
River Forest Township does indeed purchase some of its services from Oak Park Township, as noted by the editorial. Through this partnership, the two townships reduce administrative costs and create economies of scale in delivering human services.
However, River Forest Township has its own unique identity and role in River Forest. The assessor's office specifically serves River Forest property taxpayers, including many seniors. The township staff daily provides support to River Forest residents relating to our human services areas.
Importantly, River Forest Township provides a wide range of services and programs in addition to those shared with Oak Park Township. We collaborate extensively with the other River Forest taxing bodies in serving our residents.
For example, River Forest Township funds and manages the Sibshop program, for siblings of those with disabilities and mental health issues. We host support groups for those who have lost loved ones to suicide. With the River Forest Public Library, we develop and co-sponsor cultural and educational programming for seniors. We provide need-based scholarships to River Forest children for local recreational programming.
We believe a separate River Forest Township offers an optimal combination for our residents, achieved in a low-cost manner: collaboration with neighboring Oak Park Township to reduce administrative costs and increase economies of scale of human services, and our own River Forest Township which uniquely serves the specific needs of those who live here.
River Forest residents are invited to learn more about the township by contacting me at 708-366-2029 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting www.RiverForestTownship.org.
Supervisor, River Forest Township
Answer Book 2018
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