Lawmakers seek to consolidate about 300 Indiana townships

(WISH Photo, file)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Some Indiana lawmakers are looking to consolidate township government in the state after multiple instances of corruption.

The Courier & Press reports that Indiana House Republicans announced a plan early this month to merge about 300 of Indiana’s 1,005 townships over the next five years. The legislators aim to introduce the effort in 2018. The plan would eliminate almost 1,200 elected positions.

Reformers have long sought to curb township government because it gives elected officials unusual discretion to spend taxpayer money.

An investigation by the newspaper last year found that township trustees have limited oversight and are given enough autonomy to abuse the privilege.

In 2010, Knight Township in Vanderburgh County had to institute its own controls after Trustee Linda K. Durham misappropriated nearly $70,000 in taxpayer money.