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I am pleased to report that the Vernon Township Board recently saved $140,000 of taxpayer money – over 5% of the township’s entire budget – by taking a more fiscally responsible approach to the provision of our employee health insurance plans. We accomplished this in two ways. First, we replaced the township’s longtime insurance broker – a politically connected firm that consistently failed to secure low costs for Vernon Township taxpayers. Second, we restructured employee benefit packages in a manner that is fair to our employees and that is more consistent with industry standards.
These savings will allow us to better serve our community and return more money to taxpayers. For example, we are expanding the Township’s capacity to award grants to social service agencies, so we can support more organizations that are providing vital services to our community, such as senior services, mental health, and support for individuals with disabilities. Additionally, we are hiring part-time bilingual staff who speak fluent Russian and Spanish, so we can more effectively serve the many immigrant families in our community who rely upon our services. We are also working with experts to develop a program that will mitigate the growing and troublesome skunk population throughout the township.
Finally, for the second year in a row, Vernon Township will be reducing its property tax levy. Although we are a small government and collect only a small portion of the property taxes you pay, one of our core commitments is to do our part to address our community’s property tax crisis. I continue to encourage all local governments to follow our example at Vernon Township by reducing costs, eliminating wasteful spending, and reevaluating all contracts and expenditures to ensure taxpayer money is managed fairly and responsibly.