THE VOICE OF THE TOWNSHIP

Guardian of the Taxpayer

 

The year 2004 has been for all forms of local government. With budget cuts and tax reassessment, there is absolutely no room for waste. At Wayne Township, we understand the dual responsibility of providing service to those in need and also being a good steward of the tax dollar.

We have often described the services that we provide and the means to access those services. We have also clearly laid out our plans to involve our community partners. We would like to share our vision for protecting your tax dollars and making a return on your investment. We accomplish this task as described below.

Workfare: All able-bodied clients who receive township assistance (and who are not employed) are assigned workdays at local nonprofit agencies. This allows those clients to pick up valuable job skills and since the beginning of 2004 has repaid the community over $150,000.00 for their investment. It also provides the sense of pride we all get from working to attain rather than simply accepting a charitable contribution.

Employment: All clients applying for township assistance are required to register with our Employment Department. The clients fill out an application and our employment specialist matches the client’s skills with available positions from the many employers that work with our office. Clients are also compelled to look for work on their own and provide proof of doing so each month before receiving assistance.

Investigation: All clients are required by law to provide proof of income and how that income has been spent for the past sixty days. Clients failing to do so are not considered for township assistance.

All clients must provide a valid state or federal photo I.D. before the application process can begin. All clients are also checked for outstanding warrants when they apply for township assistance.

Liens and Reimbursements: All clients who request assistance with mortgage payments are informed that a lien will be placed against their property. Taxpayers are only repaid for their contribution(s) to a household when the property is sold or changes ownership. Clients are informed of this prior to receiving assistance. If an individual is not capable of working and has applied for SSI, Wayne Township will provide assistance in the interim period while their eligibility (for SSI) is being determined. When (and if) the client receives a retroactive lump-sum payment from the government, taxpayers are then repaid for the assistance provided during the interim period unless the client performed workdays for the assistance.

Criminal Prosecution: All clients that provide false information in order to receive benefits are denied any (excluding burial) assistance for two months. Any client who has committed felony welfare fraud is not eligible for assistance for ten years (one year for a misdemeanor). Any client convicted of township fraud is not eligible for assistance for thirty years. Some forms of government have virtually no accountability and even fewer have ways of replenishing funds distributed to the public. Township government is unique. The dual roles are clearly defined in the Indiana statutes. The Wayne Township Trustee Office is keenly aware of its responsibility to be the “Guardian of the Taxpayer and Advocate of those in need.”

The Waynedale News Staff

Matthew Schomburg

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