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Normal Township Supervisor Race Focuses On Public Assistance

Sarah Grammer, left, and Cheryl Gaines
Charlie Schlenker

The two candidates for Normal Township supervisor have opposing views on making the public assistance program more efficient.

Township duties are to determine the value of property for taxation, to take care of roads not maintained by other government entities, and to distribute welfare to the local poor who are not eligible for other public aid.

Republican Cheryl Gaines said she has been a public servant her entire working life, working in social services and on the town council. She says those skills have prepared her for the job.

Sarah Grammer said she is concerned about Governor Bruce Rauner's push for consolidation of small units of government and considers the services townships offer vital to the community. Grammer has a background in business analysis.

Grammer said it doesn't make sense to have full time people administer a public assistance program that serves only about 30 people a month.

"There are more opportunities through the city of Bloomington because with their full-time staff they are seeing such a larger volume, three to four times more people a month. They are already doing this," said Grammer.

Gaines said Normal Township should continue to administer the program.

"Those are folks who are really down on their luck. They really don't have a lot. And that is what the township is there to do and is mandated to do," said Gaines.

Administrative costs top 20 percent to offer public assistance in Normal Township for those not eligible for other public aid, according to a review of the 2014 budget posted online.

Gaines said efficiency can be gained through more aggressive grant writing.

Grammer also wants to reduce Normal Township trustee pay. She said four trustees each get about $5,000 a year. Other townships pay about $75 for a monthly.

Neither candidate wants to follow Rauner's call for consolidation of of governmental units by joining with the town.

Both candidates said they support the Adult Recreation Center (ARC) for people over age 55.

The ARC also serves people who do not live in Normal Township. Gaines and Grammer have slightly different approaches to making sure Normal taxpayers recapture costs associated with non-resident users. Grammer suggested individual charges. Gaines said she wants to have a conversation with the McLean County Board which could support usage by residents of other townships.

Hear an interview with GLT's Charlie Schlenker about the candidates' vision for the job, starting with Sarah Grammer.

WGLT News Director Charlie Schlenker grew up in Rock Island and graduated from Augustana College. He has spent more than three decades in radio.