Moraine Township, Lake County, Illinois
News of the Township

As published in the Highland Park News (Opinion page 21, November 24, 2005)
with Headline:

"Moraine Township looks to be model of civic enterprise"


Collaboration, Coordination Emerging Themes of Moraine Township Government


November 16 marks the 6 month anniversary of the date your new Board of Trustees were installed to serve Moraine Township.  At this juncture, it seems appropriate to review, and report to the public, our progress since that time.  We feel quite proud of where we are already!

Moraine Township now holds evening Board meetings.  Generally, on second Thursdays at 5:00pm, we meet at the Township office, 777 Central in Highland Park. On most fourth Thursdays at 7:30pm, we meet at the Highwood City Hall, a location which will enable us to eventually provide monthly coverage on local cable TV.  Consult our new web site for details at www.morainetownship.org.

As a Board of your elected officials, we seek to provide the highest level of service, delivered economically and prudently.  An emerging theme summarizing most of our activities over these past months is "collaboration and coordination."  Township government at its best represents the largess of the community, and has the potential to take a leadership role in both providing resources to those in need, and in coordinating the efforts of others.  Entrusted with the public's assets to extend a helping hand, we can help private resources stretch farther as well.   That's where our efforts have been focused.

Our goal is to close gaps in services and avoid duplication by offering to coordinate the generous efforts of civic-minded individuals and organizations who provide food to hungry families, for example.  Willing hands and open hearts have responded positively to my call for meeting together to work out schedules and to share recipient lists so that no one is left behind.  Much has already been accomplished; we are off to good start during this holiday season.
 
Perhaps the most public of Township services is the Food Pantry/Clothes Closet function.  Our Board has been literally "hands on" in sprucing up the space hosting generous items provided by various donor groups and individuals.  Along the way, we've stepped up coordination of calendars so that large food and clothing drive items will come in throughout the year, providing a more consistent level of goods for those in need.  

Less visible is the issue of paratransit, transportation for seniors and disabled populations.  As you may be aware, funding for the taxi subsidy program ends at our boundaries.  This provides an unacceptable level of service for our residents. Almost as soon as we took office, I began to meet with Highland Park's Senior Center officials, and Trustees began to take an active role in the Lake County Coordinated Transportation Services Committee (LCCTSC) meetings.  We've been looking at the solutions attempted in neighboring townships, where some own and operate their own shuttle buses.  How much we spend on the present taxi program and its inefficiencies has been the topic of many of our Board meetings.  Coordination and cooperation are needed to solve issues having regional elements, like paratransit.

Trustees and Clerk have been deployed in liaison positions to relevant City commissions like Human Relations; and to committees including Welfare Council, Community Family Center, Katrina Relief, Character Counts, and the North Shore Estates ad hoc group.  I have been actively engaged in meeting with other township Supervisors to discuss how we can collaborate, cooperate and learn from what they are accomplishing.

We will be continuing efforts along these lines, and articulating our frame of reference in a newly-adopted Mission Statement.  We invite public comment and urge your attendance at our meetings!  The doors of Moraine Township are open weekdays to greet you.  We warmly invite you to become a co-collaborator in our efforts to be a model of civic enterprise.

Mari Barnes,
Supervisor



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