from a press release
The Illinois House of Representatives passed landmark legislation today 108-6, initiated by Chairman Dan Cronin, granting DuPage County the authority to reduce the size, scope and cost of local government.
“For the first time, county leaders will have the ability to redesign how public services are delivered to our citizens and to eliminate the red tape that prevents consolidation and shared services among government entities,” said Cronin. “It will allow DuPage County to act as a laboratory to thoughtfully evaluate opportunities for consolidation of specific county-appointed agencies when it has been determined cost savings can be achieved.”
Sponsored by Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) and Representative Deb Conroy (D-Elmhurst), Senate Bill 494 provides DuPage County with the authority to dissolve, by ordinance, outdated or defunct County appointed agencies. The unprecedented legislation would potentially impact County appointed (non-elected) governmental agencies that provide public services such as sanitary, mosquito abatement, fire protection (without full-time employees) and street lighting.
Cronin thanked the General Assembly members for their leadership to eliminate barriers that prohibit consolidation and shared services.
“I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the bill’s sponsors, Senator Tom Cullerton and Representative Deb Conroy, who worked diligently to shepherd this bill through the legislative process which at times, was not an easy task,” said Cronin. “A number of special interest groups emerged early on to attempt to defeat the legislation in order to preserve the status quo. Similar consolidation measures have failed in the past. This is clearly precedent setting legislation that will lead to further consolidation efforts statewide.”
SB 494 also provides safeguards for residents. Before a government entity can be dissolved, the issue will be properly vetted through an audit, a six-month public review process in addition to the option of a backdoor referendum.
The legislation will further assist in the County’s mission to streamline local government. The board recently assessed the finances and operations of the County’s appointed agencies that account for nearly $300 million in taxpayer money and employ approximately 900 people. Following the assessment, Cronin launched the DuPage ACT Initiative (Accountability, Consolidation and Transparency) in May of 2012 that serves as a roadmap for agencies to follow in an effort to comply with DuPage County policies. To date, the County has achieved more than $5 million in taxpayer savings and enhanced the accountability and transparency of these non-elected government entities.
SB 494 now advances to Governor Pat Quinn’s office to be signed into law.