Tribune: State says DuPage County’s consolidation efforts are a model for others

Jan. 11, 2016

Marwa Eltagouri, Chicago Tribune

…The state has the highest number of municipalities and special district governments in the nation, at 1,298 and 3,227, respectively, according to the report findings. The state also has at least 6,000 taxing units of government.

“This report shows the efficiencies and inefficiencies within local governments, and provides concepts on how to give the people of Illinois more control over their future and their tax dollars,” said Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner in a statement Monday.

County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said he was thrilled to see DuPage used as the model for government consolidation by state officials, who praised the ACT Initiative within the report. They outlined the program’s cost savings: A projected $116 million in taxpayer savings through shared services, $20 million in savings since overhauling employee benefits for county workers, and $6.9 million in savings since closing the county’s youth home and instead partnering with Kane County to provide youth detention services.

Cronin, a member of the task force, said he found the spotlight on DuPage County “uncomfortable at times,” but said he hopes the attention will effectively convey to other counties and legislators that consolidation is, in fact, achievable.

“A lot of folks are cynical,” Cronin said. “They say, ‘I appreciate your sentiment,’ or, ‘You’re not going to be able to get rid of that government or consolidate that tax.’ Yes, we can. It’s hard work. It’s incremental. And it takes time. But it pays dividends.”

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