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Article updated: 3/19/2013 7:50 AM

Sanitary district finally disbanded in DuPage

By Robert Sanchez

The protracted legal effort needed to disband a sanitary district that hadn't served a useful purpose for years is being cited by DuPage County officials as another reason why they want state lawmakers to give them the authority to consolidate some taxing bodies.

A DuPage judge last week agreed to dissolve the Timberlake Estates Sanitary District in the southeastern part of the county. The ruling came after the county received permission from at least two-thirds of the residents living within the district -- bound by 87th Street, 91st Street, Clarendon Hills Road and Route 83 -- to eliminate it.

"This is a threshold moment for us in DuPage," county board Chairman Dan Cronin said Monday. "I don't know when or if a unit of local government has ever been dissolved in the state of Illinois."

The process to dissolve the sanitary district took nearly two years, even though it stopped providing service to residents in the mid-1980s and wasn't levying a property tax.

Formed in 1983 by residents as a special taxing district to provide sanitary sewer service, the district relinquished its responsibilities to the county two years after its sewer system was installed.

Cronin said the process required to eliminate the sanitary district is an example of why DuPage needs the authority to consolidate some of the 24 local governmental agencies overseen by boards and commissions that he appoints.

The chairman is working with state lawmakers to approve legislation that would let local officials "pursue measures to consolidate or eliminate obsolete taxing districts and foster greater efficiencies and collaboration," officials said.

"I need this tool from the state," Cronin said of the proposed legislation. "We can't afford to spend two years on every unit of government we want to address."

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