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updated: 3/21/2013 8:00 AM

State Senate panel backs letting DuPage cut some governments

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SPRINGFIELD -- DuPage County could get the power to shrink or dissolve 13 county governments and agencies under a plan approved by an Illinois Senate committee Wednesday.

DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin was in Springfield asking lawmakers for approval for the legislation, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Cullerton of Villa Park.

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Agencies that could get review under the proposal include the Century Hill Lighting District, Downers Grove Sanitary District, Highland Hills Sanitary District, Salt Creek Sanitary District and West Chicago Mosquito Abatement District.

Cronin said getting local control to dissolve agencies takes the power out of the hands of state lawmakers who might not want to do it.

"We can debate the issue at the local level," Cronin said.

The bill would affect DuPage County government agencies for which the county chairman appoints all or most board members, not including fire protection districts or some water districts.

Lawmakers approved the plan by a unanimous vote. It could be changed in the future to clarify the section about firefighters.

The plan doesn't allow county leaders to decide whether to dissolve the Forest Preserve District. It's been a hot-button question after state Rep. Dennis Reboletti, an Elmhurst Republican, filed legislation to have the county board do the forest preserve district board's job in an effort to save money.

Cronin again didn't back that plan Wednesday and said the idea would have to clearly both retain services and save money.

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