Consolidation bill a bipartisan effort
Two years ago, DuPage County embarked on a mission to reduce the size, scope and cost of local government. After achieving some initial success to share services among local agencies, we realized that additional legislative authority was necessary to achieve our true mission -- the consolidation of inefficient, smaller units of government.
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In January, after sharing the county's priorities for the upcoming spring session with area legislators, one freshman lawmaker asked to sponsor the county's consolidation bill -- state Sen. Tom Cullerton.
Senate Bill 494 went through numerous drafts and Sen. Cullerton negotiated with special interest groups who attempted to defeat our reform measure. His leadership and those of the bill's chief co-sponsors -- Sens. Don Harmon, Dan Kotowski, Michael Connelly and Kirk Dillard -- resulted in an agreed bill that was adopted unanimously by the Senate.
In the House, we faced similar challenges with the defeat of the county's original bill in committee. The legislation was resurrected by state Reps. Deb Conroy and Ron Sandack, who fended off opposition along with the bill's chief co-sponsors -- Reps. Jack Franks, Sandra Pihos and Sam Yingling -- that led to the bill's passage with minimal opposition.
I am proud of our bipartisan partnership that will make local government more efficient and save taxpayers millions of dollars.
This could not have been accomplished without the leadership of our sponsors, especially two freshman legislators who took a significant risk early in their careers -- challenging the status quo and turf of many entrenched local governments -- to do what was right for the people.
I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the General Assembly for supporting this landmark legislation.
I assure you county leaders will utilize this authority judiciously to develop innovative models that will lead to further consolidation efforts statewide.
Chairman, DuPage County Board