DuPage County's push to reform and consolidate local government has earned national recognition.
The National Association of Counties has given an Achievement Award to DuPage for its ACT (Accountability, Consolidation and Transparency) Initiative. The award means NACo has deemed the initiative to be a county government program that's innovative and enhances services for residents, officials said.
"Any time some outside, credible organization recognizes what we're doing in DuPage County as something virtuous, I'm pleased," DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said. "I'm honored. But we still have a lot of work to do."
The initiative, launched in 2012, called on 24 local governmental entities to make structural and operational reforms. Now, thanks to a state law approved last year, DuPage has the power to eliminate some of those agencies, including fire protection, sanitary and mosquito abatement districts.
Using its newfound authority, the county is disbanding the Fairview Fire Protection District, which covers an unincorporated area near Downers Grove. Meanwhile, a new study will help officials determine whether two sanitary districts -- Highland Hills and Salt Creek -- should continue operating as stand-alone entities.
Cronin said the county's efforts are projected to save taxpayers $80 million and "provide a template for a smaller, more responsive government."
NACo President Linda Langston said in a statement that the association applauds county governments that are finding new and better ways to serve their constituents.
"The Achievement Awards recognize counties' outstanding efforts to be more effective and more responsive to the diverse needs of communities across the country," she said.
Nationally, NACo awards are given in 21 different categories, including children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, environmental protection and health.