Lake, McHenry counties could get government-cutting power

  • State Rep. Jack Franks won approval for legislation that gives Lake and McHenry counties some government-cutting powers.

    State Rep. Jack Franks won approval for legislation that gives Lake and McHenry counties some government-cutting powers. Associated Press File Photo

 
 
Updated 4/24/2015 5:14 PM

Lake and McHenry County leaders eventually could be allowed to eliminate certain layers of government, a power DuPage County officials already have.

The Illinois House on Friday approved extending the power to Lake and McHenry counties with only one vote to spare. The legislation from state Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, doesn't name what governments the county boards could ax.

 

But if the county board or chairman appoints a majority of the government's board, it could be eliminated.

"It puts the power in the hands of our constituents and our county government," Franks said.

Lawmakers had in previous years allowed DuPage County to cut some government agencies at the behest of board Chairman Dan Cronin. Since that 2013 law, DuPage County has dissolved a fire protection district and has the power to eliminate up to a dozen other units of local government, including lighting, sanitary and mosquito abatement districts.

Not everyone thinks expanding the idea is a good move. State Rep. Mike Tryon, a Crystal Lake Republican and former McHenry County Board chairman, said his county wasn't asking for the power, unlike DuPage County.

"They came down with a resolution, they hired lobbyists, they worked it through," Tryon said. "This is not a McHenry County resolution."

In the end, lawmakers sided with supporters who argued the legislation wouldn't require counties to cut some layers of government. It only would allow them to.

Before they get the chance, though, the Illinois Senate has to approve, too. The House sent the Senate the plan by a 61-40 vote.

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