Rauner, Sanguinetti honor examples of efficient local governments
Twenty examples of local government consolidation across the state that saved taxpayer money and improved efficiency were recognized Tuesday in Hoffman Estates by Gov. Bruce Rauner and Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti.
The Hoffman Estates Police Department was the host and one of the honorees, as one of 10 members of the Northwest suburbs' Joint Emergency Management System.
JEMS Coordinator Mick Fleming said the project was thought up some years ago in recognition that many emergencies, including major storms and other natural disasters, don't adhere to municipal boundaries.
Since then, the members have built on their successes and learned from mistakes, going far beyond the basics in preparedness efforts, Fleming said. Among the work already done is figuring out how all the members can continue to operate even when their own facilities are also affected by an emergency.
"We continue to seek new ways of increasing our resilience," Fleming said.
One of the hopes of this cooperative agreement that also includes Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Inverness, Mount Prospect, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg and Streamwood is it can be a model for other areas of the state, Fleming said.
Rauner and Sanguinetti said one of their goals for the past four years has been to streamline local government to reduce costs and to foster the sharing of expertise of leaders working together.
The governor, who put Sanguinetti in charge of overseeing the effort, said 27 recommendations have been made that together could potentially save the state about $3.5 billion per year. So far, 11 have been partially implemented through legislation, he said.
Sanguinetti said the property tax burden in Illinois is among the highest in the nation.
"It's certainly something we're not proud of," she said. "It's crushing our residents."
Rauner added the state needs to address the burden that is driving away some residents and businesses.
"We have a moral duty to make sure every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely and efficiently," he said.
Seven other suburban honorees were:
• Cuba Township Road District for its contract to provide roadwork on about 350 miles through Lake Barrington, Barrington Hills, South Barrington, Tower Lakes and Port Barrington.
• Buffalo Grove Park District for its multiple agreements with Kildeer Countryside District 96 for exclusive use of facility space and to make capital improvements.
• The village of Bloomingdale, Bloomingdale Park District, DuPage County and Bloomingdale Township Highway Department for their collaboration on community activities and services.
• Warrenville Fire Protection District and Naperville Fire Department for arranging with one another to dispatch emergency responses from the agency closest to or best able to handle them.
• The village of Wadsworth's seven intergovernmental agreements to share services with neighboring townships, municipalities and fire protection districts.
• A three-year-old arrangement by which the St. Charles Park District manages the programs and services of the Norris Recreation Center owned by St. Charles Unit District 303.
• The Gurnee and Waukegan park districts for creating joint programs to improve residents' health and build community.
The governor and lieutenant governor encouraged the nomination of new ideas to be recognized in the future.
"Continue to collaborate," Sanguinetti said. "Our people need it."