The members of the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force (“Task Force”) were selected and began meeting last month. The Task Force was assembled pursuant to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Executive Order 15-15, is chaired by Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, and has a stated mission “to reduce the heavy burden on Illinois taxpayers by empowering citizens and government officials to streamline local government through consolidation and eliminating unnecessary state mandates.”

Barrington Mayor Karen Darch is one of the Task Force’s 24 members and explains that the initial phase of the Task Force has been fact-finding and attending informational sessions, such as a presentation on unfunded mandates conducted by the Illinois Municipal League, and a presentation on DuPage County’s initiative to reduce local government. Mayor Darch explained that the Task Force did not have any quantifiable goal for reduction and was instead focused on looking at “functionality, not on reduction for reduction’s sake.”

On the subject of unfunded mandates, Mayor Darch commented that some early focal points include the Prevailing Wage Act, the Public Safety Employee Benefit Act, and the Freedom of Information Act, each legislative requirement placing significant monetary expense on units of local government without direct funding support from the State.

The Task Force is to compile a report with “specific recommendations to consolidate local governments and school districts with the goal of improving the delivery of government and education services at a lower cost to State taxpayers” for the Governor and General Assembly by the end of 2015. The Task Force’s meeting agendas, minutes, and supplemental material are available online.

Brad Stewart

Author: Brad Stewart