Wheeler Sponsors Consolidation & Cost Saving Legislation

State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) is sponsoring legislation to give residents the option to consolidate unnecessary local governments through referendum. House Bill 496, which advanced to the full House this week, allows residents to consolidate townships that are coterminous with a municipality to reduce duplicate costs and services.

“As the recent report from the Tax Foundation shows, Illinois has the third highest property taxes in the nation,” said Wheeler. “We know one of the primary factors driving our high property taxes is that we have more local governments than any other state. House Bill 496 puts the control directly in the hands of residents to reduce their tax burden and save money through a direct vote.”

House Bill 496, which passed the Government Consolidation and Modernization Committee by unanimous vote, expands a 2013 measure that allowed Evanston Township to consolidate into the city of Evanston and is a recommendation of the consolidation task force. Evanston reported it was able to reduce staffing and administration costs by more than $1 million through the consolidation of the coterminous township.

Specifically, House Bill 496 allows residents to place a referendum on the ballot and vote to dissolve a township that shares the same geographic boundaries of a municipality. Illinois has 19 such townships. To place a referendum on the ballot, residents have two options; through a petition signed by at least 10 percent of the registered voters in the community, or by an ordinance passed by the city council to put the referendum on the ballot. If a majority of voters approve the referendum, all responsibilities, obligations, assets, liabilities and property of the township will be transferred to the municipality.

To learn more about House Bill 496, Click Here.

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