Governor Bruce Rauner and Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti joined local leaders Wednesday in announcing the 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices (Journal). The Journal, published by the Lt. Governor’s Office, is a first-of-its-kind report that highlights how service consolidation and partnership among local governments in Illinois can reduce duplication, improve services and save taxpayer dollars.
“Illinois has the most units of government in the country at nearly 7,000 units and the highest property taxes in the nation,” said Governor Rauner. “That’s unacceptable. We have to cut the bureaucracy and create jobs to keep families from fleeing our state. We thank Lt. Governor Sanguinetti for her hard work on this journal and her dedication to the people of Illinois.”
Since taking office in 2015, Governor Rauner has made property tax relief through local government consolidation a top priority. Within his first two months in office he created the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force to streamline local government, empower communities, and save taxpayer dollars. The task force issued its final report in December 2015 with 27 recommendations, including the protection of shared service agreement-authority for local units of government.
“Last year we introduced legislation to empower local residents to consolidate units of government they believe are duplicative, excessive or ineffective,” said Lt. Governor Sanguinetti. “Today we celebrate local leaders who work together to share services and save local tax dollars. It is my hope that this journal can be used as a conversation starter in local communities. As you read, ask yourselves if this could work in your community.”
The examples in the report were collected from a survey conducted last year by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor in partnership with the Illinois Municipal League and the associations of various units of government. In total, 230 shared service examples were provided for best practice consideration. Out of those responses, 27 were selected to be published in the Journal.
One of the examples in the Journal includes Heartland Community College K-12 Partnerships, a program where HCC collaborates with schools in its district to provide a dual-credit college-level placement program and remedial education program to benefit both the local schools and the college.
“One of Heartland’s college-wide priorities is to serve as a community resource,” said Heartland Community College President Rob Widmer. “By developing valuable partnerships with our district’s K-12 schools, we can offer programs that enhance college readiness, provide early access to college courses and help students gain a level of comfort and familiarity with our campus.”
“We are grateful to have Heartland Community College as a partner,” said Laura O’Donnell, director of secondary education for McLean County Unit 5. “We continually work together to find ways to provide students with excellent educational experiences. As a result, students have the opportunity to challenge themselves and earn college credit while sitting in their high school classrooms.”
Brad Hutchison is a former public school superintendent and currently serves as an advisory community member for HCC’s Challenger Learning Center (CLC), which partners with local schools to strengthen knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). He notes children of all ages have benefited from participating in CLC “missions to Mars” and that HCC has taken an active interest to enhance the partnership.
“On more than one occasion I have interacted with the leadership of HCC who have taken time to observe a mission, attend a CLC community steering committee, or attend meetings in support of K-12 education,” Hutchinson said. “It brings me great joy to learn of the Lieutenant Governor’s recognition for HCC’s ongoing partnership with area K-12 school districts.”
The 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices can be found here.
Video from the event can be found here.