Hard to tell you the frustration of being able to read the Lt. Governor’s Task Force Report on consolidating local governments and not be able to copy and paste it here.
One of my readers came through, however.
Here are the guts of the report:
The Task Force was created not only to document problems relating to consolidation and unfunded mandates, 16 meetings since its creation, the Task Force voted to endorse 27 recommendations. A short summary of each recommendation is provided below. The entire text of each recommendation, as approved by the Task Force, is in the Proposals and Recommendations section at the end of this report.
1. Enact a 4-year moratorium on creating new local governments. (Considered on June 24, 2015; Proposal Passed: 21-1-0) Enact a four-year moratorium on creating new local governments, unless this new government is a result of the consolidation of two or more existing local governments.2. Empower Illinois citizens to consolidate or dissolve local governments via referendum. (Considered on June 24, 2015; Proposal Passed: 21-1-0) FN: This recommendation was enacted in law as PA 99-0353 and will be made effective January 1, 2016.
2. Empower Illinois citizens to consolidate or dissolve local governments via referendum. (Considered on June 24, 2015; Proposal Passed: 21-1-0) Set a maximum petition signature requirement of 5 percent of votes cast in the last general election to bring forward a referendum relating to the consolidation or dissolution of a local unit of government
3. Expand DuPage County’s pilot consolidation program to all 102 counties. (Considered on June 24,2015; Proposal Passed: 21-0-1) Extend to all 102 counties in Illinois the authority to dissolve or consolidate government units whose boards are appointed by the county. (Public Act 098-0126)
4. Allow all townships in the state to consolidate with coterminous municipalities via referendum. (Considered on October 19, 2015; Proposal Passed: 14-0-1) Extend to the 19 other coterminous municipalities/townships in Illinois the same authority that was granted to voters in Evanston Township to hold a referendum to consolidate the township into the city of Evanston. (Public Act 98-0127)
5. Remove the limitation capping a township size of 126 square miles. (Considered on October 19, 2015; Proposal Passed: 14-0-1) Remove the 126-square mile cap on townships to allow larger consolidation of two or more townships into one.
6. Allow counties to retain their existing form of government following a successful referendum to dissolve townships into the county. (Considered on October 19, 2015; Proposal Passed: 14-0-1) Current law requires any county that dissolves its townships into the county to change its structure to commission form of government and cap the number of county board members to five. This proposal allows counties to retain their current form of government.
7. Hold taxpayers harmless from township consolidation. (Considered on October 19, 2015; Proposal Passed: 14-0-1) Allow a county board or citizen-initiated township consolidation referendum to peg the year one local tax rate to the lowest rate among consolidating townships.
8. Allow counties with fewer than 15,000 parcels and $1 billion in Equalized Assessed Value (EA V) to dissolve all of the elected township assessors and multi-township assessment districts into one, newly elected county assessor position and office – by majority vote of the county board or via citizen-led referendum. (Considered on October 19, 2015; Proposal Passed: 14-0-1)
Consolidation of the township assessor position in the aforementioned circumstances would provide standardized services and a reduced occurrence of unequal assessment practices.
9. Protect the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act. (Considered on November 19, 2015; Proposal Passed: 15-0-1) Encourages local governments to continue to coordinate service offerings through intergovernmental agreements.
10. School District Consolidation: Provide the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) flexibility to incentivize outcomes of school district consolidation. (Considered on November 19, 2015; Proposal Passed: 14-0-2) School district consolidation can lead to enhanced academic offerings, K-12 curriculum alignment, and improved administrative efficiencies. Incentivizing these outcomes through ISBE could lead to school district consolidation without the application of a one-size-fits-all consolidation model.
11. Encourage state agencies – when allocating discretional state and federal funds to local governments – to encourage regional sharing of public equiplnent, facilities, training, resources, and dministrative functions. (Considered on November 19,2015; Proposal Passed: 16-0-0) Local units of government can achieve significant savings through the consolidation and sharing of services, assets, personnel and function. State agencies should be empowered to incentivize good government, intergovernmental cooperation.
12. Allow merger of general township road and bridge districts that maintain less than 25 miles of road. (Considered on November 19, 2015; Proposal Passed: 12-0-4) Current law requires township road and bridge districts with less than 5 miles of road to consolidate into the general township. This proposal would allow consolidation at fewer than 25 miles.
Unfunded Mandate-Related Recommendations:
1. Modernize newspaper public notice mandates. (Considered on june 24, 2015; Proposal Passed: 20-0-0)
Expand public notice mandate requirements to allow local units of government the option to post online public notices and other public information. Expand public document retention requirements to allow local units of government the option to store public documents digitally.
2. Repeal or reform Prevailing Wage. (Considered on June 24, 2015; Proposal Passed: 14-5-2) The repeal or reform of prevailing wages would provide units of government and school districts more local control over contracting.
3. Provide third-party contracting mandate relief for school districts. (Considered on June 24, 2015; Proposal Passed: 18-1-1) Allow schools to contract out non-instructional services like those relating to building Inaintenance, transportation and food preparation, among others, in a more cOlnpetitive Inanner.
4. Implement physical education mandate relief for school districts. (Considered on June 24, 2015; Proposal Passed: 19-1-0) Provide local school districts the flexibility to allow physical education exemptions to children for certain academic reasons or to children who are involved in other qualified physical activities.
5. Provide driver education mandate relief for school districts. (Considered on June 24, 2015; Proposal Passed: 17-2-1) Provide local school districts the authority to contract with a qualified commercial driver training school to provide driver education to students.
6. Make collective bargaining permissive, instead of mandatory. (Considered on November 19, 2015; Proposal Passed: 15-1-0) Allow locally-elected municipal boards and councils, counties and school districts the authority to decide whether employment issues should be mandatory or permissive subjects of collective bargaining.
7. Eliminate minimum manning from collective bargaining. (Considered on November 19, 2015; Proposal Passed: 14-1-1) Restore the authority of a municipality and fire protection district to determine staffing needs – thus revoking PA 98-1151.
8. PSEBA: Use the federal definition for catastrophic injury. (Considered on November 19, 2015; Proposal Passed: 13-0-2) Modernize the Public Safety Employee Benefit Act, by adding the federal definition of ‘catastrophic injury’ to ensure personnel, their spouses, and children receive support when the individual is injured on the job and is unable to secure gainful employment.
9. Allow arbitrators to use existing financial parameters oflocal government as a primary consideration during interest arbitration. (Considered on November 19, 2015; Proposal Passed: 13-0-2). Currently only provided to Chicago Public Schools, this proposal requires arbitrators to make existing revenues the primary consideration during interest arbitration.
10. Require an annual state review of unfunded mandates on local government. (Considered on November 19,2015; Proposal Passed: 15-0-0) In 1987, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity was required (PA 84-1438) to conduct a one-time review of unfunded mandates. This proposal requires an annual review of unfunded mandates on local governments.
11. Merge downstate and suburban public safety pension funds into a single pension investment authority, as amended. (Considered on November 19, 2015; Proposal Passed: 15-0- 1) With 656 funds, Illinois has more than 16 percent of the nation’s 3,992 public pension funds, but only 4 percent of the nation’s population. The proposal would merge downstate and suburban public safety pension funds into a single pension investment authority.
12. Pass a constitutional amendment on unfunded state mandates. (Considered on December 1, 2015; Proposal Passed: 13-2-0) The amendment should require the state to reimburse local governments school districts for increased expenses relating to future state mandates. Future unfunded mandates need to be characterized as “not reimbursable” and must pass each chamber by a three-fourths majority.
13. Requests the Governor use his amendatory veto power to insert “if economically feasible” language into any legislation authorizing new unfunded mandates on local governments and school districts. (Considered on December 1, 2015; Proposal Passed: 14-1-0) By tying economic feasibility to compliance with unfunded mandates the Governor can end future costly unfunded mandates.
14. Economic Feasibility Exemption for local units of government, school districts, community colleges and institutions of higher education. (Considered on December 8, 2015; Proposal Passed: 14-0-1) Provides a process for certain government bodies to exempt themselves from compliance with unfunded mandates when they determine it is not economically feasible to do so.
15. Give control of employee retirement benefit packages back to local governments for new employees. (Considered on December 8, 2015; Proposal Passed: 13-1-1) Provide local governments the authority to provide blended Social Security and 401k plans to new non-public safety employees and blended defined contribution I defined benefit plans for new public safety employees.