Consolidation of Local Governments – Costs and Benefits

During the discussion of consolidation of township governments, the missing piece was a comparison of costs and benefits.

As I put it in an early article:

Where’s the beef?

(See “What To Do about Townships…If Anything.”)

Now I see in McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks’ push to merge the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District with the Village of Lake in the Hills a similar lack of basic decision-making.

Is it that he just wants something to put on a campaign mailing or TV ad, whether or not it is a good idea?

Every day when we shop we compare benefits to costs.

Why should it be so difficult to transfer the necessity of that process to government and, in this case, governmental consolidation?

Take a look at the recent following letter from the LITH Sanitary District to its customers:

How would you conduct a cost-benefit


Consolidation of Local Governments – Costs and Benefits — 14 Comments

  1. LITH Sanitary District does not provide water service, only sewer, right?

    How much do LITH Sanitary District customers pay for their water?

    Or are they only on private well water?

    It’s sort of an intentionally deceptive apples-to-oranges comparison to compare the cost of the Village’s water-and-sewer service to the Sanitary District’s sewer-only service.

  2. This letter, at further Taxpayer expense by the way, is the problem.

    Every time someone has the temerity to suggest eliminating, one of these thousands of little taxing kingdoms, each one goes on the defensive.

    Those bullet points read a car sales ad.

    We all would like to know, not from those fighting to stay on the dole, but real facts (free bill pay, really?) from someone who really has taxpayers interests in mind.

  3. Start by looking at the audited annual financial reports and information in the Comptroller Data Warehouse.

    If someone claims the consolidation saves money, ask them for the detailed figures which back the claim.

  4. The comparison with my part of Lakewood is probably accurate, because we do not have village water.

    We have wells.

  5. You should ask Bob Anderson where is the Beef!

    Fair and balanced.

    Off issue, do you have a iron removal unit on your well?

    This side of the township they sure help.

  6. We have an iron removal unit that works quite well.

    Comes from a Wisconsin-based distributor.

  7. I reviewed the Village’s financial analysis from their board packet and have a few observations.

    The operating savings of $396K are generated mostly through headcount elimination and salary/benefits reduction and yet they indicate that the new positions would all be covered by the union contract.

    This sentence is curiously worded: “In addition to operational cost savings, District customers would receive savings through the elimination of the current District property tax levy of nearly $600,000.”

    Its written in a manner that seems to indicate that it is an additional benefit in addition to the operating expense savings.

    Leaving all other variables unchanged, it seems the Village is signing up to create a deficit of $204K (Lost levy revenue of $600K partially offset by expense savings of $396K).

    The analysis indicated that the current sewer rates would remain unchanged.

    One might suppose that the current rates would need to rise in order to offset the net effect of losing the levy.

    I did not notice any analysis of the impact of moving to a revenue model which has been a blend of usage rates and levy revenue based on EAV, to a model based only on usage.

    A condition exists today where a higher priced home essentially pays more for sewer than a home carrying a lower EAV due to the levy component.

    If, in general, those properties located in CL and Huntley are higher priced homes as compared to the average LITH home, those residents will see a benefit to the changeover in this model and the average LITH home owner will be absorbing the offsetting cost.

    Of course the reverse could be true if the CL/Huntley homes carry an average EAV lower than LITH.

    One would need to run the numbers.

  8. Yet another example of a Jack Franks endorsed initiative benefiting organized labor.

    Not surprising as organized labor has contributed over $1 million dollars to Jack Franks PACs.

    Mr. Coffey’s analysis sheds new light, to the average taxpayer who doesn’t have the time and / or knowledge to analyze a government board packet, on the proposed consolidation of the Sanitary District into the village.

    This proposed consolidation should be more thoroughly vetted and better explained to the taxpayer.

  9. Was it the February 21, 2017 Committee of the Whole board packet that was reviewed?

  10. The June 8, 2017 Village of Lake in the Hills Board Minutes indicate a presentation was given regarding the possible consolidation of the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District under 55 ILCS 5/5-44.

    Was a PowerPoint presentation given?

    The PowerPoint presentation is subject to a FOIA request.

    Regardless, good transparency would be for the Village, Sanitary District, and County (since Jack Franks is pushing this idea) to put a Sanitary District Consolidation section on their websites with all pertinent documents, including any presentations, letters, board packets, and board minutes.

    “Mr. Forner asked if they could have a discussion with the Village, County Chairman, and the Sanitary District prior to sending Chairman Franks a letter to begin the process.”

  11. If you add the $4 to $5 in property taxes to the LITHSD bill, it is no longer the least expensive in the region.

    This is like the blind trying to sell sunglasses to the blind.

    The LITH Water Division is severely over-staffed and is usually on the IEPA’s watch list for violations.

    I see they have taken down past water quality reports listing the violations.

    The leader Ryan McDillion is inept.

    He was a meter reader that was promoted.

    Ever hear of Peter’s principle?

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