Governor Signs Township Consolidation Bill

With what happened in McHenry County when township consolidation was considered, Senate Bill 3, which the Governor just signed, will certainly have an effect and give supporters of consolidation new headwinds.

Rep. Steve Anderson is the Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill.

It must have been a fascinating bill to watch, as evidenced by McHenry County’s State Rep. Barbara Wheeler adding herself as a co-sponsor in the House on May 30th, then removing herself later the same day followed by her adding herself back as a co-sponsor.

There were similar changes of mind on May 30th by State Rep. Steve Andersson.  First he was on as chief co-sponsor, then off, and finally back on.

Rep. Allen Skillicron, on the other hand had himself added and, like the other two, removed as a co-sponsor, but he did not follow in their footsteps to end up as a co-sponsor in the final House record.

Local State Reps. David McSweeney and Steve Reick did not seek to be so-sponsors.

All McHenry County representatives voted for the bill, except Reick.

In the Senate, Karen McConnaughay and Dan McConchie voted for the bill, while Pam Althoff did not vote.

Below is the press release that chief House sponsor Sam Yingling put out the day the bill passed:


SPRINGFIELD—On Wednesday, May 31, Representative Sam Yingling (D-Grayslake) passed SB 3, a bill that allows Illinoisans to consolidate wasteful, inefficient layers of government, with a bi-partisan, veto-proof majority. The bill has already passed in the Senate and now moves on to the Governor’s desk for his consideration.

“I represent the 62nd district located in Lake County, where property taxes are among the highest in the country,” said Yingling. “While property taxes continue to go up, redundant and ineffective layers of government continue to sock away stockpiles of cash, adding taxing body after taxing body to property tax bills. I’m fighting for government consolidation to lower the unfair tax load carried by my constituents.”

When Governor Rauner signs SB 3 into law, Illinois taxpayers will have more tools to make choices regarding the layers of government they pay for with their property taxes. Illinois has more units of local government than any other state, often leading to inefficiency and waste of property tax dollars.
SB3 allows

  • Voters to approve via referendum the consolidation of township governments
  • Expands a DuPage County pilot program statewide that would allow voters to approve the consolidation or elimination of local taxing bodies that provide duplicative or obsolete services, or if the services can be efficiently and effectively absorbed by another unit of local government.

“I will keep fighting to give my constituents the tools they need to rein in wasteful, inefficient use of their tax dollars, particularly when it comes to townships, but SB 3 is an important step in the right direction,” said Yingling. “This is a great example of what happens when lawmakers take off their partisan hats and come to the table ready to do what’s right for their constituents.”

Representative Yingling is the Chairman of the Government Consolidation and Modernization Committee in the House.

Not many details.

So what this legislation do that wasn’t law before?

Here’s the official summary (complete text):

Requires that resolutions and notices of hearings regarding consolidation or merger be published on the main page of the townships’ websites,

In provisions concerning merger of townships, provides that no tax rate may be extended for any fund of the consolidated district for the first levy year of the consolidated district that exceeds any statutory maximum set forth for that fund, unless the referendum also conforms to the requirements of the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law or other statutory provision setting forth that limitation.

Makes changes to provisions of the Illinois Highway Code related to abolishing a road district in Cook County, and specifies that the new provisions related to abolishing road districts do not apply to Cook County.

Amends the Home Equity Assurance Act. Provides that beginning after the effective date of the amendatory Act, a home equity commission shall consist of 7 commissioners (rather than 9). Provides that a governing commission may employ full-time or part-time employees. Allows a governing commission to establish a Tax Reimbursement Program.

Amends the Street Light District Act. Allows the consolidation of a street light district into the township in which the district sits if the entire district is located within the township. Effective on January 1, 2018.

The restriction that a township be no more than 126 square miles has been removed.

For consolidation of townships to occur, first two (or more) township boards must pass identical resolutions more than 79 days before the election at which the consolidation referendum is to be held.

For consolidation to occur, majorities in both (or all) townships must approve the measure.

Notice of the referendum must be mailed to all registered voters, something elmination efforts are moving forward for Constitutional Amendments.

I do not understand the following tax-related language:

“Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no tax rate may be extened for the fund of the. consolidated district for the first year levy of the consolidted district that exceeds any statutory maximum set forth for that fund, unless the referendum also conforms to the requirements of the Property Tax Extenstion Limitation Law or other statutory provision setting forth that limitation.”

Surpluses are also addressed:

“…any portion of the surplus that is solely attributable to the consolidation shall be refunded to the owners of record of taxable property within the consolidated district on a pro rata basis.”

If a referendum passes in the townships, a combination of the former township boards will set salaries for the new township officials.

Here’s how the House voted:

Final Vote on Senate Bill 3.

The final Senate vote follows:

The final Senate vote on Senate Bill 3.

Governor Rauner’s press release adds the following information:

“Specifically, SB 3 expands DuPage County’s consolidation pilot program to all 102 counties of Illinois, giving each the authority to dissolve or consolidate some government units whose boards are appointed by the county. It also will allow townships in the state to consolidate with coterminous municipalities via referendum.

“HB 607 amends the Illinois Highway Code and allows the board of trustees of any township located in a county with less than 3 million inhabitants to submit a proposition during a general or consolidated election to abolish the road district in their county, a power already extended to townships in Cook County.”


Governor Signs Township Consolidation Bill — 7 Comments

  1. Senate Bill 3 (SB 3) was signed into law as Public Act 100-0107 (PA 100-0107) on August 14, 2017 by Governor Bruce Rauner.


    So which of the over 1,000 townships will be among the first to consolidate and how much will that save taxapayers?

    Where is the list?

    Where exactly are the “redundant and ineffective layers of government” and the “inefficiency and waste?”


    There are many transparency and cost savings measures that could be passed as a state law or board policy that would help taxpayers monitor government, but those don’t event get proposed.

    Monitoring government is important because there is no guarantee a consolidated unit of government will be any more efficient than the previously separate units.

    For instance, there has been massive consolidation of school districts over the decades in Illinois, but public education costs and debt has skyrocketed.


    Some ideas:


    For example, require boards to post a board agenda packet a minimum of 48 hours prior to each board meeting.

    The board agenda packet would contain:

    – one document, for example one Adobe pdf document, containing all documents to be discussed at the board meeting.

    – The document would be fully searchable (allow the use of the find feature in Adobe).

    – The document would be allow copy and paste (copy from the board packet and paste to another document to consolidate information).


    Videotape all board meetings, and indefinitely archive the videos on YouTube.


    All employment contracts (including collective bargaining agreements) must be approved by taxpayers.

    The contracts must be posted a minimum of 14 days prior to the board meeting to approve the agreement.

    The contract must be searchable and allow copy from the document and paste to another document.

    Better yet, after the board approves the contract, voters must approve the contract.

    The reason is simple.

    The rank and file union members vote to ratify (approve) collective bargaining agreements.

    But the rank and file taxpayers are not allowed to ratify collective bargaining agreements.

    Time to level the playing fields instead of taxpayers being sitting ducks to board members elected with the support of and resulting pressure by unions and special interests.


    Better transparency is needed in the Illinois General Assembly.

    All sessions on the House and Senate Floor should be streamed live and indefinitely archived on YouTube.

    Shell bills should be prohibited, or have one shell bill per year per chamber that can be used only in the case of extreme natural disaster or other emergency, not some Micky Mouse emergerncy.


    Best of all, an investigation, and resulting report published to the taxpayers, of all the legislative and pension benefit hikes that have been passed since the pension sentence was added to the state constitution on December 15, 1970.

    Publish every single bill, every single law, and every single roll call, in one report.

    Guess whose name would appear more than any other legislator in that time frame?

    Michael Madigan.

    He may be (most likely is) the person who has voted for the most pension and retiree healthcare benefit hikes, while pensions and retiree healthcare were already underfunded, in the history of the United States.

    It should be pretty obvious by now that was a big part of his game.

    The taxpayers in Illinois are likely the #1 victims of that scam in the history of the United States.

    The Forty Year Illinois Taxpayer Massacre: 1970 – 2010.

    A long running massive government operated scheme whose cost (pension interest, etc.) is in the tens if not hundred or hundreds of billions of dollars, when all public sector pension funds and systems in the state are tallied.


    Illinois government is consistent in one aspect.

    Lots of press releases with hopes and dreams.

    Hardly anyone goes back in 1, 5, or 10 years to see the results of the rah rah.

    We are living the results of the rah rah.

    Taxes and debt keep growing.

  2. Just the beginnings to “consolidate” into their new world order. Read your Bible if you think I am making this up.

  3. Reick just lost support…. mine. I will never vote for the wipe again …even if Jacko’s minion runs again.

  4. Voting by tax payers on contracts is fine, we should also vote on levies and any changes in taxation on all levels of government.
    No simple majority for approval either, 2/3 vote just like a amendment.
    State and or Fed law should be changed so Mediators can’t force future tax increase on a district.

  5. Most importantly is prove the savings, no going to vote without facts and related numbers first.
    The last consolidation effort showed some savings, but didn’t even get close to dealing with all that needed to be considered first.
    Good planning is essential, and defeating the long standing stereo type that bigger gov cost more is no easy to beat.

  6. Every other state does it with half the government bodies Illinois has.

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