This past Thursday BGA Policy Analyst Jose Sanchez (seated on the left) was a panelist at a community forum held in Aurora. Panelists discussed two referendums on the ballot in Naperville Township this November and the benefits and challenges of streamlining government.
The forum was hosted by the Naperville/Aurora Residents for Lower Taxes Political Action Committee, a group focused on the referendums. On the panel alongside Jose were Rick Mervine, Aurora Alderman, and Rachel Ossyra, Naperville Township Supervisor.
The two non-binding referendums will appear on the ballot in both Naperville and Aurora; both areas are part of Naperville Township. The first question asks voters if the city of Naperville and the Naperville Township Road District should enter into a shared roadway services agreement, a proposal that was passed by the Naperville City Council that is expected result in savings of eight million dollars over ten years.
The second non-binding referendum asks voters if township government should be abolished in the City of Naperville when “efficiencies and savings in delivery of township services can be demonstrated by either the City of Naperville or another governmental body performing the same services”.
Questions from community members in attendance focused on whether the quality of services provided will drop, and why such an agreement hadn’t happened before. Jose shared that often times, agreements result in an improvement of quality in services received and that streamlining government is challenging because approval is needed from Springfield or people with authority to award contracts or jobs who do not want to lose power or clout.
Lastly, Jose shared previous efforts by the BGA and key allies and partners to advocate for efficient government. Illinois has more local governments than any other state in the nation. The result is units that often overlap and waste tax dollars. The BGA has supported legislation that will give voters the ability to streamline government across the state. Under current law, major streamlining efforts by local units of government must be approved by Springfield first.