The following is a brief summary of the major points in the 400 page report created by a task force focused on consolidating state governing bodies.
Enact a four-year moratorium on the creation of new local governments, unless it results from the consolidation of two or more existing local taxing bodies.
Allow Illinois voters to consolidate or dissolve local government units through a referendum.
Expand DuPage County’s pilot consolidation program to all of the state’s 102 counties.
Give every township in the state the authority to consolidate with neighboring municipalities via referendum.
Remove the 126-square mile cap on townships to allow for larger consolidation of two or more townships into one.
Counties would be able to retain their existing form of government following a successful referendum that dissolves a township into a county.
Allow a county board or citizen-initiated township referendum to fix the first year local tax rate to the lowest rate among consolidating townships.
Allow counties with fewer than 15,000 parcels of land and $1 billion in Equalized Assessed Value to dissolve all of the elected township assessors and multi-township assessment districts into one newly elected county assessor position and office through a majority vote of the county board or by a citizen-led referendum.
Protect the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act by encouraging local governments to continue to coordinate service offerings through intergovernmental agreements.
Grant the Illinois State Board of Education the flexibility to incentivize the outcomes of school district consolidation without the application of a one-size-fits-all consolidation model.
When allocating discretionary state and federal funds to local governments, empower state agencies to encourage regional sharing of public equipment, facilities, training, resources and administrative functions.
Change the current law that allows the merger of township road and bridge districts that maintain fewer than five miles of roads into the general township to less than 25 miles.
Expand and modernize public notice mandate requirements to allow local units of government the option to post public notices and other information online, as well as the option to store documents digitally.
Repeal or reform the prevailing wage in order to give government units and school districts more local control over contracting.
Allow school districts to bid out and make more competitive non-instructional services such as building maintenance, transportation and food preparation.
Provide school districts with the flexibility to allow physical education exemptions to children for certain academic reasons or to children who are involved in other qualified physical activities.
Give school districts the authority to contract with a qualified commercial driver training school for drivers ed.
Allow local governments to decide whether employment issues should be mandatory or permissive subjects of collective bargaining.
Restore the authority of a city and fire protection district to determine staffing needs.
Modernize the Public Safety Employee Benefit Act by adding the federal definition of “catastrophic injury” to ensure workers receive support when the employee is injured on the job and is unable to secure gainful employment.
Allow arbitrators to use existing financial parameters of local government as a primary consideration during interest arbitration, which currently is provided only to Chicago Public Schools.
Require an annual state review of unfunded mandates on local government.
Merge downstate and suburban public safety pension funds into a single pension investment authority.
Pass a constitutional amendment on unfunded state mandates that would require the state to reimburse local governments’ school districts for increased expenses relating to future state mandates, and future unfunded mandates need to be characterized as “not reimbursable” and must pass both chambers of the General Assembly by a three-fourths majority.
Allow the governor to use his or her amendatory veto power to insert “if economically feasible” language into any legislation authorizing new unfunded mandates on local governments and school districts.
Provide certain local government units with a process to exempt themselves from compliance with unfunded mandates when they determine it’s not economically feasible.
Give local governments control over employee benefit packages for new workers (i.e., blended Social Security and 401k plans to new, non-public safety employees and blended defined contribution and defined benefit plans for new public safety employees).
Here is the full report if you would like to read further: Full Report