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June 19, 2012

DuPage County Seeks to Improve Accountability and Efficiency

Last month, the DuPage County Board released an independent assessment of 24 special districts, each of which is governed by board members who are appointed by the DuPage County Board Chair. The report reviewed the operations, finances, procurement, and ethics policies of these government units to determine whether the districts and their policies are sustainable, transparent, and accountable to taxpayers.

Many of the report's recommendations for DuPage County agencies complement GO TO 2040's recommendations on efficient governance, such as improving access to information and pursuing coordinated investments by sharing or consolidating local government services. Recommendations from the report include:

  • Improve transparency by posting materials such as budgets and meeting schedules on-line.
  • Explore sharing services such as accounting, purchasing, and human resources with other local governments or county government. For example, "paper" fire protection districts (which exist to collect property tax revenue but contract services with another local government) could explore sharing administrative functions with a neighboring municipality.
  • For smaller special districts, such as street lighting or sanitary districts, pursue alternatives for service provision, such as contracting with townships or municipalities for services, sharing services with other districts, or consolidating with other districts.
  • Consider the potential consolidation of sanitary services or shared sanitary services for all districts and municipalities providing sanitary services.
  • Investigate negotiating a regional contract for mosquito abatement services or investigate dissolving mosquito abatement districts in the County and moving the function to the DuPage County Health Department. Currently, there are 45 entities, including mosquito abatement districts, municipalities, and townships, that perform mosquito abatement. Thirty-six of the 45 entities contract with the same service provider.

The report is part of the County's ACT Initiative -- which stands for Accountability, Consolidation, and Transparency. Read more in County Chairman Dan Cronin's executive summary of the independent agency review.

Last month, the DuPage County Board released an independent assessment of 24 special districts, each of which is governed by board members who are appointed by the DuPage County Board Chair. The report reviewed the operations, finances, procurement, and ethics policies of these government units to determine whether the districts and their policies are sustainable, transparent, and accountable to taxpayers.

Many of the report's recommendations for DuPage County agencies complement GO TO 2040's recommendations on efficient governance, such as improving access to information and pursuing coordinated investments by sharing or consolidating local government services. Recommendations from the report include:

  • Improve transparency by posting materials such as budgets and meeting schedules on-line.
  • Explore sharing services such as accounting, purchasing, and human resources with other local governments or county government. For example, "paper" fire protection districts (which exist to collect property tax revenue but contract services with another local government) could explore sharing administrative functions with a neighboring municipality.
  • For smaller special districts, such as street lighting or sanitary districts, pursue alternatives for service provision, such as contracting with townships or municipalities for services, sharing services with other districts, or consolidating with other districts.
  • Consider the potential consolidation of sanitary services or shared sanitary services for all districts and municipalities providing sanitary services.
  • Investigate negotiating a regional contract for mosquito abatement services or investigate dissolving mosquito abatement districts in the County and moving the function to the DuPage County Health Department. Currently, there are 45 entities, including mosquito abatement districts, municipalities, and townships, that perform mosquito abatement. Thirty-six of the 45 entities contract with the same service provider.

The report is part of the County's ACT Initiative -- which stands for Accountability, Consolidation, and Transparency. Read more in County Chairman Dan Cronin's executive summary of the independent agency review.