State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) persuaded his Senate colleagues Monday to approve a new procedure allowing units of local government to consolidate, potentially providing services more efficiently and saving tax dollars.

“Current law allows for the creation of street light districts, cemetery maintenance districts and other taxing bodies,” Biss said in a statement, “but no way to combine them, even when their own governing boards believe consolidation would provide better value to residents.”

Biss, who has championed local government efficiency measures in the past, said the aim of the new bill “is to remove barriers to consolidation while allowing these decisions to be made locally and openly.”

House Bill 5785 would allow 13 types of local government bodies, from county historical museum districts to tuberculosis sanitarium districts, to consolidate with adjacent districts or be annexed by a city or county.

A majority of the members of the governing board or authority of each governmental unit involved would have to vote in favor of the change during a public meeting. Employees of the district being consolidated or annexed would be transferred to the new authority and would retain all labor and contractual rights.

“No state has more taxing bodies than Illinois,” Biss said. “If government units themselves believe their independent existence is unnecessary and that the taxpayers would be better served by a more efficient arrangement, the state legislature certainly shouldn’t stand in the way.”

The House of Representatives has already approved the legislation, but HB 5785 must return to the House for one more vote before going to the governor’s desk because the Senate added a minor amendment.

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  1. My wish list

    District 65 and District 202

    Ridgeville Park District, Lighthouse Park District (I believe that that is what it is called) and the City of Evanston

    TB district and Cook County Health Department 

    Any other suggestions?




    1. Lighthouse park district
      Lighthouse park district operates federal land that city of Evanston didn’t want the responsibility for.

      Ridgeville was founded when city declined to accept acquisition of land for parks. Compare operating costs and you’ll discover Ridgeville very cost effective. To merge with city likely to result in increased taxes and costs. One example, labor costs and pensions would rise to union levels of city staff. Careful what you ask for… You’ll pay a price.

      1. No, no, never, never, uh, uh, uh

        Let's take a fresh look at all of these political subdivisions. Just because they were created for some reason years ago doesn't mean that the time isn't right to combine them now. 

        It's easy to look at the situation and say that changes can't be done. Given the bad spot that Illinois is in right now, the automatic answer of "we can't do that" needs to be given the heave ho and replaced with an approach that considers the details and results in a decision that is based on what is best to do now. 


    2. How about these?
      Transfer city’s township assessor’s duties to the county that provides the same services. Evanston just hired a full time union position to handle the township duties.

      Create a tri level fire department district and cut the fat at the bloated Evanston Fire Department. Maybe require Evanston firefighters and police to live in Evanston.

      Eliminate the un-elected Evanston Library Board that raised our taxes or at least require the board to be elected members..

      Privatize all of our sanitation services as other neighboring towns do.

      Eliminate Evanston’s Housing and Homeless Commission and the city’s housing programs and merge them with the county and state that provides similar services. Do we really need a city housing planner? The city’s Housing Commission seems to be overly focused on homelessness and “maintaining a diverse residential environment.” There are too many government housing programs that overlap at the city, county, state and federal levels.

      Make the City Clerk a part-time job.Eliminate collective bargaining for government unions. Getting a little ahead of myself…

    3. Ridgeville Park District
      You might look at the Ridge ville Park Districts Budget. You will find the amount they put out for employees and benefits appears to be excessive. A year or so ago Ridge ville went before the Evanston City Council for MONEY. I believe the AMOUNT was $17000.00. Ridge ville is a separate line item on some residents of Evanston PROPERTY TAX BILLS.

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