State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) has published an online survey about whether road district consolidation requests should only be allowed after public officials prove their case that the consolidation would save taxpayers money. The survey is available at www.repstevenreick.com.
Reick filed HB 4190 in mid-January, and the bill would require a cost study be conducted before a township’s trustees could take action to put a consolidation proposal before voters. “Taxpayers and elected leaders seek consolidation because they want lower taxes and I fully support consolidation that achieves that result,” said Reick. “But consolidation just for the sake of consolidation- when taxes don’t go down or possibly would actually increase- that is not in the best interest of taxpayers. What’s missing is an accountability layer; we need an additional step of transparency so trustees and voters aren’t voting on a measure that could have unforeseen negative consequences.”
Specifically, Reick’s HB 4190 would amend the Illinois Highway Code by providing that before a township may submit a referendum to abolish a road district, the township must prepare through an independent contractor a cost study that demonstrates the abolishment is cost-effective and that the township which would assume the road district responsibilities is capable of carrying out the duties performed by the road district slated for elimination. Any consulting firm with an existing agreement for services in the township in question or in the county where the township is located would be prohibited from conducting the study.
“There are some who do not think elected officials should have to make their case for taxpayer savings before bringing consolidation proposals before voters,” Reick said. “I think taxpayers would take issue with that, and would prefer that elected officials are working from a full set of facts before they ask voters to weigh in on a consolidation proposal.”
Survey responses will be gathered through the end of the day on Friday, February 16.