As a result of DuPage County initiative to reduce the size, scope and cost of local government, a judge ruled in favor of the immediate dissolution of the Timberlake Estates Sanitary District, according to a press release from DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin's office.
Under the DuPage Accountability, Consolidation and Transparency initiative, the county has attempted to dissolve the Timberlake Estates Sanitary District for nearly two years. DuPage County Circuit Judge Bonnie Wheaton approved the immediate dissolution of the agency March 13.
From the Daily Herald in December 2012:
The (Timberlake) District stopped providing sanitary service to a small area in southeast DuPage County years ago after the county’s public works department took over its responsibilities. But while the entity doesn’t levy a property tax, it still shows up on homeowners’ tax bills.
And even though 55 percent of the residents living within the district agree it should be eliminated, legal experts have advised DuPage that it needs permission from at least two-thirds of the residents before asking the courts to disband the entity.
“We want to get rid of it,” Cronin said. “But it’s not so easy to get rid of something that does nothing.”
“DuPage taxpayers want a smaller, less costly and more efficient local government," said Cronin, of Elmhurst, in a prepared statement this week. "The Timberlake Estates Sanitary District is a prime example of an agency that is outdated and unnecessary. The dissolution of the sanitary district is a significant step in our mission to provide residents with a more accountable and transparent form of government.”
The Timberlake Estates Sanitary District was formed in 1983 by residents as a special taxing district to provide sanitary sewer service. A sanitary sewer system was installed, and a tax levy was placed on the residents’ property tax bills to pay for the service. However, after two years, the Sanitary District requested the DuPage County Public Works Department take over the operations and maintenance of the newly constructed sewer system. All responsibilities were transferred to the county, yet the district was never formally dissolved.
For nearly two years, Cronin has worked with State’s Attorney Robert Berlin to pursue a legal remedy to formally eliminate the district. After extensive efforts by the county’s Public Works Department and district residents, the dissolution was finally achieved.
“The protracted process required to eliminate this sanitary district is a key example of why we need better tools at the local level to make better decisions on behalf of our taxpayers,” Cronin said. “If this experience has taught us anything, it is that our state leaders should empower us to reduce the size and scope of local government.”
Cronin is working with members of the Illinois General Assembly to pass House Bill 2481 that will enable local officials to pursue measures to consolidate or eliminate obsolete taxing districts and foster greater efficiencies and collaboration.
“The legislation will provide us with new innovative ways to consider consolidation of appointed agencies when it is deemed to be in the best interest of taxpayers,” he said.
The DuPage ACT Initiative, launched in 2012, serves as a roadmap for agencies to follow in an effort to comply with DuPage County policies. So far, 17 agencies have adopted the county’s ethics ordinance that allows the entities to utilize the County’s Ethics Commission and investigator general for ethics complaints. The initiative also prompted the Election Commission to share services with the county’s information technology department, which will save taxpayers nearly $700,000.
Source: DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin's Office