State Report: Local Government Units, St. Charles Park District Praised For Sharing Services, Saving Taxpayer Dollars

State Report: Local Government Units, St. Charles Park District Praised For Sharing Services, Saving Taxpayer Dollars

The St. Charles Park District was singled out as one of the top 20 examples local government best practices in a state of Illinois report released Tuesday.

During a Tuesday (July 31, 2018) press conference in Hoffman Estates, Gov. Bruce Rauner and Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti joined local leaders in unveiling the second edition of the Journal of Local Government Shared Services Best Practices report highlighting examples of local governments banding together to share services, equipment and expertise to increase government efficiency and save taxpayer dollars.

“We are celebrating all of you because you are wonderful examples of how service consolidation and partnership among local governments in this state can reduce duplication, improve services for our communities and decrease the tax burden on our hard-working families,” Rauner said. “We have some of the highest property taxes in the country, and they are crushing the people and families in our state. You are showing the way to better government and your constituents are the winners.”

The Second Edition of the Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices (Journal), published by the Lt. Governor’s Office, promotes 20 top examples of ways public entities are working together to cut costs and reduce property taxes.

St. Charles Park District was praised for its collaboration with St. Charles Community Unit School District 303. In December 2015, the Park District entered into an intergovernmental agreement with District 303 to manage the Norris Recreation Center’s programs, memberships and services. The school district retains ownership of the physical building and property.

The goal of the project was to allow the Norris Recreation Center to continue being a prominent resource for health and wellness needs for St. Charles residents, as 85 percent of respondents in a recent community survey feel the facility is an important community asset.

The Park District’s management of facility provides the community increased health and fitness programs while, at the same time, the facility is utilized for the School District’s P.E. swim classes, high school swim team and water polo.

“This agreement is a win-win for both entities,” the report says. “The new facilities gave the park district the opportunity to expand its recreational services by adding indoor tennis courts and an indoor swimming pool for residents to enjoy year-round. There is also access to a fitness center with a dedicated fitness studio, cardio equipment, weights and an indoor cycling room. The partnership has led to additional renovations of spaces to enhance customer service, address client’s needs and improve building efficiency.”

In total, 262 shared service examples were provided for best practice consideration. Out of those responses, 20 were selected to be published in the Journal.

Shared service examples range from school districts sharing professional services, equipment, buses and facilities, to park districts joining forces to provide community activities, fire protection districts sharing equipment and expertise, and road districts sharing ice-snow removal services.

Sanguinetti chaired the Governor’s Task Force on Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates.

“With 7,000 units of local government — more than any other state — it is no surprise that Illinois homeowners and businesses pay among the highest property taxes in the nation,” Sanguinetti said. “I commend these local leaders for finding innovative ways to deliver more efficient, effective, streamlined services for our taxpayers, and I encourage other local governments to follow their lead.  At the same time, I will continue to fight for legislation to allow citizens the ability to control costs and consolidate units of government as they see fit.”

The Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices Second Edition can be found here.

SOURCE: State of Illinois news release

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