by Madeleine Doubek | Reboot Illinois
As I told about 100 people and panelists who gathered at National Louis University in Lisle on a cold, windy night this week, some of the people nearest and dearest to me work in government public service jobs.
I am not a government hater. I know and appreciate the work many public servants perform. It’s hard, hard work. Often dangerous work. Frequently, it doesn’t feel very rewarding and, these days, it seems downright underappreciated and unvalued as there is near constant talk of cutting pension benefits and balancing budgets primarily on the backs of these workers who did nothing wrong while legislative bodies skipped payments and shorted plans. That is the harsh and unfair reality.
As I also told those gathered for a discussion in Lisle about “smart streamlining,” though, I also find myself agitated and more than a bit mystified whenever my local tax bill arrives in the mail as it just did a week or two ago.
My neighbors and I are paying to support 10 separate local governments. I’m sure many of you reading this pay for even more government entities than that. One of the panelists last night talked about an area of Elgin where 16 local governments show up on the tax bills. Three of the 10 I pay for are school districts, a grade school, a high school and a community college district. Then there’s a municipal government, a township government, a forest preserve government, a county government, a park district government. And then, there’s the water reclamation government and the mosquito abatement government.
Really? Think about it. Sure, I’ve heard a truck spraying for mosquitoes on a few summer nights, but should I really have to pay a separate government entity with separate human resource functions and separate overhead for that?
Why can’t some of these governments be combined and consolidated? Is there a smart way to do this that makes sense and might save a bit of my money and yours?