Coterminous consolidations bill overwhelmingly passes House vote
A bill that would allow the consolidation of Illinois townships within a coterminous municipality passed the House floor in late March and is awaiting Senate approval.
House Bill 496 is the result of bipartisan work between Reps. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) and Sam Yingling (D-Grayslake), the chairman of the Government Consolidation and Modernization Committee. Their goal is to reduce government redundancy while improving efficiency.
“HB496 builds upon a law that we passed here in 2013 that gave Evanston Township the ability to do a referendum to consolidate with the city,” Demmer said. “This would expand it to an additional 18 coterminous municipalities in the state. I appreciate Rep. Yingling’s help on this, and I ask for your support.”
According to a 2012 report, Illinois has nearly 7,000 local units of government -- the most in the nation. That number includes 1,341 townships and 102 counties. Illinois also has 18 coterminous municipalities -- those that share the same boundaries and also might share the same debt but have separate units of government.
Many other bills meant to reduce the layers of state government have either passed or are being considered.
Senate Bill 3, for example, passed in February as part of the Senate’s controversial Grand Bargain package and would allow consolidation for all counties and townships, as well as two or more townships with a shared boundary.
Demmer’s bill would apply only to townships within a coterminous municipality. The bill does not mandate consolidation, but offers the option to voters. The process could start via an ordinance by the city council of a township or a voter petition.
Rep. Barbara Wheel (R-Crystal Lake) commended Demmer.
“I want to thank you for your work on consolidation,” Wheeler said. “You have brought a couple of bills that have really made an impact and this is yet another one. Thank you, Representative.”
The bill passed with 111 "yes" votes against two "no" votes.