Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB0494
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Full Text of SB0494  98th General Assembly



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1    AN ACT concerning local government.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The Counties Code is amended by adding Division
55-44 to Article 5 and Sections 5-44005, 5-44010, 5-44015,
65-44020, 5-44025, 5-44030, 5-44035, 5-44040, 5-44045, 5-44050,
7and 5-44055 as follows:
8    (55 ILCS 5/Div. 5-44 heading new)
Division 5-44. Local Government Reduction and Efficiency

10    (55 ILCS 5/5-44005 new)
11    Sec. 5-44005. Findings and purpose.
12    (a) The General Assembly finds:
13        (1) Illinois has more units of local government than
14    any other state.
15        (2) The large number of units of local government
16    results in the inefficient delivery of governmental
17    services at a higher cost to taxpayers.
18        (3) In a number of cases, units of local government
19    provide services that are duplicative in nature, as they
20    are provided by other units of local government.
21        (4) It is in the best interest of taxpayers that more
22    efficient service delivery structures be established in



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1    order to replace units of local government that are not
2    financially sustainable.
3        (5) Units of local government managed by appointed
4    governing boards not directly accountable to the
5    electorate can encourage a lack of oversight and
6    complacency that is not in the best interest of taxpayers.
7        (6) Various provisions of Illinois law governing the
8    dissolution of units of local government are inconsistent
9    and outdated.
10        (7) The lack of a streamlined method to consolidate
11    government functions and to dissolve units of local
12    government results in an unfair tax burden on the citizens
13    of the State of Illinois residing in those units of local
14    government and prevents the expenditure of limited public
15    funds for critical programs and services.
16    (b) The purpose of this Act is to provide county boards
17with supplemental authority regarding the dissolution of units
18of local government and the consolidation of governmental
20    (55 ILCS 5/5-44010 new)
21    Sec. 5-44010. Applicability. The powers and authorities
22provided by this Division 5-44 apply only to counties with a
23population of more than 900,000 and less than 3,000,000 that
24are contiguous to a county with a population of more than
253,000,000 and units of local government within such counties.



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1    (55 ILCS 5/5-44015 new)
2    Sec. 5-44015. Powers; supplemental. The Sections of this
3Division 5-44 are intended to be supplemental and in addition
4to all other powers and authorities granted to any county
5board, shall be construed liberally, and shall not be construed
6as a limitation of any power or authority otherwise granted.
7    (55 ILCS 5/5-44020 new)
8    Sec. 5-44020. Definitions. In this Division 5-44:
9    "Fire protection jurisdiction" means a fire protection
10district, municipal fire department, or service organized
11under Section 5-1056.1 of the Counties Code, Sections 195 and
12200 of the Township Code, Section 10-2.1 of the Illinois
13Municipal Code, or the Illinois Fire Protection District Act.
14    "Governing board" means the individual or individuals who
15constitute the corporate authorities of a unit of local
16government; and
17    "Unit of local government" or "unit" means any unit of
18local government located entirely within one county, to which
19the county board chairman or county executive directly appoints
20a majority of its governing board with the advice and consent
21of the county board, but shall not include a fire protection
22district that directly employs any regular full-time employees
23or a special district organized under the Water Commission Act
24of 1985.



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1    (55 ILCS 5/5-44025 new)
2    Sec. 5-44025. Dissolution of units of local government.
3    (a) A county board may, by ordinance, propose the
4dissolution of a unit of local government. The ordinance shall
5detail the purpose and cost savings to be achieved by such
6dissolution, and be published in a newspaper of general
7circulation served by the unit of local government and on the
8county's website, if applicable.
9    (b) Upon the effective date of an ordinance enacted
10pursuant to subsection (a) of this Section, the chairman of the
11county board shall cause an audit of all claims against the
12unit, all receipts of the unit, the inventory of all real and
13personal property owned by the unit or under its control or
14management, and any debts owed by the unit. The chairman may,
15at his or her discretion, undertake any other audit or
16financial review of the affairs of the unit. The person or
17entity conducting such audit shall report the findings of the
18audit to the county board and to the chairman of the county
19board within 30 days.
20    (c) Following the return of the audit report required by
21subsection (b) of this Section, the county board may adopt an
22ordinance dissolving the unit 150 days following the effective
23date of the ordinance. Upon adoption of the ordinance, but not
24before the end of the 30-day period set forth in subsection (e)
25of this Section and prior to its effective date, the chairman



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1of the county board shall petition the circuit court for an
2order designating a trustee-in-dissolution for the unit,
3immediately terminating the terms of the members of the
4governing board of the unit of local government on the
5effective date of the ordinance, and providing for the
6compensation of the trustee, which shall be paid from the
7corporate funds of the unit.
8    (d) Upon the effective date of an ordinance enacted under
9subsection (c) of this Section, and notwithstanding any other
10provision of law, the State's attorney, or his or her designee,
11shall become the exclusive legal representative of the
12dissolving unit of local government. The county treasurer shall
13become the treasurer of the unit of local government and the
14county clerk shall become the secretary of the unit of local
16    (e) Any dissolution of a unit of local government proposed
17pursuant to this Act shall be subject to a backdoor referendum.
18In addition to, or as part of, the authorizing ordinance
19enacted pursuant to subsection (c) of this Section, a notice
20shall be published that includes: (1) the specific number of
21voters required to sign a petition requesting that the question
22of dissolution be submitted to referendum; (2) the time when
23such petition must be filed; (3) the date of the prospective
24referendum; and (4) the statement of the cost savings and the
25purpose or basis for the dissolution as set forth in the
26authorizing ordinance under subsection (a) of this Section. The



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1county's election authority shall provide a petition form to
2anyone requesting one. If no petition is filed with the
3county's election authority within 30 days of publication of
4the authorizing ordinance and notice, the ordinance shall
5become effective.
6    However, the election authority shall certify the question
7for submission at the next election held in accordance with
8general election law if a petition: (1) is filed within the
930-day period; (2) is signed by electors numbering either 7.5%
10of the registered voters in the governmental unit or 200
11registered voters, whichever is less; and (3) asks that the
12question of dissolution be submitted to referendum.
13    The election authority shall submit the question to voters
14residing in the area served by the unit of local government in
15substantially the following form:
16        Shall the county board be authorized to dissolve [name
17    of unit of local government]?
18    The election authority shall record the votes as "Yes" or
20    If a majority of the votes cast on the question at such
21election are in favor of dissolution of the unit of local
22government and provided that notice of the referendum was
23provided as set forth in Section 12-5 of the Election Code, the
24county board is authorized to proceed pursuant to subsection
25(c) of this Section.



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1    (55 ILCS 5/5-44030 new)
2    Sec. 5-44030. Trustee-in-dissolution; powers and duties.
3    (a) The trustee-in-dissolution shall have the following
4powers and duties:
5        (1) to execute all of the powers and duties of the
6    previous board;
7        (2) to levy and rebate taxes, subject to the approval
8    of the county board, for the purpose of paying the debts,
9    obligations, and liabilities of the unit that are
10    outstanding on the date of the dissolution and the
11    necessary expenses of closing up the affairs of the
12    district if these funds are not available from the unit of
13    local government's general fund;
14        (3) to present, within 30 days of his or her
15    appointment, a plan for the consolidation and dissolution
16    of the unit of local government to the county board for its
17    approval. The plan shall identify what functions, if any,
18    of the unit of local government shall be undertaken by the
19    county upon dissolution and whether any taxes previously
20    levied for the provision of these functions shall be
21    maintained;
22        (4) to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with
23    one or more governmental entities to utilize existing
24    resources including, but not limited to, labor, materials,
25    and property, as may be needed to carry out the foregoing
26    duties;



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1        (5) to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with
2    the county to combine or transfer any of the powers,
3    privileges, functions, or authority of the unit of local
4    government to the county as may be required to facilitate
5    the transition; and
6        (6) to sell the property of the unit and, in case any
7    excess remains after all liabilities of the unit are paid,
8    the excess shall be transferred to a special fund created
9    and maintained by the county treasurer to be expended
10    solely to defer the costs incurred by the county in
11    performing the duties of the unit, subject to the
12    requirements of Section 5-44035 of this Division. Nothing
13    in this Section shall prohibit the county from acquiring
14    any or all real or personal property of the district.
15    (b) For fire protection jurisdictions, the
16trustee-in-dissolution shall not have:
17        (1) the powers enumerated in this Section unless the
18    dissolution of that unit of local government shall not
19    increase the average response times nor decrease the level
20    of services provided; and
21        (2) the power to decrease the levy that is in effect on
22    or before the date of dissolution of the fire protection
23    jurisdiction that affects the provision of fire and
24    emergency medical services.
25    (55 ILCS 5/5-44035 new)



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1    Sec. 5-44035. Outstanding indebtedness.
2    (a) In case any unit dissolved pursuant to this Division
3has bonds or notes outstanding that are a lien on funds
4available in the treasury at the time of consolidation, such
5lien shall be unimpaired by such dissolution and the lien shall
6continue in favor of the bond or note holders. The funds
7available subject to such a lien shall be set apart and held
8for the purpose of retiring such secured debt and no such funds
9shall be transferred into the general funds of the county.
10    (b) In case any unit dissolved pursuant to this Division
11has unsecured debts outstanding at the time of dissolution, any
12funds in the treasury of such unit or otherwise available and
13not committed shall, to the extent necessary, be applied to the
14payment of such debts.
15    (c) All property in the territory served by the dissolved
16unit of government shall be subject to taxation to pay the
17debts, bonds, and obligations of the dissolved district. The
18county board shall abate this taxation upon the discharge of
19all outstanding obligations.
20    (55 ILCS 5/5-44040 new)
21    Sec. 5-44040. Effect of dissolution. Immediately upon the
22dissolution of a unit of local government pursuant to this
24    (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of the Special Service
25Area Tax Law of the Property Tax Code that pertain to the



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1establishment of special service areas, all or part of the
2territory formerly served by the dissolved unit of local
3government may be established as a special service area or
4areas of the county if the county board by resolution
5determines that this designation is necessary for it to provide
6services. The special service area, if created, shall include
7all territory formerly served by the dissolved unit of local
8government if the dissolved unit has outstanding indebtedness.
9If the boundaries of a special service area created under this
10subsection include territory within a municipality, the
11corporate authorities of that municipality may, with the
12consent of the county, assume responsibility for the special
13service area and become its governing body.
14    All or part of the territory formerly served by a dissolved
15fire protection jurisdiction shall not be established as a
16special service area unless the creation of the special service
17area does not increase the average response times nor decrease
18the level of service provided.
19    (b) In addition to any other powers provided by law, the
20governing body of a special service area created pursuant to
21this subsection shall assume and is authorized to exercise all
22the powers and duties of the dissolved unit with respect to the
23special service area. The governing body is also authorized to
24continue to levy any tax previously imposed by the unit of
25local government within the special service area. However, the
26governing board shall not have the power to decrease the levy



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1that is in effect on or before the date of dissolution of the
2fire protection jurisdiction that affects the provision of fire
3and emergency medical services.
4    (c) Subsequent increases of the current tax levy within the
5special service area or areas shall be made in accordance with
6the provisions of the Special Service Area Tax Law of the
7Property Tax Code.
8    (55 ILCS 5/5-44045 new)
9    Sec. 5-44045. Abatement of levy. Whenever a county has
10dissolved a unit of local government pursuant to this Division,
11the county or municipality shall, within 6 months of the
12effective date of the dissolution and every year thereafter,
13evaluate the need to continue any existing tax levy until the
14county or municipality abates the levy in the manner set forth
15by the Special Service Area Tax Law of the Property Tax Code.
16    (55 ILCS 5/5-44050 new)
17    Sec. 5-44050. Tax collection and enforcement. The
18dissolution of a unit of government pursuant to this Division
19shall not adversely affect proceedings for the collection or
20enforcement of any tax. Those proceedings shall continue to
21finality as though no dissolution had taken place. The proceeds
22thereof shall be paid over to the treasurer of the county to be
23used for the purpose for which the tax was levied or assessed.
24Proceedings to collect and enforce such taxes may be instituted



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1and carried on in the name of the unit.
2    (55 ILCS 5/5-44055 new)
3    Sec. 5-44055. Litigation. All suits pending in any court on
4behalf of or against a unit dissolved pursuant to this Division
5may be prosecuted or defended in the name of the county by the
6State's attorney. All judgments obtained for a unit dissolved
7pursuant to this Division shall be collected and enforced by
8the county for its benefit.
9    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
10becoming law.