2016 State Transformer: State Rep. Tom Demmer
A former Lee County Board member who understands the complexity of local government, Tom Demmer was elected to the Illinois House to represent the 90th District in north central Illinois in November 2012. As a legislator, Rep. Demmer serves on several healthcare and education committees and is a strong voice for transparency, reform and fiscal conservatism as a member of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and budget negotiator for the House Republican Caucus.
Selected as one of two House Republican legislators appointed to the Local Government Consolidation & Unfunded Mandates Task Force established by Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2015, Rep. Demmer was instrumental in developing the report’s 22 recommendations to consolidate local governments with the goal of improving service delivery at a lower cost to taxpayers. In 2016, Rep. Demmer sponsored a number of these recommendations including: HB 4501, which extends the Local Government Reduction and Efficiency Act statewide; HB 4967, which establishes the Citizens Empowerment Act to permit citizens to more easily place referendum questions on the ballot to dissolve a unit of government; HB 4968, which provides for the consolidation of coterminous townships; and HB 6094, which provides relief for local governments and school districts from the costs of unfunded mandates if not economically feasible.
Rep. Demmer is a graduate of the University of Dayton after serving as a White House intern in the Office of the Vice President of the United States in 2006.
He serves on the Board of Directors of the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home Preservation Foundation. He is also a member of St. Anne Parish, Dixon Rotary Club and the Knights of Columbus. He is a volunteer teacher of Junior Achievement business and ethics classes and a volunteer basketball coach at the Dixon Family YMCA.
2016 Local Transformer: Village of Algonquin
The Village of Algonquin, located 40 miles northwest of Chicago with more than 30,000 residents, stands out as one local government that has utilized creative thinking to withstand the recession and subsequent budget decline through innovative intergovernmental agreements with its neighbors.
By embracing a business-like mentality of providing services to its customers, village leaders quickly identified several ways to be more efficient with the resources at hand, including sharing staff and pooling resources with its neighboring towns to create more effective operations.
It began in 2011 when a budget shortage caused Algonquin to review its spending. Because of a slowdown in construction caused by the recession, building inspectors were not in high demand. To avoid employee lay-offs, Algonquin approached the Village of Huntley to form a partnership to share a building inspector, saving both villages money.
By 2013, Algonquin had formed similar agreements with seven surrounding municipalities, allowing for the contracting of staff and services to other communities. These various partnerships has generated much needed revenues for Algonquin, permitting the delivery of additional and better quality services to its residents. Today, this program has grown from the original seven agreements to 23.
The services Algonquin contracts out or partners with other entities to deliver include mechanic and fleet services and maintenance, GIS and information technology services, building inspection and plan review services, school safety services, infrastructure routine maintenance and snow plowing.