2016 State Transformer: State Senator Tom Cullerton
D-Villa Park

Former Villa Park Village President and Trustee Tom Cullerton was elected to the Illinois State Senate to represent the 23rd District in November 2012. During his freshman year as a legislator, he sponsored landmark legislation – the Local Government Reduction and Efficiency Act – that authorized DuPage County to dissolve a number of duplicative and inefficient County-appointed agencies after a transparent and deliberative public hearing process.

In 2016, Sen. Cullerton sponsored a number of bills to streamline and improve the delivery of government services including: SB 2994, which requires every county in the state to submit an inventory report to the General Assembly by Jan. 1, 2017, detailing the number of county-appointed agencies, function, revenue sources and potential plans for consolidation or dissolution; HB 229, which extends the applicability of the DuPage Model (Local Government Reduction and Efficiency Act) to Lake and McHenry Counties; SB 2323, which creates a pilot program to consolidate mosquito abatement services in DuPage County; and SJRCA 29, which sought to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to abolish the Office of Lt. Governor.

As Village President, Sen. Cullerton created a more business-friendly environment, improved the village’s financial stability through responsible budgeting, and was honored by the Sierra Club for initiatives the village enacted to become more green. Sen. Cullerton is active in his community as a member of the Knights of Columbus and American Legion and serves as a Little League coach and Boy Scout leader. He resides in Villa Park with his wife, Stacey, and their three sons.

2016 Citizen Transformer: Century Hill Street Lighting District

In April 2016, after engaging district residents, the three-member Century Hill Street Lighting District Board voted to dissolve itself and consolidate with DuPage County’s Transportation Division, utilizing the authority granted under Public Act 98-1002.

The DuPage County Board subsequently accepted this plan in June, and the district was officially dissolved shortly thereafter, resulting in improved customer service and greater efficiencies for district residents.

This single-purpose government served 800 residents (312 parcels) by maintaining 77 street lights and poles in one subdivision in unincorporated Naperville. The district is a classic example of how so many single-purpose special districts exist in Illinois and the burden they often place on taxpayers and citizens who govern them.

Before a law was passed in 2014, there was no pathway to consolidate or dissolve special districts like Century Hill Street Lighting District. Public Act 98-1002 authorized smaller units of government, including street lighting districts, to consolidate with a neighboring county or municipality by a majority vote of its boards. The Century Hill Street Lighting District was the first single-purpose unit of government in Illinois to take advantage of this new tool.

For many years, Board President Tom Cieslak (and his wife) kept the books, filed paperwork, responded to calls for service, helped recruit new trustees and literally kept the lights on for 30 years with no compensation for their time and dedication. Mr. Cieslak’s openness to innovation and consolidation of the district are credited for this government efficiency win.

2016 State Transformer: State Rep. Tom Demmer
R-Dixon

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.

Images From The 2016 Transformer Awards Ceremony

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