McConchie apprehensive about consolidation bill
State Sen. Dan McConchie (R-Lake Zurich) expressed his concern about a bill passed the Senate on Nov. 27 that will give communities in two counties the ability to consolidate local government.
House Bill 4637 amends the Local Land Resource Management Planning Act and the Township Code by allowing McHenry County and Lake County to dissolve townships in order to consolidate governing bodies.
The bill passed with 33 yes votes and 16 no votes. State Sen. Terry Link (D-Gurnee) sponsored the bill.
McConchie said he appreciated Link bringing the bill forward, but he had concerns.
"I enjoy it when this body comes together and wants to consolidate," McConchie said during the session. "My concern with this legislation is that we don’t know what the trailer bill will be."
McConchie said he didn't see the need to simply passing the bill when the Senate could go into next session and fix it and come out with an entire bill.
"This isn’t clear what would happen with debt once a township is dissolved," McConchie said. "Who is responsible for paying for that debt? What this would do is incentivize townships to spend money in a manner that is adding onto debt to push off to the rest of the county."
McConchie said while he supports consolidation, he wished the bill could be put off until they could actually negotiate a whole package.
Link said the bill is meant to save taxpayers money and that it was created to consolidate local governments because everyone wants fewer governing bodies.
"This is a consolidation bill," Link said. "Everyone is pro-consolidation. We have to start somewhere and this is a good first start to eliminate local units of government. This will get some property tax relief to people in those areas."
Illinois has the most governing bodies in the nation, with nearly 7,000, according to the Illinois Policy Institute.