Union County Board of Commissioners sees Municipal Partnerships as Key to Future of Public Services


Union County Board of Commissioners sees Municipal Partnerships as Key to Future of Public Services

In an era of increasingly tighter budgets and increasing demands for public services, local units of government have to start getting creative.  Between state and federal mandates, managing liabilities, maintaining transparency and implementing new technologies, county and municipal governments are frequently left with the responsibility to keep up with demands that outpace revenue.

The Union County Board of Commissioners sees municipal partnerships and consolidating—however and wherever sensible—as a primary key to maintaining a high standard for public services.

Depending on the situation, more centralized coordination at the county level might make sense.  In some areas, it’s more effective to make use of some of the County’s specialists and position.  In others, a more decentralized approach that makes use of the manpower at the village, town and city level could be the more sensible approach.

There are many possibilities and, again, it’s time to start getting creative and exploring options.  The important thing is to find these solutions before we are forced to do it, likely saving taxpayers millions of dollars in retrofitting local government ten years from now.

There’s huge potential for shared savings by pooling resources.  There’s no reason for each municipality to maintain redundant services.  Likewise, there’s no reason for county government to replicate services best handled at the municipal level.  By spreading the costs among all involved, each governing body can better plan its budgets and make long-term projections that will keep all in good fiscal standing.

The Commissioners of Union County feel that it is their collective duty to take the lead on this initiative.  Our infrastructure, our specialists and our vision leave us uniquely capable—and ultimately responsible—to lead the way in this endeavor.

Action is required now, before we all feel the pinch.  We’ve already seen this model succeed in multi-county agencies such as Southern Seven Health Department, Southern Five Regional Planning and the University of Illinois Extension, all of whom share the rewards of mutually beneficial partnership.

Imagine the kind of synergy that could be achieved in Union County with all county and municipal pistons firing in rhythm.  Then contrast that with the solutions Springfield or Chicago will hand us in an hour when we have no remaining options.

The fixes for most of the problems in Union County lie within the boundaries of Union County if we simply work together.

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