Intergovernmental cooperation is a reality with IGOV

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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When you asked for more collaboration, we were listening.

Collectively, all six Oak Park elected boards heard the citizen call for more collaboration to reduce expenses and derive the maximum benefit of taxpayer dollars. In 2011, in response to that call, each board assigned members to IGOV, an advisory body whose representatives are tasked with identifying and discussing opportunities for intergovernmental cooperation to reduce expenses, promote efficiencies of scale, and explore the sharing of facilities, personnel, and processes as templates for future taxing body collaboration. 

Once identified, these opportunities are communicated to the full boards of each taxing body for further consideration.

One of the first things IGOV identified was a long history of intergovernmental cooperation in Oak Park on which to build. For example, the village provides fuel for vehicles of the local taxing bodies and maintains vehicles for the park district and the Elmwood Park, River Forest, Oak Park Dispatch Center, and Oak Park Township staffs. In addition, a longstanding agreement for the Youth Interventionist program cuts across various taxing bodies and provides invaluable services for at-risk youth and their families.

Over the past year, IGOV discussions have focused on the use of the Oak Park FYI newsletter, the potential benefits of a "government center," support for the Collaboration for Early Childhood, and the efficacy of shared technology purchases and systems. The information gathered will be the basis for future action. 

Collaboration can be challenging, but it leads to the serious intergovernmental discussions fundamental to progress.

This process of discovery is vital as it promotes intergovernmental staff relationships and information analysis about current and future needs through multiple lenses. If action is taken, the final proposal will not be the one on the table initially, as it will always be informed by citizen input, but outside-the-box thinking can only take place when it is met by open minds that allow the process to be fully developed. 

The current collaborative effort is in its nascent stage, with relationships strengthening, emerging issues identified, and the OP FYI used as a vehicle for information sharing from all taxing bodies to all citizens. 

Going forward, we commit to sound fiscal stewardship and intergovernmental partnerships. The patience of citizens as we seek collaborative endeavors is important, as is their constructive feedback. 

We look forward to hearing more ideas from all quarters, which can lead to collaboration and better management of our collective tax burden. The meetings are posted and open to the public.

Jim Gates and Denise Sacks, District 97

Steve Gevinson and Jeff Weissglass, District 200 

Janet Kelenson and David Sokol, OP Public Library

Paul Aeschelman and Vic Guarino, Park District

Clairmarie Keenan and Ade Onayemi, OP Township

Peter Barber, Ray Johnson and Colette Lueck,
OP village board

Recording Secretary: Teresa Powell, village clerk

Reader Comments

8 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Neal Buer from Oak Park   

Posted: December 23rd, 2017 11:52 AM

Dean - You are correct. What benefits did the taxpayers receive for the $5,500,000 they spent? If this is a vital program, it should be incorporated into D97, instead of funding a private organization.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: December 22nd, 2017 6:04 PM

TMick, has anyone told you you have very little idea of what you're talking about? Oh, OK, then let me be the first. And hey WJ, as other people have asked here, why is this guy not Facebook verified? I thought that was standard.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 22nd, 2017 2:23 PM

Dean Rogers, you are correct that is should work that way. There is a general fund, some people refer to it as a slush fund where money can be taken out to be used for what politicians want to use it for

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 22nd, 2017 2:00 PM

Dean Rogers you have the right idea and I would say it is not legal to share money. The general fund money is really a great idea for politicians. They can use that money for any thing

Dean Rogers from Oak Park  

Posted: December 22nd, 2017 1:45 PM

My last property tax bill listed 15 separate entities.When I pay $4,295 to the high school,I expect it to be spent on high school programs.My $6,790 to District 97 I expect to be spent in District 97.My $787 to the library on the library,and my $796 to the park district on park district programs.Once we start comingling funds-the high school?! and the Village kicking in for early childhood collaboration-some of my village and high school taxes are subsidizing what is properly a District 97 program. Why bother having separate elections and boards,if they are allowed to allot tax monies for programs outside their purview.I'm not even sure this is legal.Each taxing body collects taxes based on referenda and property taxes.That money is,by law,to be dedicated to being spent on programs for that specific taxing body.First the Village and High School fund early childhood programs;next the library helps build a new swimming pool;or the township begins subsidizing park district programs.It's a never ending shell game.I don't think one penny of the high school or village's revenue should be diverted to a district 97 program.Or vice-versa.All accountability of individual boards is lost,making separate elections worthless.I'd like to know the legalities of separate taxing bodies funding programs from another taxing body.That money from OPRF could be better spent,and legally should only be spent,on high school programs.Each taxing district is it's own distinct entity and should be limited in how their funds are spent.

Mimi Jordan from Oak Park  

Posted: December 17th, 2013 9:40 AM

Theresa, thanks very much.

Teresa Powell  

Posted: December 16th, 2013 3:11 PM

A list of agendas and approved minutes is available at this location: http://www.oak-park.us/your-government/village-board-agendas-minutes

Mimi Jordan from Oak Park  

Posted: December 11th, 2013 10:47 AM

Ms. Powell, can you give us the link to the site where the IGOV meeting info is posted? Thanks

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