* Illinois has a little over 4 percent of the USA’s population, but it has almost 8 percent of the country’s local governments, according to a recent study by the US Census Bureau.
From Illinois Statehouse News…
Illinois has 6,968 units of local government, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s preliminary 2012 Census of Governments, released last week. Considering the state’s population of 12.8 million, that means there’s one governmental body for about every 1,800 residents.
* National rankings…
* Illinois: 6,968
* Pennsylvania: 4,905
* Texas: 4,856,
* California: 4,350,
* Kansas: 3,806,
* Missouri: 3,752,
* Ohio: 3,702,
* Minnesota: 3,633,
* New York: 3,454,
* Wisconsin: 3,123
We have a whole lot of small municipalities and lots of counties. Just a handful of states have more counties than we do, and nobody has more municipalities. We also have a lot of townships here. Several states have no townships, and the Census folks combine “towns” with “townships” in their numbers. We have 1,431 in that category. Minnesota has 1,785.
* By far the biggest difference between Illinois and the rest of the country is in the “special districts” category. From the Census…
Special districts are organized local entities other than county, municipal, township or school district governments that are authorized by state law to provide only one or a limited number of designated functions. Fire districts, water districts, library districts and transit authorities are examples of special districts.
We also have TIF districts, mosquito abatement districts and other such things, giving us a grand total of 3,232 special districts - almost half our total number of local government units. The closest competitor is California, with 2,786 special districts, then Texas, with 2,309 special districts. Michigan has just 445, Ohio has 700, New York has 1,172.
* Legislation aimed at reducing the number of local governments died in the Senate not long ago. All that could pass was a non-binding study commission, and its commissioners now want more time to finish…
The Local Government Consolidation Commission likely will ask during the fall veto session that its Dec. 31 deadline be pushed back. The reasons, chairman Jack Franks said, are the long delay in appointments to the commission and the wealth of information it is taking in now that it is meeting. […]
The commission was created by a Franks bill signed into law in August 2011 by Gov. Pat Quinn. But it did not hold its first meeting until February, because legislative leaders took their time filling the commission’s 17 seats. […]
Franks said the commission is not only exploring consolidation of governments, but also ways that governments that stay independent can merge services. The commission also plans to identify roadblocks in state statute to promoting such efforts.