Transform Illinois coalition builds momentum for legislative and local leadership on government efficiency
The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is fostering government collaboration and consolidation in Illinois by examining and questioning long-standing barriers to efficiency, building a coalition of Illinois policy makers to lead the charge, conducting research and educating local government leaders. In 2014, MPC partnered with DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin to lead Transform Illinois, a coalition of lawmakers, government officials and organizations committed to legislative reforms and local implementation that improve the effectiveness of local government service delivery in Illinois. Transform Illinois' November 2015 conference, attended by more than 150 government and business leaders, heralded leading state, local and citizen "Transformers" and encouraged more local governments to implement their own efficiency agendas. These efforts, which coincided with the January 2016 release of a report by Ill. Gov. Bruce Rauner's Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force, built leadership and momentum across Illinois for local government efficiency.
In spring 2016, Transform Illinois supported some 22 bills before the Illinois General Assembly, designed to reduce the size, scope and cost of local government. At an April 6 news conference at the Capitol, MPC and Transform Illinois partners stood in solidarity with the bi-partisan group of lawmakers who were sponsoring this legislation. With greater political attention on this issue than ever before, ultimately Illinois lawmakers approved several of these bills—significant progress in a state beset with political gridlock.
“With the most units of local government of any state, the worst-funded pension systems in the country and enough former politicians in jail to fill their own cell block, Illinois is in desperate need of transformation. I am truly honored that the Transform Illinois coalition has named me a State Government Transformer. When all of the energy spent fighting needless partisan battles is devoted instead to serving the best interests of Illinois taxpayers, only then can our state truly be considered transformed. Until then, our work is far from over.“
—Illinois Representative Jack Franks, D, 63rd District, 2015 Transform Illinois conference
Units of government by state. Illinois has 6,963 units of government, 54 units per 100,000 people.
MPC continues to be a strong partner in Transform Illinois, providing communications, research and technical assistance capacity, as well as leadership, to keep the drumbeat strong in Illinois for effective and efficient local governance. Learn more about Transform Illinois.
Addressing stormwater challenges in the Calumet region
“The CSC has provided a critically needed forum—gathering agency, NGO and community expertize to look at the serious stormwater issues of the area. Water doesn't respect boundaries and this collaborative has helped reach across jurisdictions and breach silos to bring meaningful solutions to the Calumet area.”
—Nancy Williamson; Regional Watershed Coordinator, Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Since April 2014, MPC has been facilitating the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative, which is working to reduce flooding and improve water quality throughout the Calumet region by developing systemic stormwater management solutions through coordinated, goal-driven planning and investment in both green and gray infrastructure. The Collaborative includes four working groups: Data & Modeling; Education & Engagement; Planning & Policy; and Training & Maintenance. With more than 30 active members, the Collaborative has shaped resources that can benefit the entire region, such as Delta Institute’s green infrastructure design templates, which provide free guidance for communities to rethink streets and open spaces for stormwater management. Another example: The Center for Neighborhood Technology, a dedicated member of the Collaborative, developed RainReady, an initiative to help residents and communities work together to find solutions to water-related problems that are influenced by climate change. The Calumet Stormwater Collaborative is moving forward in its third year with a powerful work plan to coordinate even more stormwater management solutions.