Kane County Poor Governance Alert (KC PGA) 3: Taxpayer Savings Averted
Issue: The Kane County Board's Legislative Committee on July 22 and the Executive Committee on August 9 rejected attempts to add an advisory question to the ballot this year on whether to reduce the size of the board to 18, despite the efforts of Mo Iqbal.* Currently there are 24 board members. An IL statute states that counties of over 800,000 residents are limited to 18. Kane County has a population of under 540,000. Board members, though a part time job, receive annual compensation of approximately $25,000 to $46,000 depending on benefits. The 10 year savings for this reduction would be between approximately 1.5 and 2.8 million dollars.
In rejecting the non-binding proposal, board members stated that this would dilute representation and not be cost effective as compensation would increase for remaining members. These arguments are somewhat lacking when considering the facts. Yes, board members would represent slightly larger areas. The increase would be less than 7500 additional residents per district. This sounds substantial, but how engaged are most board members in outreach to the community? It is limited or nonexistent in many cases. Additionally, modern communication methods allow you to reach wide swaths of the community with a few key clicks. It should not be overly burdensome.
As to increased compensation for additional board member duties eliminating any savings, that does not work when you look at the numbers. If additional compensation is required, my initial calculation of the required maximum compensation would only average $1250 per member annually. This amount in aggregate would be $22,500 or less than 1 of the eliminated positions.
Resolution: This has been rejected by the board. Board members should review this again after the upcoming election as it will clearly benefit Kane County taxpayers. Should it not be acted on, I can guarantee that the required signatures will be obtained so it can be placed on the ballot for the next election. Hopefully our elected officials quickly readdress this issue. Discussing it with your constituents is encouraged!