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Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012 03:29 am

GETTING RID OF GOVERNMENT

Mosquito abatement districts. Tuberculosis sanitarium districts.

Not exactly stuff that sets civic hearts afire. But the Sangamon County Citizens’ Efficiency Commission is, nonetheless, examining the minutia of local government to determine what we can, and cannot, live without.

It turns out that we can do without a mosquito abatement district or tuberculosis sanitarium district, both of which are authorized by the state General Assembly, but neither of which exist in Sangamon County or, for that matter, Champaign, McLean or Peoria counties, which the commission considers similar enough to Sangamon to be used for comparison purposes.

“There are a number that we don’t have,” says Norm Sims, executive director of the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission, who recently prepared a report on special districts for the commission tasked with recommending ways to making local government more efficient. “We seem to carry on well.”

There are, potentially, stickier issues, such as whether units of government could merge or be abolished, but few are watching while the commission authorized by voters in 2010 considers not what government is, but what government should be. Meeting minutes show that only one or two members of the public have attended any given meeting since the commission convened in September.

“I still have some people tell me, ‘I didn’t know it was there,’” Sims says. “I’ve been out there, encouraging people and organizations: If you’ve got some ideas, this is the time to present them.”
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