Naperville-Lisle road district consolidation slowly gets on track
A voter-approved measure to consolidate adjoining roads districts in Naperville and Lisle townships appears to be stuck on a one-way street for now, based on interviews with officials from both communities.
DuPage Policy Journal contacted members of the Lisle board of trustees and Township Supervisor Mary Jo Mullen regarding the progress.
“We are still in the early planning stages of consolidation,” Mullen said in an email. “Lisle Township will be working with Naperville Township through the consolidation. There is a lot of work to be accomplished and we look forward to providing updates in the future. Our residents voted in favor of consolidation, and we will work to fulfill the wishes of our residents.”
Trustee Michael Tams said consolidation is a no-brainer.
“On consolidation, I think it makes sense where similar services can be provided at better costs, and always with an eye toward consolidating downward to smaller units of government,” Tams said. “I think the closer a unit of government is to the people, the more responsibly it will be administered.”
Tams said, however, that Naperville Township recently terminated an intergovernmental agreement Lisle had established for road maintenance by the new highway commissioner of Naperville. The reasoning eluded him, Tams said.
“So, my gut says this is political, as that office changed parties at the last election,” he said.
Naperville Township objected to a prior consolidation effort with the City of Naperville, and recently elected Naperville Township Supervisor Eddie Bedford told the Chicago Daily Herald that he was concerned that consolidation might not have been properly presented to voters.
Despite the political undertones, a majority of voters approved a legally binding ballot initiative asking whether the township road districts should merge, according to the Naperville Sun. Fifty-six percent of Naperville voters and 54 percent of Lisle residents said “yes.”
Estimations suggest that after the projected four-year planning process, the townships could see between $800,000 and $1.4 million in savings annually on snow plowing, street sweeping and other services, the Naperville Sun reported.