Chairman Dan Cronin said he and the rest of the DuPage County Board are striving to make county government operate like a well-run business during a recent State of DuPage County Address.
Cronin gave his remarks Jan. 8 at Seven Bridges Golf Club in Woodridge. The chambers of Westmont, Downers Grove, Woodridge and Lisle participated in the event, which was sponsored by Choose DuPage.
Much of the speech extolled the county's fiscal responsibility. By spending taxpayer dollars responsibly, he said, DuPage government could avoid raising property taxes for the sixth straight year and keep money in residents' pockets.
"If you add up the dollars that we collect at the local government level through property taxes and all the different agencies, it's an enormous amount of money that is taken out of the economy," he said.
Cronin pointed to the county's balanced 2014 budget, the reduction of employee benefits and the elimination and consolidation of redundant or unnecessary districts as examples of the ongoing effort to scale back spending.
"The challenge for (the county) is to be the example of how to take care of our affairs in the area that we can influence," he said. "We want to demonstrate how we can find efficiencies."
Choose DuPage President and CEO Greg Bedalov said the county government's thrifty approach makes for a business-friendly environment. He added that Cronin "help(ed) set the tone and the mindset, the culture of lean and efficient government that drives pro-business interests."
That political environment has led to the lowest unemployment rates, the most educated workforce and the lowest industrial vacancy rate of any county in northeast Illinois, Bedalov said.
The developing Rev3 industrial innovation center project headlined by Choose DuPage shows the county is on the cutting edge of new manufacturing, according to Cronin.
He also discussed the importance of public transportation to the future of the county and emphasized a desire to reform or restructure area public transit. While he said he is happy consider streamlining and combining services, he maintained that the main issue is the state funding disparity between Chicago and its surrounding counties.
"We have public transit needs out here, we are subsidizing the CTA, we are subsidizing a lot of what goes on in the city of Chicago," he said. "I'm happy to help out my fellow man, but you know, there's an appropriate amount and degree."