A Publication of WTVP

Syn-er-gy. Two or more things functioning together to produce a result not independently obtainable.

One commitment and goal that we have in Tazewell County government is to do things as efficiently and inexpensively as possible.

Intergovernmental agreements, where they make sense, are one way we try to achieve those goals. Working together with other local units of government allows the county to produce both financial results and efficiency gains that are not independently obtainable.

Tazewell County works together with governments locally, regionally and statewide, every day. These agreements are allowed by state law and give taxpayers an opportunity to save money.

One local example came out of recent legislation from Springfield that requires counties to have building codes for new commercial buildings and multi-family dwellings. Building codes require inspectors to make sure the work is done correctly. Instead of hiring a new inspector, we entered into an agreement with East Peoria to handle our inspections. Tazewell saves money, and East Peoria earns additional revenue.

We have agreements with the City of Pekin to do maintenance on many of our county vehicles and purchase fuel from their fuel tanks. This brings in savings by allowing us easy access to competent mechanics and does not require county employees to drive to our road department in Tremont to fill up.

Tazewell also maintains an agreement with communities in the county to coordinate all 911 functions. This money-saving feature allows for greater efficiency in dispatching rescue personnel, thus providing increased protection of our citizens.

Likewise, regional intergovernmental agreements are a tremendous source of synergy and savings. Most recently, “energy aggregation” has been a topic in many communities in the Tri-County Area. This concept came out of Springfield and allows counties and cities to combine their electricity use as leverage to purchase energy at reduced costs. By working together, individual homeowners have the opportunity to save every month on their utility bills.

Economic development is another area in which pooling our resources can attract more businesses than each unit of local government alone. The Economic Development Council for Central Illinois takes the investments of local governments and speaks as one voice to capitalize on our market power. Additionally, Peoria County and the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission are managing a regional stormwater grant to help coordinate and comply with new standards coming from the EPA.

Since the attacks of 9/11, regions are now working together to better coordinate disaster planning in the event of a catastrophe. Tazewell County maintains a command center motorcoach that can be used across the entire region to assist police, fire, hospitals and other emergency agencies. Once again, working as a team can only benefit the residents of central Illinois in the event of a disaster.

I have only touched on a few of the areas where intergovernmental agreements are saving scarce tax dollars and bringing greater efficiencies. Being creative and evaluating every area in which spending occurs can create those synergies all governments will need as we move into the future. iBi