Will County, Illinois

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Will County is one of 102 counties in Illinois. This county is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 677,560, making it one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. The county seat of Will County is Joliet, Illinois.

Website evaluation

Main Article: Evaluation of Illinois county websites

Will County has launched a transparency portal on their local website, detailing budgets, meeting minutes, contract bids, tax information and public filings for the county's departments. The county also posts its checkbook register. In 2011 Will County earned a Sunny Awards for having a perfect website transparency score.[1][2]

Grade2.pngA+
Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning
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Audits Y
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Contracts
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Lobbying Y
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Public records Y
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Local taxes Y
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Transparency grading process


The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for four years.[3]
  • Administrative officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[4]
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided, including a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.
  • Elected officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[5]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for four years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for four years.
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.[6]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 2004 are available.[7]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.[8]
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[9]
  • Public records
    • The public information officer is identified for each department; contact information and a fee schedule are provided.[10]
    • A public records form is provided.[11]
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.[12]
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.[13]
  • Lobbying
    • The county discloses that it hires lobbyists and provides the total amount spent on lobbying.[14]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.[15]
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[16]

Elected officials

The Will County Board consists of 27 members, 3 each from 9 districts. Will County operates under the county executive form of government, whereby the county executive is elected at large and is responsible for day-to-day administration and the county board is the legislative body responsible for establishing policy. It represents unincorporated areas of Will County.[17]

As the policy-making body of county government, the Will County Board establishes budgets and funds county agencies providing roads, community health programs, courts, police protection, jails, workforce training, victim-witness programs and veterans assistance. The board sets the budgets for all county agencies and plays a key role in transportation issues (including road building and airports, most notably the airport proposed for eastern Will County). The board plans for commercial and residential development by planning for transportation, land use and zoning, while maintaining modern building codes for the protection of the public.[17]

Budget

2009
Actual
Amounts
2010
YTD Actual
Expenses
2011
Approved
Amounts
$159,862,024 $144,135,566 $171,046,834

Lobbying

Main article: Lobbying in Will County, Illinois

Will County has spent at least $1,214,588.96 since 2005 on government sector lobbying.

Will County's lobbying consists of three contracts with lobbyists, including William F. Mahar. It belongs to six government sector lobbying associations, including the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools.

For more on Will County lobbying, see the main article.

Lobbying since 2005
$ lobbying total $ Illinois $ federal government $ lobbying groups # lobbying contracts # lobbying groups
$1,214,588.96 $500,857.96 $500,000.00 $213,731.00 3 12

Public employee salaries

Main article: Will County employee salaries

Will County pays salaries to elected officials and county employees.The Will County website does not include information on compensation for elected officials or county employees. The website also does not list a total number of county employees.

Pensions

Main article: Illinois public pensions

The Will County website does not include employee pension information. While there are no reform issues listed on the county website, there are pension reforms taking place in the municipalities. In Lockport, officials are considering offering early retirement to some municipal employees to save money in the long run. The state has authorized two incentive programs for early retirement. One early retirement plan would allow employees who are 55 or older with 25 years employment to retire early without any penalties, while the other plan would allow early retiring employees to receive an extra month of pension payments per year of service.[18]

Illinois is facing a crisis with its publicly funded pensions. In 2010, state government was responsible for over $130 billion in pension payments; however, the state had only $46 billion set aside, leaving an unfunded liability of about $85 billion. Finding a way to fund that $85 billion was to be the focus of the 2011 session of the Illinois General Assembly. The Pew Center for the States reported that as of 2008, Illinois was one of the worst states at contributing to its pension. State lawmakers were expected to consider selling $4 billion worth of bonds to pay the state's annual payment on the five pension programs it runs. In April 2010, the state legislature created a two-tier system for all municipal and state employees—including teachers and state lawmakers—hired after Jan 1, 2011. Police and fire were included in an earlier draft but removed shortly before the vote. For the others, retirement was raised to 67.[19][20][21][22]

Chambers of commerce

Will County membership in chambers of commerce[23]
Chamber of Commerce Year Amount
Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerece 2010 $110
Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerece 2009 $935
Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerece 2008 $300
Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerece 2007 $415
Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerece 2006 $460
Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerece 2005 $100
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce 2008 $350
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce 2006 $100
Romeoville Chamber of Commerce 2009 $550
Romeoville Chamber of Commerce 2007 $80
Romeoville Chamber of Commerce 2006 $80
Romeoville Chamber of Commerce 2005 $120

External links

References