Working relationships among government entities in St. Charles are characterized by many as cordial, productive and effective. Generally speaking, agencies relate well to each other and work cooperatively on matters of common benefit. Exceptions typically pertain to issues where parties do not see sufficient benefit or where “turf” issues may come into play. There may also be issues where districts serve constituents in unincorporated areas or other communities. In these cases, there may be a concern about St. Charles residents subsidizing services for non-residents, whether real or perceived.
Communication between the agencies is well established and is generally recognized to be superior to that in other communities. As an example, on the second Thursday of each month, representatives from several local government agencies meet for a continental breakfast and to discuss issues of importance to each agency or the community as a whole. Organizations that participate in these meetings include Kane County, St. Charles Park District, St. Charles Library, St. Charles School District 303, St. Charles Township, and City of St. Charles.
Generally, each agency presents information on an important project or initiative that is being undertaken. Participants also get a chance to interact in an informal setting to discuss community issues or other related items.
Some current examples of intergovernmental cooperation include:
- Snow plowing (City and Township agree to plow streets under the other agency's jurisdiction to maximize efficiency)
- Sharing salt (School District is allowed to use salt from City storage facilities at cost)
- School Resource Officers (City agrees to provide police officers for high schools in exchange for compensation from School District)
- Neighborhood parks on school sites (Park District installs and maintains park equipment and playgrounds at School District sites)
- Neighborhood parks on city lands (Park District installs and maintains park spaces on land owned by the City such as Langum Park and Moody Park)
- Representatives of the Park District and School District serve as members of the City's Plan Commission to review and comment on development projects that are proposed
- City land-cash ordinance (new residential developments are required to provide land or cash to benefit the School District and Park District based on the estimated number of persons to live there or number of school-aged children)
- Community Promotion Alliance (public relations staff from agencies meet quarterly to discuss and coordinate information-sharing and promotional opportunities)
- Independence Day celebration (City and Park District share costs/responsibilities for event)
Additionally, all local governments have entered into an intergovernmental agreement to evaluate substantial property assessment appeals and to share the costs of contesting those appeals, if warranted. You can view that agreement here.
While intergovernmental cooperation is strong, local government should always look for more ways to work together for the common good of St. Charles residents.
What opportunities would you suggest to enhance intergovernmental cooperation?