Governor signs bill enabling separate board for Winnebago County Forest Preserve District
Tuesday, Aug. 11, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) signed the bill that will allow the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District to elect its own governing board. The legislative act takes effect immediately. The election of an independent nonpartisan board consisting of seven commissioners will take place in November 2010. The new governance board will replace the current 28-member Board of Commissioners who serve dually as county board members.
The legislation allowing Winnebago County Forest Preserve District to elect its own separate board was initiated by an advisory referendum in November 2008, which passed with a 69 percent approval rate. The bill was then proposed in the Illinois House of Representatives last winter, where it passed with only one opposing vote, and then proceeded to the Illinois Senate, where it passed unanimously.
The governance structure change will not create a new unit of government or new taxing entity. The Forest Preserve District is already a separate agency, and levies its own tax. Nomination packets and petitions for individuals interested in running for the Forest Preserve District Board will be available in January 2010.
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