Since 2002, the Forest Preserve and DuPage County have remained separate entities, each with their own commission. But earlier this year, Elmhurst State Representative Deb Conroy filed House Bill 3099 to consolidate the two, in an effort to save taxpayers money, saying:
“I introduced legislation over these last two years to address this issue, and it is clear that we still have a lot of work to do to ensure that tax dollars are spent responsibly while maintaining the core purpose of the forest preserve.”
The Forest Preserve Board feels there is a conflict of interest between the economic gain development of land can have at the county level, versus the interests of preservation and conservation held by the forest preserve, and would prefer things remain as is.
“They would vote as they did to put landfills on forest preserve property, they would run roads through forest preserve property, we would have more commercial interest trying to usurp the open space that people have voted time and time again to keep open,” said Mary Lou Wehrli, a Commissioner, for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
The group has launched a petition to ensure that the agencies remain independent. As of this taping, over two thousand people have signed.
The bill is currently awaiting a vote in the house.
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