DuPage County sales tax drops after Water Commission moves towards autonomy

DuPage County residents will enjoy a drop in their sales taxes starting June 1 after the DuPage Water Commission has officially moved into revenue autonomy.

The quarter-cent reduction is estimated to save DuPage County consumers $36 million annually, according to a news release from the county.

"I don't know the last time we've seen any governmental unit actually abolish a tax like we have done," DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin said at a county board meeting May 24.

The board celebrated the reduction at the meeting with the cutting of a celebratory penny-shaped cake, which Cronin and DuPage Water Commission Chairman and board member Jim Zay cut a quarter out of before sharing it with fellow board members.

The commission has been held up as a model of government turnaround in DuPage County, as the reduction comes five years after the commission discovered a $40 million gap in presumed reserves and subsequent overspending after a series of accounting errors.

It has also been the subject of a number of other reforms, including new leadership improved procurement processes, transparency, lowering water rates by 1 percent for 2016-17 and the repayment of $70 million in bonds 18 months early. The final reform saved taxpayers an additional $10 million in interest payments.