“Vote No to Home Rule March 20” – 2018, “Get Out to Vote”

Source:  The Market Street Press, Market 2018, Vol. 7, Issue 5

 

Home Rule – 1999, Rolling Meadows, Illinois

The referendum asks voters whether they want to revoke home rule authority in Rolling Meadows. A “yes” vote will return the city to non-home rule status. A “no” vote will keep things the same as they are now.

Q: Why is this referendum on the ballot?

Several residents were angry when the Rolling Meadows city council amended its self-imposed tax cap to issue almost $3 million in bonds to pay for improvements at the 3Com Midwestern headquarters site on Golf Road. They said residents overwhelmingly voted for the tax cap and breaking it went against the will of the residents. They want to limit the powers of city officials; they saw revoking home rule as the best way to do that.

Q: How much will it cost?

No one, including the Illinois Department of Revenue, is sure how much more money, if any, losing home rule will cost local residents. However, in a worst-case scenario, the city could lose its ability to collect about $2.7 million in home rule sales, hotel-motel, real estate transfer and food and beverage taxes. City officials have plans to replace about $2.5 million of that revenue with a 5 percent utility tax on phone, electrical and gas service (currently no utility tax is levied); an ambulance-service fee for city residents (currently there is no fee for residents) and other increases in permit costs and fees for city services.

Q: Who pays?

City officials say if they lose revenue from home rule taxes, city residents are going to make up much of the difference. Their logic is that home rule taxes on sales, hotel-motel use, real estate transfers and food and beverages are paid not only by residents, but by people from out of town, too. Utility taxes will affect only businesses and residents in Rolling Meadows. Rolling Meadows residents also could wind up paying for ambulance service, which they don’t pay for now. And increases in city fines, fees and permit charges also primarily would affect city residents.

Q: What about my property taxes?

They won’t go down – on that point, everyone agrees. The latest opinion from the Illinois Department of Revenue seems to indicate they won’t go up much, either. It’s likely that property taxes will continue to be subject to current tax caps, even without home rule. Rolling Meadows is subject to two tax caps – property tax rate limits and another tax cap for Cook County municipalities. The Cook County cap says taxes cannot increase by more than 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. Even though Rolling Meadows could levy up to $1.5 million for a corporate levy without home rule, that much money far exceeds the Cook County tax cap.

Q: How will we know if we lose home rule taxes?

If home rule is revoked, the city will go to court and basically file a lawsuit claiming it still can collect home rule taxes. Since the case could go all the way through the appellate court system, it could be years before the city gets a definitive ruling.

Illustration

Caption: 3com – ne1021rmegb Where it all began: The 3Com site, on Golf Road in Rolling Meadows. In December 1997, aldermen voted to amend the city’s voter-approved property tax cap to issue bonds for improvements to land on which 3Com was building its Midwest Headquarters. Although the bonds are to be paid back either by sales tax revenue from the 3Com site or out of the company’s pocket, a small group of residents saw the council’s vote to amend the tax cap without consulting voters as a threatening abuse of power. Their reaction to that threat has led to an April 13 referendum asking voters to revoke home rule in Rolling Meadows. GRAPHIC: Portion of Rolling Meadows budget affected by home rule

Source: Daily Herald, Arlington Heights, April 6, 1999     ProQuest Database

“Vedra ‘looking forward’ to life out of politics – 1997

Source: Rockford Register Star April 3, 1997; article by Phil Borchmann, photo by Ken Love

 

 

“Vote No!” on Home Rule, informational mailing paid for by Realtors in Opposition to Home Rule, 2018

Source: Informational mailing donated to the library

Specific cities and percentages mentioned; check newspaper reports in Illinois newspapers databases

See Proquest Database; Chicago Tribune, Chicagoland Final Edition 24 May 2004, by Trine Souderas and Crystal Yeadnak…Elmhurst and Waukegan asked for extension on TIF Districts re school districts cash starved.  Deal proposed by General Assembly for 10 extra years.

 

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, MO, 3 Oct 2005, byline Georgina Gustin

Municipalities with populations fewer than 25,000, such as Cahokia, Sauget and Fairview Heights, all gained home rule status by referendum. Only three Illinois cities with populations of more than 25,000 have rejected automatic home rule by petitioning the state. Residents in those three municipalities — Rockford, Villa Park and Lombard — rejected home rule because they feared runaway taxes, Frang said.

Frang explained, however, that no home rule cities have raised home rule taxes by more than 1.5 percent, and property taxes, in some cases, have actually fallen.

 

Home Rule Vote on March 20; “Who We Are and Who We Want to Be” – Winter 2018

Source: Northwest Quarterly Magazine, Winter 2018, Volume 15, No. 1, p. 208, by Tom McNamara

“Community Organizations Support Home Rule” – 2018

Source:  The Voice of the Rockford Business Community, March 2018, Vol. 31, No. 3, front page

Online at http://Rockfordchamber.com