Home Rule gives local governments with fewer than 25,000 residents the power to solve their problems locally. It grants our leaders, neighbors who many of us know and voted into office, the flexibility to adapt existing laws to work more effectively for Homewood residents.
This power extends across a number of different legislative areas, including:
- public health and safety
- personnel and hiring
- building and zoning
- taxing and finance
For Homewood, that means the ability to make independent decisions on:
- local business licensing
- police and fire department staff hiring
- property and sales tax changes
- rental property administration and oversight
- local elected officials and positions
Municipalities with a population of at least 25,000 automatically have home rule powers. Smaller municipalities can achieve home rule status by the majority vote of their citizens at a local referendum, which is what Homewood will be asking its citizens on March 20, 2018.
The Village staff has posted additional information about home rule on its website and encourages residents to educate themselves by conducting their own research in addition to the information provided on the village website.
There are pros and cons to home rule that residents should consider. Here are our summaries of each:
- Home Rule give our local government the ability to solve our problems locally, rather than leaving the power to Springfield.
- Home Rule will allow Homewood to create additional revenue streams to assist members of the community, including other taxing bodies like our schools and library
- Home Rule allows Homewood to hire better, more qualified police and fire personnel and get them on the street faster.
- Home Rule give Homewood the ability to work with landlords to ensure safe, clean and up to code housing for those who rent homes in Homewood
- Home Rule enhances our community by strengthening our other taxing bodies, like the library, the park district and our school systems, giving them access to funds in times of need
- Home Rule enables our leadership to license public contractors to ensure we have the qualified, honest tradespeople working in our homes and businesses
- "This will allow Homewood to raise my property taxes." While this is true, the Village Board has passed an ordinance saying that they will not raise property taxes any higher than they already have the ability to today. Further, studies show that Home Rule communities raise property taxes less often than communities that don’t have Home Rule in effect. The reason is there are more diverse sources of income for Home Rule communities.
- "This will cause an increase in sales taxes." Homewood currently has the lowest sales tax of any of our neighboring communities and even with the proposed .25 percent increase, Homewood will still be one of the lowest sales tax communities in the south suburbs.
- "Home Rule gives our government more power." This is true, but we are taking control away from those in Springfield who have their own agendas when setting legislation. Who would you rather give the control to: Springfield or your neighbors who serve in elected positions here in Homewood?
There are many more points to discuss, so please come to one of our hosted Q&A sessions with staff from the Village on hand to discuss your concerns and answer your questions.