I have been watching, with interest, Shiloh and New Baden both asking their residents to vote for home rule status to initiate a crime-free housing program. I find it hard to believe that New Baden has a housing problem in a village of 3,341 residents. Now Shiloh is another story. Its population is 12,651, much of which was gained in the past few years through strip and surround annexation. Having taken in many subdivisions and apartments, they might need something more than their occupancy permits and codes. Both villages are below the mandatory 25,000 required to go home rule, so they must ask the voters through a referendum.
The definition of home rule, under the 1970 Illinois Constitution is, “A home rule unit may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs including, but not limited to, the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals and welfare, to license, to tax and to incur debt.”
I believe that the money gained from a crime-free housing program, through landlord fees and tenant screening will be small money compared with the large money gained through taxation.
Home rule most commonly is used to generate revenue through broad taxation powers. What they cannot get from property taxes they can get through a myriad of municipal and service taxes. And they don’t have to ask the voters.
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Spring elections are usually low voter turnout. It would be a shame to give home rule status to two small villages on a few hundred votes in an off-year election.