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updated: 3/26/2013 12:01 PM

Westmont changed Illinois History Books in 2012...

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Westmont Landlord Association

Village of Westmont changed Illinois History Books in 2012

By voter decision in the November General Election of 2012, the Village of Westmont returned to being a "Non-Home Rule" community and the 5th town to abandon Home Rule in Illinois. The other four towns are Rockford, Lisle, Lombard, and Villa Park. Westmont, Lisle, Villa Park, and Lombard are within a 6 mile radius in DuPage County.

In 2007 the Village Officials spent money from the village money reserves to pay for a special census and submitted that to the State to attain "Home Rule" status upon which the municipality was granted the municipal home rule powers outlined in Article VII of the Illinois Constitution and would no longer be guided by the State Municipal Code.

Home Rule is a form of governance with a shift of State powers to the local government, the Municipality, and the impact of this change in governance is not necessarily realized immediately by the general public and it wasn't until 2009 that the full impact of this change became very real and visible when the Village of Westmont implemented the "Multi-Family Licensing Ordinance" on Jan 1st, 2010 and the "Red Light Camera" installation suddenly appeared and other increasing amount of regulation aimed at the commercial and rental properties. Residents were becoming very aware of increasing property taxes they had no say about.

The guidance for all these regulatory changes in Westmont was not necessarily out of need for more regulation but may have actually been under the direction of the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference "Legislative Action Plan" that was adopted by the Village of Westmont by unanimous vote of the Village Board. The outline of the action plan was prominently posted on the Village website at the time. The Mayor of Westmont signed over "Power of Attorney" to the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference and copies of that was sent to the Governor's Office, state and federal legislators, and department heads in the Village of Westmont. At the time, the Mayor of Westmont and the Village Manager were on the Board of Directors and the Westmont Economic Development Director was on the Legislative Committee of the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference and this may have had influence towards the adoption of the action plan from the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference. In December of 2010 the Westmont Landlord Association made a formal presentation of proposed changes in the Multi-Family Licensing Ordinance to the Village Board which was refused any consideration and this may have been because the Village may not have had the ability to make any changes to the Ordinance.

The 2010 Census population count, below 25,000, of Westmont forced the issue of "Home Rule" to go to a voting referendum, certain aspects of Home Rule and utilization of the powers of Home Rule by the Village became very visible, and a number of concerned residents formed a community group, Citizens for Westmont, to oppose Home Rule in Westmont. The Citizens for Westmont group passed out informational flyers at the train station wearing highlighted T-Shirts and campaign buttons, distributed door knob placards to single family homes, distributed outdoor display signs, and published a tri-fold informational brochure that was made available at select stores in the village.

The voting decision by the residents in Westmont to abandon "Home Rule" and return the town to "Non-Home Rule" is a huge win for "Free Democracy" in Illinois and an even bigger win for the community over all. Non-Home Rule is the most transparent form of governance in Illinois. Westmont is once again a constitutionally governed town and guided by the State Statutes and with that the Multi-Family Licensing Ordinance was removed. Westmont was a well managed and financially sound town before taken under the grip of Home Rule, the Village needs to address their spending and the debt they incurred to the taxpaying residents, who will ultimately be paying the bill.

Westmont Landlord Association