Batavia may put own home-rule question on November ballot

 
 
Updated 8/13/2018 11:50 AM

Batavians may be asked to vote twice Nov. 6 about whether the city should retain its home-rule powers.

The city council is considering putting an advisory referendum question on the ballot. It will discuss the idea at its committee-of-the-whole meeting Tuesday.

 

Unlike the referendum initiated by Batavians for Responsible Government, the results of the city referendum question would not be binding.

State law specifies the phrasing of the binding referendum, "Shall the City of Batavia cease to be a home rule unit?" To keep home rule, a voter would have to mark "no."

"Out of concern that voters may be confused by the wording of this question and to help the voter understand the impact that losing home rule would have on property taxes, the city proposes to place its own advisory public question on the Nov. 6 ballot," city administrator Laura Newman wrote, in a memo to aldermen.

The city's advisory question would ask "Shall the City of Batavia, IL remain a home rule unit of government in order to pay for the city's general obligation bonds with home rule revenues and avoid increasing property taxes by $______ million (___%), which is approximately $_____/year for a home valued at $300,000?"

The blanks would be filled in by Aug. 20, when the council would officially approve the question.

East Dundee did the same thing earlier this year. Voters decided the village should keep its home-rule status, in both the advisory and binding referendums that were on the ballot in March.

According to the Illinois constitution, municipalities and counties with home-rule authority "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."

Non-home-rule units have only the authority granted to them by the state legislature.

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