Batavia keeps home-rule power in overwhelming vote

Updated 11/6/2018 9:52 PM

Batavia gets to keep its home-rule authority, which gives it additional taxing powers under the state's Constitution.

Residents voted by a ratio of more than 3 to 1, or 9,159 to 2,959 Tuesday, in favor of it, with all precincts reporting in unofficial results.

Batavia was granted home-rule authority in 2009 after its population grew beyond 25,000.

Alderman Marty Callahan said he was relieved and satisfied voters preserved the taxing power.

"We've been sensible and reasonable in how we used our home-rule powers," he said. "We've always taken the approach of raising property taxes are the last option."

Sylvia Keppel, co-founder of Batavians for Responsible Government, organized a petition drive that put the question of whether to eliminate home rule on the ballot. She and other members of BRG have criticized the city council's use of home-rule authority.

The city has used the power to enact taxes on gasoline and alcohol sales, to increase the sales tax on general merchandise, and to increase property taxes above what would have been allowed if it were subject to the state's property-tax cap law.

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