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Covering 22.4 square miles, Homer Glen is the fourth- largest municipality in Will County. During the summer of 2008, a special census was taken. With the rise in the population number, this special census helped increase Homer Glen’s share of state revenue sources, which is distributed on a per capita basis. Because the Village operates without a municipal tax levy, these funds are essential in providing the best possible services to the community.

HOME RULE vs. NON-HOME RULE Under the 1970 Illinois Constitution, the state officially adopted home rule designations. While the Illinois Constitution established certain protections on the use of home rule, it remains the best practice of self-government in a municipality’s internal affairs. With wide discretion, home rule gave local government the power to tax and regulate any function relating to municipal business and projects. According to Laurel Ward, Homer Glen Village Trustee, “In Illinois, a non-home rule municipality can only exercise the powers specifically granted to it by state law. Home rule communities have much broader abilities and can basically take any action except those limited by state law. Simply put, home rule gives a municipality the ability to govern itself. Non-home rule municipalities are subject to the control of the State.”

In a digital age, Homer Glen residents are both well informed and involved in their future. Because of this awareness, residents realize how home rule provides elected Village officials the abilty to decide issues locally without state intervention. It becomes the ultimate tool for the Village to retain control of an ever-changing community. Home rule offers more diversity in Village operations by shifting the tax burden so both residents and non-residents are responsible. This way, taxes are not solely dependent on individual homeowners or established businesses. Prior to December 2008’s certification of home rule status in Homer Glen, the Village could not make developers pay for impact fees on new development or additional public service fees that arise because of the demand this new development creates. Since incorporation, Homer Glen has supported the idea that new development should not be a burden to existing residents.

With a growing population, Homer Glen realized the importance of having more local control rest within the Village. With certain state intervention or retention, there are limits on a community’s ability to govern itself and, in turn, limit that community’s overall growth potential. Residents of Homer Glen want and expect local, elected officials to control generated funding and certain taxes so the distribution of these funds are able to keep the Village strong. This is an intelligent concern about how local control affects a Village and its citizens, both now and in years to come. Home rule designation was the answer.

In Illinois, home rule municipalities may regulate land dedications for schools and parks, mobile home parks, zoning landfill sites, low-income housing developments and self-service gas. The regulation of taxes on parking and commodities such as cigarettes and the retail sales of new vehicles are also included under home rule status.

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