River Forest trustees to hold special meeting on home rule vote

Board must adopt an ordinance by Aug. 20 to put the matter on the ballot

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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

River Forest trustees reached consensus Monday night on scheduling a special board meeting ahead of an Aug. 20 deadline to approve a home rule referendum in November.

The board has a meeting scheduled on that day, but attorney Patrick Lucansky of the Chicago-based firm Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins, Ltd. advised them to adopt it sooner rather than later in case something unexpected comes up.

"I wouldn't wait," he said.

Village Administrator Eric Palm made a presentation that outlined the concepts of home rule, which goes into effect automatically for communities with a population over 25,000. According to a memo from Village Attorney Lance Malina of the same firm, home rule communities have more control of local issues than the state constitution allows non-home rule communities. Municipalities that are home rule can take any action except those specifically limited by the state.

Illinois currently has 209 home rule communities, including Oak Park, and Lucansky said four have gotten the designation revoked.

The biggest concern among some residents, Palm said, is the ability of the board to raise property taxes above the tax cap, but some home rule communities pass legislation saying they will still honor the cap.

Trustee Susan Conti noted that the election of officials would become more important to voters because residents must trust them to act in their best interests.

President John Rigas said many home rule communities have very flat property taxes, and neighboring Oak Park's village government didn't raise their taxes for years after becoming home rule.

Other trustees supported adding an ordinance saying the village would adhere to the tax cap.

"I think that's something we probably want to do," said Trustee Jim Winikates. Trustee Cathy Adduci agreed it would ease people's concerns and said she'd like to see what the added ordinance would look like at the special meeting.

Adduci said board members owe it to themselves and to residents to become home rule because it allows the village to make its own decisions instead of always being at the mercy of legislators in Springfield.

Reader Comments

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RF Achievement  

Posted: July 27th, 2012 12:33 PM

RF Home Rule was set by President John Rigas and the entire Village Board - as one of their 2013 Village Goals. Thanks John for asking what this does (or what it would take) from Residents! This additional control and taxing is NOT needed or wanted.


Posted: July 25th, 2012 6:29 AM

@Dad how is RF Home Rule decision if held in presidental election time good? why even have it at all. do not know anything about what home rule is. all commenters lay out reasons it should not bs something we take on. seems odd - all are against it, yet the people who say it is needed can not lay out reasons why. like I tell my kids - trust is very hard to earn and easy to loose. not sure I can trust what I read from this article and the people from the village board.

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 8:33 PM

That was the exact strategy for the Park District before the residents caught on. No doubt that will happen again. Also, its better if it happens in presidential cycle...more voters means less chance of passing.

Robin from River forest  

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 7:33 PM

@Dad - Home Rule in RF needs to be followed VERY closely. I belive the village elected officals are hoping with LOW turnout-or people focused on the NATIONAL election, they will forget to VOTE on this Critical issue. WEdnesday Journal should be doing the Job - & teasing out the issues, holding the politicians accountable for the public - rather than just reporting on WHAT they tell you. Hello-Dan Haley-are you in the bag for President Rigas-OR, will this happen? Do not say "We Support It"

Dad from OPRF  

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 1:48 PM

How did that Park Referendum go in 2009...I forgot it lost 82% to 18% I think. I trust any and all referendum that have any potential of raising taxes will be rejected strongly. However, go ahead and waste your time so the people can strongly speak again. We pay too much now and I can not think of anyone who would support the possibility of higher taxes on lower values and lower incomes.

RF Achievement   

Posted: July 22nd, 2012 8:34 PM

RF Home Rule - River Forest put together a committee of locals to explore the home-rule concept back in 2006, and Palm, the Village Administrator said it's possible they may bring back that group to look at it again in the spring. This was said in December. Well -- Tell us where is the Committee?? This is just the lack of trust we all suspect about Rigas. This is looking to be something to really worry WHY they are pushing for this. If it is Pensions - tell us WHY and What!


Posted: July 22nd, 2012 4:07 PM

Rigas gouged us with the OPRF Referendum ("for the children!")- and now the school has a $100Million balance and are quite proud of it - as they max out on every tax opportunity while many in OP and RF suffer paying their prop taxes. Then it was the Red Light cameras that were solely for "safety" by Rigas, etc - right! Now it's wanting to end Home Rule and this is for one simple reason: to easily, as in "no questions asked," raise RF taxes. Somehow RF has managed for a long time without it. No!


Posted: July 22nd, 2012 6:11 AM

RF Blank check. No one in RF government should be given a blank check. No one in government should get one. This is about our money and our right to be asked. What is it that our elected officals are wanting Home rule for. They have this planned out - and we the people they represent have a RIGHT to know. We are waiting to Hear

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: July 20th, 2012 10:21 AM

Robin - you won't want to approve this. It's a blank check for village MGMT to push through anything they would like - while you get the bill and there isn't anything you can do about it but pay for it. I wonder what it is the RF board has up their sleeves that they want to have HR put in place.

Robin from River forest  

Posted: July 20th, 2012 9:51 AM

For Home Rule to be considered what exactly is being looked for in terms of "leeway and control" by the village and our elected board? Perhalps if they were fully transparent - and open with the residents and taxpayers we could than properly and fully evaluate if we want this.

Robin - River forest  

Posted: July 19th, 2012 7:21 PM

Home Rule is like saying making more Unions is the answer. I recall a group of fellow women from the Board went to Springfield to argue in favor of lee way for Sales Tax (which I undersood from someone was them lobbying)- and it worked in theri favor. This is what they should be doing - work within those limits for which they were elected. We never elected anyone to do anything that is NOT in our interest. I don't recall anyone on the Board asking us if this was something we wanted or needed

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: July 19th, 2012 8:45 AM

Only one way to have your say - put the house up for sale.

RF Achievement  

Posted: July 18th, 2012 9:23 PM

@ John Home Rule in RF - President Rigas is on record saying he IS in favor of Home Rule. He says it gives the Board more flexibility - (code for Control) as you say. I beleive that as elected officals they have a sworn Political Duty to act in the BEST interests of All Residents. Therefore the should be an open meeting - where all residents - not just a few that can fit into village hall to a meeting with an agenda only posted AT village hall.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 9:36 PM

Control is the name of the Home Rule game.

Robin - River forest  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 9:22 PM

Home Rule - did we already consider and talk about that. Residents do not want it, do not need it and this current village or the last one never came up with the reasons they would or would not use it. No need to give any form of local government a blank check. If they need more money - do it the right way - a referendum to raise x amount for y reason.

RF Achievement  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 6:53 AM

Mr. Rigas statement the "many" HR communities have flat property taxes is a distractor. As many do NOT and those that would have a flat looking tax have other sources to tax such as Hotel, Car Dealerships, Skating Rinks or other amusment taxes. Tell the Taxplayers please just what you would NOT due - if RF had Home Rule, & what Taxes would go up. Otherwise, what is the Purpose of HR, in not to Raise revenue from Taxpayers and Business. All it seems to be is a ruse to keep Spending more money

RF Achievement  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 6:49 AM

President Rigas - with this desire to increase our taxes and fees there is a Major need and you are here by reqeusted to hold an open meeting at Roosevelt, Lincoln or Dominican - so you and the entire Board that was Elected by taxpayers - here what are the questions and concerns of Residents and taxpayers. This is Exactly the same need as was done for the Historic Property discussion and Sales Tax issues - where residents had lots of questions. Let us know where this will take place.

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