Paris: RF board will pursue home rule in '06

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In its final 2005 board meeting Monday, the River Forest village board took less than an hour to dispense with its final business before going into executive session to discuss two legal matters, one pending and another recently settled.

The board, which didn't discuss a proposed home rule ballot referendum in its public session, will likely be developing a citizens action committee to address the issue in 2006. Village President Frank Paris said Tuesday that, while the board is interested in pursuing home rule, most board members were uncomfortable with the groundwork laid so far.

"Most [trustees] feel that too little time has been put into educating residents about what [home rule] is and why we should be seeking it," said Paris.

Paris said he "certainly sees where they're coming from," adding that he felt somewhat apologetic for not shepherding the issue more attentively since introducing it in August.

"I don't know where the time went," he said.

No substantive action can be taken on the issue before an upcoming filing deadline for placement of any referendum on the March primary ballot, meaning that the earliest the issue can now be put to voters is in November 2006.

In other agenda items, the board:

? Passed the 2005 Tax Levy of $5,311,286. That figure includes $818,745 for the River Forest Public Library. With the total increase over last year, without bond debt service, at 4.15 percent, it falls under the 5-percent tax cap figure, so no Truth in Taxation Hearing is required.

? Approved a change in the 2006 board meeting schedule, making the Committee of the Whole meetings on the third Monday of every month on an "on call," or as-needed basis. Committee of the Whole meetings will be convened upon written notice from the village president or any three village trustees.

? Approved an agreement with the Village of Oak Park for the provision of any needed Health Department services by the Oak Park department for 2006. Trustees expressed satisfaction with the 2006 fee for those services, which will be $28,686, a 3-percent increase over 2005.

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