Impact Regarding Loss of Home Rule Status Announced:
The Village of Westmont has decided to repeal several actions that were taken while the Village was under Home Rule Authority. Via referendum last fall, Westmont voters opted to cease Home Rule in Westmont. The Village Board hired special counsel Holland & Knight to review Home Rule loss impact. With that review now complete, the Village Board is moving ahead with the following items.
The Village Board plans to act, at the March 4, 2013 Regular Village Board meeting, to repeal the Village’s 2.5 ? (cents) per gallon gas tax (adopted by ordinance May 17, 2012) and the Village’s one half percent sales tax (adopted by ordinance September 15, 2008). This will result in an estimated revenue decrease of between $2 to $2.3 million dollars. “Unfortunately this significant reduction in annual revenues will impact our current Village budgeting process," stated Mayor Pro-Tem Susann Senicka.
In addition, the Village’s Multi-Family Licensing Program and the individual unit inspections (adopted by ordinance August 3, 2009) have been preempted by the results of the referendum, and accordingly the Village plans to act to repeal the Multi-Family Licensing Program on March 4, 2013. However, the Village will continue to perform common area maintenance inspections along with other Fire Code and other Code compliance inspections of multi-family buildings as authorized for non-home rule communities.
The Village will return or refund all Multi-Family License payments already received by the Village for the 2013 calendar year. Any unresolved violations or citations, that may have been issued prior to the November 6, 2012, referendum are still valid and will be enforced.
The change in Home Rule status, does not affect either the Village’s use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF), as an economic development tool, nor preempt, repeal or otherwise stop the Village’s legal authority to continue to enforce, throughout the Village, all other Non-Home Rule enacted codes including but not limited to building, zoning, fire and other life safety codes.
Previously the Village redirected Hotel Motel Tax revenue from its General Fund (operating fund) back to the restrictive Hotel/Motel Tax Fund, this was effective immediately following voter direction to end Home Rule. Prior to Home Rule status, Hotel/Motel Tax funds were deposited in this Fund. Illinois Home Rule communities are allowed to use Hotel/Motel Tax funds in its operating fund.
The Village achieved Home Rule by exceeding 25,000 in total population as a result of a 2007 Special Census. Illinois law automatically gives communities over 25,000 in population Home Rule authority. The 2007 Special Census determined that the Village’s population had grown to 26,211. As a result of the 2010 Decennial Census, the Village’s population dropped to 24,685. This triggered a State law requirement for a November 6, 2012 General Election referendum question asking voters if the Village should cease Home Rule status. This question was approved by the voters.