Home Rule Information

On the November 6, 2018, General Election ballot, the residents of the Village of Lemont will have the opportunity to answer a question on home rule through a binding referendum. The Mayor and Village Board chose to give its residents the opportunity to consider becoming home rule as away to obtain additional revenue streams in order to maintain current level of police and public works service, along with maintaining the Village’s roads and water system.

Currently, the Village is a non-home rule municipality under the Illinois Constitution, meaning that the Village can only authorize those powers which are expressly granted by the State of Illinois. Pursuant to the Illinois Constitution, home rule municipalities may exercise any power and function pertaining to its government and affairs.  Home rule status can only be achieved through voter approval or the certification of a population above 25,000 residents.  

The Mayor and Village Board pledge to utilize home rule powers only to the extent deemed necessary with a view to the long-term impact upon the community. The Village has experienced significant revenue stream declines over the last several years, including a reduction in state shared income and motor fuel tax along with other revenues. The Village has cut personnel and other costs over these years and must now address the future needs of the Village.  

Utilizing home rule authority, the board would have flexibility to consider additional revenue streams, ones that shift the burden to non-residents. To take advantage of existing retail and growth in the area, the board intends to impose a 1 percent home rule sales tax on most purchases in Lemont other than qualifying food, drug and medical expenses. The additional funding would be allocated towards investment in our roads, water system and other infrastructure. Home rule would also give the Village Board flexibility to consider other user fees and revenue streams which tend to impact non-residents.  

General questions regarding the Home Rule Referendum shall be directed to Village Administration at 630-257-1590 or vlemont@lemont.il.us.


Q.What is home rule?
A.Established by adoption of the 1970 Illinois Constitution, home rule shifts greater responsibility and authority for local government decision making from the state level to the local level. Municipalities with a population of more than 25,000 are automatically home rule units, which allows more flexibility in addressing “bigger town” matters such as local financial, commercial and industrial issues.
Q.Considering Lemont's population is only about 17,000, how can Lemont become a home rule town?
A.By a referendum vote Lemont can become a home rule town. The Village Board has approved a resolution authorizing the question to appear on the November 6 General Election ballot.
Q.When will the Village of Lemont reach a population of 25,000 and automatically become home rule?
A.It is estimated that by the 2020 Census the Village of Lemont will be at approximately 17,000 residents. It may not be until 2030 or later before the Village can become home rule by population.  
Q.Is home rule common and are there other towns nearby that are home rule towns?
A.There are currently 215 home rule municipalities representing 70percent of Illinois residents.  Home rule municipalities range in size from 2.7 million residents in the City of Chicago to 69 residents in Muddy, Illinois.  Home rule villages and cities near Lemont include the following:  Romeoville, Woodridge, Downers Grove, Lisle, Homer Glen, Lockport, New Lenox, Shorewood, Darien, Plainfield, Orland Park and Tinley Park. 
Q.Are there restrictions on home rule authority?
A.The General Assembly has imposed limits on home rule units by preemption or declaration that certain actions are an exclusive power of the state.  Preemption by the state has included certain licensing powers, pensions, the Open Meetings Act and the Public Labor Relations Act.  In addition, any home rule action would still be subject to all the restrictions in the federal and state constitutions such as due process requirements.
Q.How can we learn more about this home rule referendum?
A.A significant amount of research, studies and analysis has been conducted over the years regarding home rule.  The facts on home rule along with associated literature can be found in the links belowIn addition, a town hall meeting will be held on Monday, October 15, at 6:30 p.m. in the Village Hall Board Room.


Town Hall Meeting October 15, 2018 - Link to Meeting Video

More Q & A's can be found on our special Home Rule Village News newsletter - Link to Newsletter

Press Release - Village of Lemont Home Rule Referendum September 25, 2018 - Link to Press Release

Staff Report Links from Village Board Committee of the Whole Meetings and Passed Resolutions:

  1. June 12, 2018 Potential New Revenue 
  2. July 13, 2018 Home Rule Referendum Discussion
  3. August 10, 2018 Home Rule Authority Resolution
  4. August 17, 2018 Home Rule Utilization Discussion
  5. Resolution R-42-18 Referendum Home Rule Question
  6. Resolution R-43-18 Home Rule Powers

Capital Improvements – The Village’s primary intention with home rule authority is to obtain additional funding to ensure adequate funding for our roads, water system and other infrastructure. If granted home rule authority, the Village Board intends to impose a home rule 1% sales tax that would be devoted to roads, water system and other infrastructure. The Village has identified a list of capital projects to be considered for funding over the next 5-year capital improvement.  

  1.  2018 Street Condition Survey and Estimated Costs Summary
  2.  Water Main Replacement Program & Water Facility 5-year Priority List
  3.  Other Infrastructure Projects and Estimate of Costs

Home Rule Literature - Much information and research has been done regarding home rule. Below are additional links to information:

  1. Do Home Rule Communities Levy More Property Taxes - Professor James Banovetz and Thomas Kelty
  2. Home Rule - Its History and Effect - IML Conference Presentation
  3. Home Rule Cities and the Voters - Professor James Banovetz
  4. Home Rule Brochure - Citizen Advocacy Center
  5. Illinois Home Rule - A Case Study in Fiscal Responsibility - The Journal Analysis and Policy
  6. Illinois Municipal League Handbook on Home Rule
  7. IML - List of Home Rule Municipalities
  8. Legal Q A on Home Rule - Illinois Municipal League
  9. Local Government Revenue Structure - Does Home Rule Matter - The Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy
  10. NIU Center for Governmental Studies - Do Home Rule Governments Work Better
  11. NIU Center for Governmental Studies - 30 Year Assessment of Home Rule
  12. NIU Center for Governmental Studies - Uses of Home Rule
  13. Report on Home Rule to City of Galena