CARBONDALE (WSIL)—When a city in Illinois reaches a population of more than 25,000 people, it is automatically listed for self-government.
Autonomy, in its most basic sense, can give a municipality more local control.
“If you are a self-governing municipality, you have powers in addition to those granted to you by the state government. If you are not a self-governing community, the only powers you have are those in the state statutes in the state legislature,” City Manager Gary Williams said.
The town of Carbondale has had an inland diet since 1967, but the 2020 census determined that the town’s population no longer met the requirement.
“Now that we’ve fallen below that threshold, we’re going to be required in November to ask a question about the November election, asking our voters if they want to retain self-rule,” Williams said.
The house rule offers a few advantages.
It requires licenses and inspections for rental homes, and 70% of homes in Carbondale are rentals.
It also gives the city taxing authority.
“In Carbondale, the town has used its local authority to further fund the town government from sales taxes and use taxes, as many people come from outside of Carbondale and spend money here. , and they kept the property tax very low,” Williams said.
However, home rule allows the city to implement taxes such as a 2.5% home rule tax, motor fuel above the state maximum, and a food and beverage tax.
“Just in the original taxes and not the additional fuel tax or other taxes that we use to fund our capital improvement projects, about $8.6 million out of a $25 million budget, so about one-third of our total revenue comes from original sales tax. In contrast, we generate just over $1 million in property taxes,” Williams said.
But city officials want voters to know that self-rule is nothing new.
“In Illinois there are hundreds of self-governing communities. Most of the communities here are self-governing and they were granted self-government through a referendum. Marion is a self-governing community, Carterville, Mount Vernon, Benton, West Frankfort, Murphysboro , Du Quoin, so it’s not a unique concept in terms of running local government,” Williams said.
The vote for home rule will be on the Carbondale ballot in November.