GEORGETOWN – A referendum question will be on the Nov. 3 ballot for voters in Georgetown.
The question reads: Should the city of Georgetown become an autonomous unit of local government?
According to the Municipal League of Illinois, the purpose of self-reliance is to enable local solutions to local issues and problems. A municipality with local self-government status can exercise any power and perform any function unless it is specifically prohibited from doing so by state law.
In contrast, a non-self-governing municipality can only exercise powers for which express authority is provided by state law. This means that Non-Self-Governing Communities depend on obtaining powers from the General Assembly and the Governor.
Autonomous status can be obtained in two ways: 1. A municipality automatically obtains autonomous status when its population exceeds 25,000 inhabitants. If the municipality’s population falls below this threshold, it continues to be self-governing, but the clerk is required to certify the self-government question for submission to voters at the next general election; and 2. Communities with less than 25,001 inhabitants can become self-governing by passing a local referendum.
Autonomous municipalities have the power to self-govern in areas that are uniquely local in nature. Illinois self-governing municipalities have the ability to regulate any matter of local concern so long as regulation thereof is not limited or prohibited by federal or state law or constitutional provision.
There are currently 217 self-governing communities in Illinois.
“Our focus is that this is a health and wellness issue,” said Georgetown City Council Ward 3 Alderman Mike Scott.
He said the reason the council decided to apply for self-government status through the public referendum is to have more tools to deal with ordinance violations, abandoned houses and other issues. health and safety.
He said they had trouble with residential properties that weren’t habitable; and an idea for the safety of residents is the possibility of making inspections on the houses that are going to be rented.
He said they would like to tackle these “not really livable” properties and “get rid of the slum lord issues” of landlords who don’t live nearby and rent these properties.
Scott said the issues are currently before the municipal court, but the fines do not resolve or resolve the issue.
“The problem still exists,” he said.
Under the current form of government in Georgetown, once the court has rendered its rulings, nothing else is done to clean up or repair properties.
“We wasted everybody’s time,” Scott said, adding that without a judge’s order, people don’t care anymore.
Georgetown officials also work with the local land bank on properties. They demolished a house where a tree was growing through the roof. A neighbor got the land.
Scott said Georgetown being a self-contained community would not solve everything, but would provide other options to use to help resolve issues.
Georgetown officials are planning a public question-and-answer session on the referendum, possibly in high school. Meeting plans had been postponed due to COVID-19.
Georgetown has approximately 3,200 residents.