Batavia Accused of Electioneering on Home-Rule Issue

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 9, 2018 | Go to article overview

Batavia Accused of Electioneering on Home-Rule Issue


Byline: Susan Sarkauskas ssarkauskas@dailyherald.com

One of the people behind the cease-home-rule referendum in Batavia has complained to the state election board that city officials are illegally trying to sway voters' opinions.

Carl Dinwiddie submitted a letter to the Illinois State Board of Elections Friday contending the city has spent public dollars to persuade voters to let it keep those powers. State law prohibits spending public money to advocate political positions.

Dinwiddie wants the state board to order the city to cease and desist its activities. He also wanted the city to put a "citizen representative" on the panel of a forum held Monday night.

The forum was to present information, officials said, about the home-rule referendum.

"This question has very serious implications on local government funding and authority to enact local legislation," says a four-page flier sent to Batavia households last week. headlined "Please Read: Important Information About The Home Rule Referendum On The November 6, 2018 Ballot."

It goes on to say 19 percent of city revenues (other than utility charges) come from taxes tied to home-rule authority. "If the city loses these home-rule revenues, the city would need to raise real property taxes to continue funding existing services and/or discontinue some existing services," the flier states.

It also says home-rule allowed it to implement a Crime-Free Housing ordinance for multifamily buildings of six or more units. Non-home-rule towns have fewer legal abilities to regulate rental housing.

"As soon as the city presented what the losses will be if the city loses home rule, it is clear that they are advocating for the residents to vote to keep home rule," Dinwiddie's complaint states. " ... by using the words 'could impact' and 'services may be eliminated' these are opinions and conclusions, definitely not factual information."

The city has created a page on its website regarding the referendum. …

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