Local issues stack up in Illinois

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October 8, 2012

Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois: Local issues continue to be added to the November ballot, some issues of note include a home rule question in Mt Vernon and a question about dismantling wards in Highwood. In the city of Mt Vernon, which is in Jefferson County, local residents will be asked if they want to keep their community a home rule municipality. The option of home rule was allowed in Illinois beginning in 1971 and so far 290 communities and one county, Cook County, have home rule powers. The home rule option gives the community more control over governance in the city such as allowing for more control over taxation, incurring debts and how funds are spent. Residents will be asked if they want to repeal home rule in the city.[1]

Residents in the city of Highwood, which is in Lake County, will be asked if they want to get rid of the current ward system and instead vote for City Council members at large. Currently the city is divided into four wards, but some have stated that the city is too small for a ward system and would do better with at large members. The issues was brought to the ballot through a petition by a former council member. Issues have arisen with this measure, since members are currently running for office for their wards, if the measure is approved it is unclear how it would be implemented with new members being elected into office. Proponents of eliminating the current ward system say that the current system does not work and having members accountable to the entire city would be more effective.[2]

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