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HomeNewsGlencoe Village Trustees advocate for voter approval of granting home-rule status

Glencoe Village Trustees advocate for voter approval of granting home-rule status

Nearly 40 years after town officials first attempted to accomplish that, Glencoe trustees are able to take one other swing at altering the village’s governance structure.

The Village Board got here to a transparent consensus during its Tuesday, March 19 committee of the entire session that it can again try to gain home-rule status, a more freeing designation.

Trustees all signaled their support Tuesday for moving forward with a referendum that may ask Glencoe residents to contemplate the change. While the board didn’t finalize a date, officials discussed having the referendum potentially appear on voters’ ballots as early because the November 2024 general election.

Village attorney Steve Elrod on Tuesday walked the board through a presentation defining home-rule governance and detailing Glencoe’s history with the matter.


Glencoe is a non-home-rule community, meaning the village is subject to all state laws and mandates, Elrod explained. Home-rule communities, as detailed in village documents, have additional authority over their operating procedures.

The Illinois Structure states that home-rule entities have the facility to “perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs, including, but not limited to, the facility to control for the protection of the general public health, safety, morals, and welfare and the facility to license, to tax and to incur debt,” Elrod told the board. Moreover, communities with home-rule status may opt out of certain state laws or mandates.

Nikki Larson, Glencoe’s deputy village manager/chief financial officer, also presented to the board in the course of the meeting, highlighting how the village’s non-home rule status limits its governance.

The important thing limitations Larson detailed include timelines for financing capital, the administration of certain zoning restrictions, restraints on revenues that will shift tax burden, restrictions on multi-year purchasing contracts, and the lack to legislate local issues.

Glencoe has also faced limitations with economic development authority, particularly the sale of property and financing programs, in addition to restrictions with its financial authority, notably related to each property tax and non-property tax revenues and debt restrictions, Larson noted.

These aspects, Larson said in a village memo, ”either together or singularly, have generally led Glencoe to a much stronger reliance on property tax revenue than the village’s home-rule counterparts.”

For instance this point, Larson also presented data to trustees that showcased a nine-year history of property taxes in Glencoe in comparison with its surrounding communities.

Glencoe ranked near the highest when it comes to the portion of the property tax bill that’s paid to the municipality, outpacing towns like Winnetka, Evanston, Highland Park, Wilmette, Park Ridge, Northfield, Deerfield, Northbrook, and more.

“The practice of being so reliant on the property tax levy is that, by comparison, that truly puts Glencoe at the upper end of the property tax bill moderately than the lower end because what’s missing from the equation is our ability to implement revenues that shift that property tax burden,” Larson said in opposition to the common argument that home-rule status results in higher property taxes.

Larson also stated in her memo, and reiterated during her presentation, that Glencoe’s non-home-rule status continues to limit the power of the village to enter into certain multi-year contracts, inhibiting its competitive purchasing power.

In search of change

In line with Elrod, municipalities can achieve home-rule status by either obtaining a population of no less than 25,000 residents or by successfully passing a neighborhood referendum. A house-rule referendum may be placed on the ballot either through a petition submitted by local voters or via an ordinance passed by the village board, Elrod said.

Because Glencoe’s population — 8,723 as of 2020 census — falls well in need of 25,000, the one feasible option for the town is thru a referendum.

Nearly all of Glencoe’s neighbors have home-rule status. The one town in The Record’s coverage area of Latest Trier Township that shares Glencoe’s non-home-rule status is Kenilworth.

“It’s pretty hard to clarify why we’re an outlier, particularly in light of (the info) that shows that being an outlier has not resulted in lower property taxes for our residents,” Village President Howard Roin said.

Glencoe’s quest to turn into a home-rule community dates back to the late Nineteen Eighties when town officials attempted to pass a referendum to alter the village’s status. That referendum failed by nearly a three-to-one margin, officials said on the meeting.

The village’s next discourse related to the matter surfaced in 2005 when a home-rule task force was formed. The 18-member resident task force really useful moving forward with a home-rule referendum on the ballot, with provisions, however the Village Board on the time opted not to maneuver forward with the advice.

Efforts reignited again in 2015 when the Village Board directed staff to start gathering information and preparing studies of the 2 previous failed attempts. This attempt, nevertheless, failed to achieve momentum when the board’s committee of the entire squashed the plan.

Glencoe’s most up-to-date swing began in 2019 when village attorneys began presenting on the subject over a series of committee of the entire meetings.

I feel what we ought to be taking a look at is when is the very best option to do that in order that our residents have a good shot to weigh in. … It stays an open query whether that’s November or that’s April.”

Howard Roin, Glencoe village president on a home-rule referendum

A key driving force behind this effort was the adoption of the village’s 2018 strategic plan. As a part of that, a village staff team was formed to “research the Village’s authority through its special charter and legislative authority granted to the Village as a non-home rule municipality,” Larson says in her memo.

Trustees’ discussion continued until August of 2020 when officials opted to table the matter to answer more pressing issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The present efforts to pursue home-rule status come from the recommendations of village leaders, and trustees showed strong support from the jump to maneuver forward with a referendum .

“Day by day, our residents are spending more cash than the residents of other communities because we’re not home rule,” Roin said.

The one point that garnered some debate amongst trustees was whether to pursue placing the referendum on voters’ ballots this upcoming November election or next 12 months’s local election in April.

Glencoe officials could have to find out their desire no less than 79 days prior to the election date, Elrod said on the meeting.

Roin, who showed a preference toward November, said the goal “is just not to throw a fastball past our residents.”

“I feel what we ought to be taking a look at is when is the very best option to do that in order that our residents have a good shot to weigh in and in order that either side have a likelihood to make their point,” he added. “It stays an open query whether that’s November or that’s April.”

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