About Jon Broadbooks

Jon Broadbooks is Vice President/Communications for Illinois REALTORS®. He serves as editor of online and print content for the association's communications including the Illinois REALTOR® magazine and e-newsletters. He conducts spokesperson training seminars and oversees website development for the Association.

Home Rule ballot initiatives targeted by REALTORS® fail by large margins

Five Illinois municipalities which sought Home Rule status through a ballot initiative on Tuesday saw the measures lose by huge margins.

Illinois REALTORS® and its consumer advocacy partner Real Property Alliance both worked in the municipalities to defeat the measures.

Communities under 25,000 in population can ask voters for the power to let elected officials set tax rates and implement some fees. By becoming a Home Rule community, municipalities can also incur more debt and as a result force property tax increases.

Illinois REALTORS® has worked against Home Rule measures for years, arguing that voters should have a direct say on any local tax increase.

The communities that failed to pass the Home Rule initiatives were: Coal City, Ottawa, Warrensburg, Creve Coeur and Lynwood.

As of Wednesday, the unofficial vote totals showed overwhelming opposition to Home Rule.

  • Creve Coeur: 453 against, 62 for, a more than seven-to-one vote against the measure.
  • Lynwood: 685 against, 222 for. This was the third time Lynwood had placed a Home Rule measure on the ballot.
  • Ottawa: Voters rejected the measure 2,196 to 613.
  • Coal City: 747 against, 175 for Home Rule.
  • Warrensburg: 270 against, 30 for, a nine-to-one margin.


Illinois REALTORS® take stand against Home Rule in 4 Illinois communities

This mailer was sent to Lynwood residents to alert them to the dangers of Home Rule. The community has tried a number of times previously to implement the policy, and failed each time. Illinois REALTORS® was engaged in this effort with Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®.

Ads and mailings funded by Illinois REALTORS® explaining the dangers of Home Rule have been used in four communities in the state where voters will cast ballots on April 4.

The ads appeared online in Lynwood, Creve Coeur, Ottawa and Coal City.

In Ottawa and Coal City, online advertising was supplemented by a series of full-page newspaper advertisements warning residents about the potential costs of allowing elected officials to take their communities to Home Rule status.

In each of the four communities, a series of mailings slammed home the message that Home Rule would be a bad move for property owners. The fight was a joint effort by Illinois REALTORS®, Real Property Alliance and local REALTOR® associations.

Home Rule ballot initiatives pose a number of threats for communities which have fewer than 25,000 residents.

If voters were to sanction the change, elected officials would have more say in taxation and the amount of debt a community could take on. Often, that power can directly translate into higher property taxes and even additional fees for property owners.

Illinois REALTORS® and its partners have worked closely to explain the pitfalls of Home Rule to communities considering Home Rule. The organizations have been involved in several communities where ballot initiatives have been torpedoed as a result of wary property owners voting to make sure they keep a say in tax policy.


Rockford REALTORS® put spotlight on housing issues

Illinois REALTORS® Local Government Affairs Director Conor Brown talks to the media during an announcement of a plan backed by Rockford Area REALTORS® to get people to invest in foreclosed properties through participation in a tax rebate program. Photo from Rockford Area REALTORS®

Mayoral candidates in Rockford faced off at a housing forum sponsored in part by the local REALTORS® association.

And a homeownership ordinance which seeks to put families in foreclosed houses which was backed by the Rockford Area REALTORS® has gained approval to run through the end of the year.

Housing forum draws 150 to hear candidates

The event at Memorial Hall on March 28 drew all four candidates for mayor who discussed issues ranging from property taxes to how the city should deal with blighted structures.

The Rockford Area REALTORS®, NW HomeStart, Jeremiah Development, Rockford Apartment Association and Zion Development were behind the forum, which drew about 150 people, according to the report in the Rockford Register-Star.

Candidates attending were Brian Leggero; Alderman Tom McNamara; and Ronnie Manns and Rudy Valdez.

Extended program seeks to address foreclosures in city

The Rockford Area REALTORS® have played a leadership role in making private property rights issues a focus in the election which will be April 4.

The association played a key part in a rebate program that provided benefits for those who bought and lived in single-family foreclosed properties. Now, that program has been extended.

According to the Rockford Register-Star newspaper, the Homebuyer’s Property Tax Refund program:

…provides a three-year property tax rebate to purchasers of qualifying homes. About 80 homes qualify for the program this year, ranging in price from $4,900 to $349,000. The city says the annual tax rebate for a house valued at $100,000 may total up to $3,200.

According to the Rockford Register-Star article, the program has generated more than $300,000 in rebates for 51 property owners.

Final paperwork clears way for start of Bicentennial Plaza project

A memorandum of understanding was signed on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, between Illinois REALTORS® and the city of Springfield for the REALTORS® Bicentennial Plaza project. From left to right are Springfield City Clerk Frank Lesko, Illinois REALTORS® CEO Gary Clayton and Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder. (Photo: Jon Broadbooks)

Springfield city officials and Illinois REALTORS® CEO Gary Clayton signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday which clears the way for construction of the REALTORS® Bicentennial Plaza.

The Springfield City Council approved $1 million in Tax Increment Financing funding for the project on March 21, and the memorandum signed Wednesday spells out the guidelines the city and the association will abide by as the property is developed and used.

On hand for the signing in addition to Clayton were Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder and Springfield Clerk Frank Lesko.

The plaza will be located on the north side of the Illinois REALTORS® headquarters on South Fifth Street on association-owned land. Once completed, the plaza is expected to become part of a revitalized area extending from the Lincoln Home National Historic Site to the state Capitol.

The signing took place at the association’s headquarters in a conference room overlooking the area to be redeveloped.