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.


April is Fair Housing Month

The Fair Housing Act marks 49 years in 2017 and April is Fair Housing Month. To commemorate the event and the ongoing commitment of REALTORS® to uphold fair housing law and offer equal professional service, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has created this 2017 Fair Housing poster. Find the poster and other fair housing resources from NAR and additional resources from Illinois REALTORS®.


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.

House committee hearing news dominates Illinois State Capitol Report

The Illinois REALTORS® lobbying team raced from one House committee hearing to another during the week to monitor discussion of numerous bills that would affect REALTORS®, property owners and consumers. In today’s Illinois State Capitol Report, 13 bills were cited because they advanced out of committee or are still under consideration.

Topics include: recording fees, county storm water management, river edge redevelopment zones, property tax relief, non-home rule sales tax increase, streamlining local government, local government protection authority, battery powered smoke detectors, expansion of professional licensing, evictions and eminent domain.


Remember to vote daily for Illinois’ Melanie Stone

REALTOR® Melanie Stone

REALTOR® Melanie Stone of Coldwell Banker Residential Mortgage in Chicago can become one of REALTOR® Magazine’s 30 Under 30 class of 2017 if she gathers the most online votes this week.

You can help by casting daily votes for her as she competes with 50 other finalists for the Web Choice Award. REALTORS® can vote once every 24 hours for their favorite candidate through Friday, March 24. To vote, go to this page.

In addition to the Web Choice competition, 29 other winners will be chosen by judges. The announcement of all 30 Under 30 winners is scheduled for Monday, March 27.

For more information on Stone, go here.