Home rule information posted on village website

Ann Gill

     On April 4 voters in the Village of Coal City will be asked a simple question, however the measure is far from easy to understand.
    The Coal City Village Board announced in November 2016 that it would place a question on the April ballot  seeking voter approval to become a home rule unit of government.
    Home rule is granted by the Illinois Constitution and is automatic for towns with populations over 25,000. Municipalities under the population threshold can be granted home rule authority by a majority vote of its residents. There are currently over 220 home rule communities within the state including nearby Channahon, Elwood, Manhattan and Shorewood.
    Home rule communities are granted a broad range of powers, including the authority to implement local taxes and avert some of the requirements and unfunded mandates handed down by Springfield.
    In order to provide village voters with information regarding home rule, the village of Coal City has placed an information section on its website at www.coalcity-il.gov.
    The page starts with a who, what, when, where and how about home rule.
    Village Administrator Matt Fritz reported the site also includes information gathered from various sources, policy documents and a question and answer report posted by the Illinois Municipal League.
    Additionally, the site includes media reports including the village’s case for home rule and if approved  how it would utilize the powers granted. There is also a video interview based on a report by the Better Government Association.
    In its effort to further provide residents with information regarding the measure, the village is planning to include a flyer with the municipal utility bills that are set to be mailed out on March 31.
    Residents with additional questions are welcome to address the village board at the next meeting set for Tuesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. in the village hall.