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Home-rule vote heats up in Merrionette Park

Updated: April 14, 2014 11:14AM



One of several referendums on the ballot for Merrionette Park could change the way its government operates.

Voters in the village of 1,905 residents on Tuesday will choose whether Merrionette Park should become a home-rule community.

Officials want the home-rule powers, if the referendum passes, to give the village more leeway to negotiate on sales tax and revenue sharing to draw more businesses to the community.

Home-rule communities are able to purchase bonds and increase taxes without going to voters for approval.

“This is about economic development and protecting the integrity of the community,” Merrionette Park spokesman Tom Mannix said.

The additional powers will help Merrionette Park better compete with other villages in the south suburbs, Mannix said.

Home rule also would allow the village to implement a crime-free housing ordinance, which gives the police “more teeth” to go after landlords renting to criminals, Mannix said.

The Illinois Association of Realtors is campaigning against Merrionette Park’s effort to adopt home rule. Spokesman Jon Broadbooks said his association is concerned when any village opts for home rule as it takes some of the power of taxation out of the hands of taxpayers.

Non-home-rule communities normally need to go to referendum when asking for tax increases or bonds.

Merrionette Park has passed ordinances preventing the village from raising the property tax and imposing any property transfer taxes, Mannix said.

Other referendums on the ballot include one asking voters to let the village issue $400,000 in bonds to replace outdated 911 software, and a second requesting $850,000 in bonds to buy a fire ladder truck.

Merrionette Park’s current 911 software has difficultly routing cellphone calls to the correct place, Mannix said. The truck purchase is intended to replace an older truck.



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