Other Home Rule Communities

  • Bannockburn
  • Buffalo Grove
  • Deerfield
  • Evanston
  • Glenview
  • Gurnee
  • Highland Park
  • Highwood
  • Lake Bluff
  • Lake Forest
  • Lincolnshire
  • Lincolnwood
  • Mundelein
  • Northbrook
  • Skokie
  • Waukegan
  • Wilmette
  • Winnetka

Home Rule Facts and Research

  1. On average, Home Rule communities derive a smaller proportion of their revenue from property taxes than do communities without Home Rule.
  2. There is no evidence supporting the contention that Home Rule communities increase property taxes at a faster rate than non-Home Rule communities.
  3. The opposite appears to be true. Non-Home Rule communities have increased property taxes at a faster rate than Home Rule communities.

(The above statements are based on research conclusions of Dr. James M. Banovetz - Emeritus Professor and Senior Fellow at the Center on Government Studies at Northern Illinois University.)

Home Rule Referendum

General Information | Financial Information | Capital Improvement Information

General Information

What is Home Rule?

Established by adoption of the 1970 Illinois Constitution, Home Rule shifts greater responsibility for local government decision making from the state level to the local level.  Municipalities with a population of more than 25,000 are automatically Home Rule units, while those with less than 25,000 residents require approval of a referendum in order   to achieve Home Rule status.

How does a Community become Home Rule?

Municipalities with populations over 25,000 are automatically granted Home Rule status, while smaller communities can put the question on   a ballot and let the voters decide.  The majority (over 80%) of  Illinois’ 12.9 million citizens live in Home Rule communities.  Among Illinois communities having Home Rule, most have attained Home Rule status by voter approval through referendum. 

Why is Kenilworth Considering Home Rule?

A desire to decrease dependence on property taxes and significantly invest in deteriorating infrastructure are the key reasons Kenilworth is considering Home Rule.  Many residents are surprised to learn that the Village receives only 10% of the total property tax bill.  If approved by the Home Rule will provide Kenilworth increased financial flexibility, greater protection from State mandates, and greater ability to solve problems at a local level.

 How does Home Rule Increase Financial Flexibility?

There are two main ways:

  1. reduced dependence on property taxes by making new revenue      sources available with the goal of shifting the tax burden to non-residents, and
  2. the ability to increase the Village's bonding authority to take advantage of the low interest rates currently available, allowing for significant savings by making possible multi-year contracts with other nearby communities, increasing economies of scale.

Home Rule Primer Sheet

Basic concepts about Home Rule, specific authorities granted to Home Rule communities, and other general information can be found on the following Home Rule primer.

Home Rule Primer

Summary and Facts of What We Know About Home Rule

The Village President provides a clarification of some key issues related to Home Rule in the November Village President's Message.

November Village Presidents Message

Village Trustees Unanimously Approve Home Rule Question for November Ballot: Residents to Decide if Home Rule is Appropriate for Kenilworth

In the September Village President's Message, President Steingraber provides a detailed explanation of the positive and negative implications of Kenilworth Home Rule.

Read his message below to learn how Home Rule could impact community independence, financial flexibility, and state mandates.

September Village President's Message

Evaluation of Home Rule for Village of Kenilworth

Presented by the Home Rule Study Group to understand the Home Rule system of government and evaluate its application to the Village.  This presentation examines how specific Home Rule applications are used, common misperceptions about Home Rule, and legal safeguards that prevent Home Rule communities from abusing authority.  This presentation ends with specific recommendations of how Home Rule would impact Kenilworth.

Home Rule Study Group Presentation

Illinois Municipal League Chapter    

Frequently asked questions about Home Rule and explanations about the increased authority provided by Home Rule, as well as the limitations the State maintains against Home Rule units.

Home Rule Basics and Other Issues

Northern Illinois University Center for Governmental Studies 

A national study examining the arguments for and against home rule and providing empirical evidence that communities with home rule have better bond ratings.  Also concludes that home rule does not lead to higher per capita tax revenues or government spending.

Do Home Rule Governments Work Better? A New and Different Perspective

Illinois Municipal Review      

Provides voter attitudes towards home rule and a compilation of referenda and retention elections.                                                           

Home Rule Cities and the Voters

Illinois City Manager Newsletter

A look at innovative applications of Home Rule powers, such as the creation of a storm-water utility district and various sales taxes.

 What's New With Home Rule?


Financial Information

Estimated Property Tax Impact and Financing Strategies for the Kenilworth 2023 Infrastructure Program

The October Village President's Message explains the projected tax impacts for funding the Kenilworth ten year Capital Improvement Program based on residential properties of various values, and shows expected property tax savings if the Home Rule referendum passes.

October Village President's Message

Strategic Assumptions for Home Rule Debt Issuance

The financing strategies outlined in the October Village President's Message (see above) was an in-depth analysis of funding the Kenilworth 2023 Infrastructure Program.  To better understand how the calculations were made and how funding is estimated, please view the strategy assumptions.

Kenilworth 2023 Financing Strategy Assumptions

The Journal of Regional Analysis & Policy      

A study of Illinois home rule municipalities and their use of tax powers over 30 years.  Study concludes that local officials can be trusted not to abuse or significantly increase taxes without public support

Illinois Home Rule: A Case Study in Fiscal Responsibility

Northern Illinois University Center for Governmental Studies

A survey of 83 Illinois Home Rule communities that examines ways in which they use their Home Rule powers.  Survey concludes Home Rule communities reduce reliance on property taxes and that little voter opposition was reported in Home Rule cities.

The Uses of Home Rule with Special Emphasis on Taxation

Illinois Municipal Review

A study of 134 Home Rule and 104 non-Home Rule communities that concluded Home Rule does not support the claim that property taxes increase faster under Home Rule.

Do Home Rule Communities Levy More Property Taxes?


Capital Improvement Information

The project details provided below give a breakdown of cost estimates for needed infrastructure improvements.  These amounts were provided by a professional engineering analysis and include the projected rate of inflation for the next ten years.

Kenilworth 2023 Infrastructure Program - Project Details