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News Release: 1/19/2024

From the Mayor's Office:

What is Home Rule?

January 19

You may have seen the news that the question of whether the Village of Cary should become Home Rule will be on the General Primary election ballot on March 19, 2024. Knowing the election will be here before we know it, I wanted to take the time to discuss what Home Rule is.


It is ultimately up to our residents to decide about Home Rule. Please consider the facts when you are making your decision on March 19th.


Home Rule is a type of governance that gives municipalities greater flexibility to implement laws different from the State to meet local needs. Non-Home Rule communities are subject to all state legislation and mandates, including those that are unfunded. These unfunded mandates are regulations that the State of Illinois will require the Village to enforce but will provide no means to finance them. Home Rule communities may be more flexible in finding local solutions to local issues and are not as burdened by State-imposed mandates and regulations. Home Rule communities allow more decisions to be made by your local elected officials — your neighbors — and not by the State.


Why isn’t the Village of Cary already Home Rule?


Municipalities with populations over 25,000 are automatically granted Home Rule status. Municipalities with populations less than 25,000 have the opportunity to allow residents to elect by referendum to become a Home Rule unit of government.


You may question where does the 25,000 population threshold come from. This was a number chosen by the State legislature when the concept of “Home Rule” originally was developed. I am unaware of what makes a community of 25,000 more adept to handle local decisions than a community that is under 25,000. In fact, when residents look at the full range of services the Village of Cary provides, such as public safety, road infrastructure/maintenance, drinking water production, wastewater treatment, and more, the Village of Cary is no different than its larger neighbors. The Village of Cary currently is the only non-Home Rule community among the seven (7) largest municipalities in McHenry County.


The key difference that matters is Home Rule communities have more opportunity to create diverse revenue streams, which allows for less reliance on property taxes. New revenue generated from non-residents, such as a Home Rule sales tax or an amusement tax, could be dedicated to Village improvements, including roadway maintenance and infrastructure projects. Home Rule communities also have more flexibility and greater control to make decisions about their community rather than adhere to unfunded mandates that can put an unwarranted strain on a community’s finances.

With this information and understanding the Village’s commitment to continue to provide the best service to our residents, the real question is why shouldn’t the Village become Home Rule?


What is Home Rule? Printable Flyer (PDF)


Village of Cary Home Rule Referendum Web Page:

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