Rockton and Home Rule

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Kurt Sherard has lived in Rockton for 15 years and he says many in the community feel left in the dark in regards to the home rule issue.

"The village board took it upon themselves to put it on the ballot coming up in a couple of weeks. And I think the community needs to be informed as to what it's all about," says Sherard.

The village board voted to put the issue on the March ballot on December 6. Four voted in favor and 2 abstained.

"But putting it on the ballot is giving them the option--I can't believe anyone would think bad of a trustee that voted to put it on the ballot to let the residents make the decision," says Rockton Village President Dale Adams.

Adams says home rule would give Rockton local control of local issues.

"In a lot of cases, we have to go to Springfield and ask for their permission to adopt ordinances. With home rule, we can kind of do it in house," says Adams.

Adams says home rule wouldn't raise property taxes. In fact, Adams says the sales tax dollars generated by new commercial development would help lower property taxes. But Adams says home rule would be a back-up, if the village needed money for things such as roads and parks or if the projected sales tax dollars fell off.

"It's probably going to be more palatable to our residents to have a penny tax on a pack of cigarettes, or a quarter tax on a 6-pack of beer, rather than pay 200 or 300 dollars or more a year in property taxes," says Adams.

Adams says home rule will allow Rockton to remain competitive and be more creative with economic development plans, but at this point, Shenard says he just wants some answers..