Mt. Vernon Register-News

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August 22, 2012

Chamber past presidents' council to educate public on home rule

MT. VERNON — The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Past Presidents’ Council is taking on the task of educating the public about Home Rule.

“It’s a sub-committee of the Past Presidents’ Council, who are undertaking an educational campaign,” Chamber Executive Director Brandon Bullard said. “They have invited community leaders and business people to join in their efforts.”

The educational effort is to inform voters of what Home Rule is so they can make a decision on a referendum question which will be on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot affecting Home Rule in the City of Mt. Vernon.

The petition to place the question on the ballot to revoke Home Rule in Mt. Vernon was filed on June 26. The ballot wording voters will see is: “Should the people of Mt. Vernon, IL return the power to raise local taxes only by a vote from the people approving said tax, stopping the City Council from raising taxes through their sole power of Home Rule without your vote? If so vote Yes to Revoke Home Rule powers from the City of Mt. Vernon, in the County of Jefferson, State of Illinois, 62864.”

“The committee believes this is a very important vote,” Bullard said. “The goal is to get as much information to the public as possible on the ramifications if Home Rule were repealed. We want to let people know there are many things that have happened because of Home Rule that wouldn’t have happened in our city. The main thing is we want voters to make an informed decision.”

In addition, Bullard said voters need to know a “yes” vote is to revoke the powers, while a “no” vote is to maintain Home Rule.

“It can be tricky,” Bullard said. “Plus, Home Rule authority is about much more than just taxes.”

The sub-committee met Tuesday morning for its first planning session and will meet again next week to discuss how to get the word out to the public.

“We expect to speak at public functions and to have some public meetings,” Bullard said. “The details are being worked out at this time.”

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