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Collinsville Lays Out The Cost Of Losing Home Rule

By Stephanie Malench

During the 2020 Census, the population for Collinsville was certified by the state of Illinois as 24,366, down from 25,579 during the 2010 Census. Because other population dropped below 25,000, the city loses a privilege that communities of 25,000 or larger have called home rule.

Collinsville is required by the state since losing home rule via Census numbers to have a special referendum question on the November 8 ballot that reads “SHALL THE CITY OF COLLINSVILLE CEASE TO BE A HOME RULE UNIT?”

Home rule gives communities the right to local self-government. It was added to the Illinois Constitution in 1970. Collinsville has had home rule since 2005. Home rule allows communities to have bipartisan elections and run the community with the residents in mind, not Springfield.

Municipalities with home rule have more flexibility in such issues as zoning regulations, building codes, regulating businesses, and implementing taxes and fees.

One of the special taxes that Collinsville gets to implement is the Home Rule Tax of 1.25%. This tax is paid by everyone who purchases anything in Collinsville that is taxable. That tax alone brings in $5.5 million, making up 10% of the city’s general fund.

The projected home rule sales tax for 2022 is $5,513,461, or 10.6% of the general revenue fund.

Having the diversified tax base allows the city to continue offering necessary services without increasing property tax rates. Currently, Collinsville has the lowest property tax rate in the area at .7277% with only Fairview Heights being lower because they do not have a property tax.

Taxes that home rule communities are allowed to implement that Collinsville has chosen not to implement include an additional fuel tax, alcohol tax, and natural gas tax.

Losing the ability to charge a home rule tax would result in serious impacts to the budget and the continuation of services such as police, fire, and public works. Currently, the city is able to use water and sewer employees in other departments, such as the street department, and charge the motor fuel tax fund for reimbursement from the general fund. Because the water and sewer departments are funded by enterprise funds, they will no longer be able to use these employees on combined projects.

Economic development in areas such as the sports complex and Gateway Center expansions will also take a hit.

Because of Collinsville’s location on the interstate and home to several tourist attractions, the majority of taxes brought into the city are from tourists who stay in local hotels (hotel/motel tax) and visit restaurants (food and beverage tax). Without home rule, the city would be capped on how much money it could collect from the hotel/motel tax. Currently the tax rate is set at 9% and would be capped at 6%.

Additionally, the loss of residents according to the Census will cost the city in per capita money from such programs as the Motor Fuel Tax, Park Enhancement Program funds, state, and Federal grants.

City Manager Mitch Bair said that the city is planning on appealing the Census numbers, stating that Unit 10’s enrollment numbers are at the highest ever, building permits outweighed demolition permits over the last 10 years, and people who want to move into Collinsville cannot find available apartments.

This challenge will take up to two years.


  1. Anonymous on October 20, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    the figures say different. Our taxes are some of the lowest around. go to G.C. and see high taxes.A lot of what we have is paid for by out of state visitors.

  2. Anonymous on October 18, 2022 at 7:58 am

    It seems to me that Home Rule just gives local government to levy taxes as they see fit. During the time of home rule from 2005 to now ask yourself has my property taxes went up? The answer for me is yes. That money goes to school, police, and fire. These home rule taxes go in a general fund most likely. To say that 60% of those taxes are paid by out of town visitors I dont think so. Sales tax is paid by the residence who live here shop here. Retail is the majority of tax revenue. Occupancy fees are paid for by residence plain and simple. We need different city leadership and get rid of home rule and all these extra hidden taxes.

  3. Anonymous on October 17, 2022 at 2:34 pm

    The new occupancy permit I beleive was brought on by Home rule. 50.00 inspection to sell your house that gets i spected for the sale. Rent an appartment the owner has to get an inspection 50.00. Money grab.
    Home rule could also impose gas tax, you could be required to get a city vehicle sticker like Belleville. When population slides politicians look for ways to raise money for services, but in reality in goes in the general fund and then not to services. Illinois is messed up because of one party rule vote smart this november.

  4. Anonymous on October 12, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    I believe approximately 60% of the Home Rule Sales Tax is collected from non-residents shopping in Collinsville, or using our Hotels and restaurants. These taxes from non-residents amount to millions in the City Budget, and benefit Collinsville. If we do away with Home Rule, the City Council will have two choices raise our Real Estate Taxes or cut back on services. I want to keep our city services especially fire, police and the street department. EMTs saved my wife’s life this year. I also do not want my real estate taxes to increase. So vote “NO” to keep Home Rule. We have the best of both worlds now, one of the lowest real estate taxes (only beat by Fairview Hgts), and visitors are funding our City to the tune of millions. This is the advantage of being on the Interstate and having the development on Rt. 157. Don’t throw it away. Vote “NO” to keep Home Rule and keep out Real Estate Taxes lower than neighboring cities.

  5. Anonymous on October 7, 2022 at 5:18 pm

    Say YES to Home Rule and NO to Springfield. Whatever else there is to complain about, the State of Illinois should not be minding Collinsville business. They are totally incompetent.

  6. Anonymous on October 6, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    I just received 2 publications from the Gateway Assoc of realtors and am not sure what this flyer says. It is vague and indicates that yard sign permits, window boarding permits, and fence material permits are a bad thing? If you want to keep property values up, then unfortunately some people must be encouraged to not do things like board up windows…the reference to the saggy pants ordinance is such old news, the woman in support of that is no longer on the Coll city council. I would like to see the budget that shows a $58 million debt by Collinsville…hmmm. I like the improvements to the parks, streets, library, the museum, and many more things a “normal and healthy community” has. I think Home rule is a good thing. It has been here since 2005, haven’t heard much about it before now. As for the census, I am sure many people did not participate since that was the current “cool thing to be ornery about” at the time.

  7. Anonymous on October 6, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    I’ve read all the posted comments. I’m not sure if we as residents of Collinsville would like to have Springfield getting in our business down here. If you don’t like the makeup of the city council, there is one thing you can do……vote them out !!!. It may just come down to the lesser of two evils. Also I thought the issue of Mitch Bair’s residency was settled a few years back. Would I be wrong about that?? B. Owen

  8. Anonymous on October 2, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    Since Home Rule we haven’t seen any taxes for we taxpayers decrease—only increase! I’ll vote YES agree we have highest paid city manager so of Springfield. Don’t trust these guys explanation—my pocketbook and high taxes say it all —-we pay the Lions share and are highest tax rate around!! Ridiculous.

    • Anonymous on October 20, 2022 at 1:42 pm

      the figures say different. Our taxes are some of the lowest around. go to G.C. and see high taxes.A lot of what we have is paid for by out of state visitors.

  9. Anonymous on October 1, 2022 at 2:22 pm

    I have a few questions if someone can help answer them I would greatly appreciate it.
    If there is no Home Rule,
    1. Does this mean smaller government in the city?
    2. Does this mean the municipal court isdissolved?
    3. Does it really affect Police and Fire?

  10. Anonymous on September 21, 2022 at 10:21 am

    I am curious where these tax figures came from. Can anyone provide some insight?

  11. Anonymous on June 15, 2022 at 8:25 am

    Reduce sales tax 1 percent! Reduce food and beverage tax 1 percent. Get rid of home rule and city manager that does not live in Collinsville. Highest paid city manager south of Springfield.

  12. Anonymous on March 16, 2022 at 1:34 pm

    Just a bit more info on “Home rule” not sure I see this as a good thing lol

    Flexibility and authority

    A plastic bag fee failed in Glen Carbon in April because the community did not have home rule status. It didn’t have the legal authority to create a new tax.

    With home rule, cities get greater flexibility over finances because they can levy new taxes. They can also exercise power over building, zoning, sanitation, civil disturbance and many other aspects of local governance, according to documents from the Illinois Municipal League.

  13. Anonymous on March 10, 2022 at 5:56 pm

    So we heard the Pro’s what’s the Con’s

  14. Anonymous on March 8, 2022 at 10:13 am

    Would Bair have to contest the results of the Census if the special referendum passes, and the voters choose the Home Rule?

    • Editor on March 8, 2022 at 10:42 am

      I believe so because motor fuel tax and other per capita funding sources mentioned in the article.

    • Anonymous on June 15, 2022 at 8:14 am

      Bunk,majority of taxes are paid by tourist,absolutely false. Why not raise the alcohol tax? Quit supporting all the saloons!

      • Anonymous on October 19, 2022 at 7:07 am

        That should be a choice made by consumers, not the city government.

      • Anonymous on October 19, 2022 at 7:09 am

        That should be up to the individual, not the city.

  15. Anonymous on March 7, 2022 at 9:51 pm

    Gee… Are you just parroting the city’s information or did you do some independent research on this? Certainly does not sound like it!

    • Editor on March 8, 2022 at 8:18 am

      I interviewed the city manager Mitch Bair, and read about the history of home rule. Stephanie Malench, Editor

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