Will Home Rule Be Coming To DuPage?

Will DuPage County be seeking Home Rule? While Home Rule has many advantages it also has many disadvantages. Non-Home Rule counties in Illinois are limited by state statute and the state constitution in their ability to tax and regulate. The advantages to Home Rule is that it allows flexibility on local issues and more freedom in enforcing and passing ordinances. The disadvantages are that it gives options for incurring debt and imposing new and higher taxes. 

My concerns is that the reason the county may be looking for Home Rule status is for the sole purpose of raising taxes. Last year DuPage County cut 10% from the DuPage Care Center, the Human Services Grant Fund and Stormwater Management budgets. DuPage County has not raised the property tax levy since 2010.  In hindsight, DuPage County’s heavy reliance on sales tax and refusal to increase the property tax may come full circle.

While the other Collar Counties which include Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will, rely on property tax as their major source of revenue, DuPage County’s largest source of revenue is sales tax.  Currently, 56.8 percent of DuPage County’s revenue source is sales tax, which includes the RTA sales tax that can only be utilized for transportation and/or public safety.  It might sound like a good idea to use sales tax as the largest portion of revenues but it is also very dangerous. In September of 2016, Moody’s downgraded DuPage County’s AAA rating. Crain’s  Chicago Business reporter Greg Hinz reported the following “The downgrade reflects Fitch’s concern (about) the county’s limited revenue flexibility and slow revenue growth prospects,” the New York firm wrote. “(Fitch’s) revised criteria placed increased focus on Fitch’s expectations for the natural pace of revenue growth without revenue-raising measures and the ability of an entity to independently increase revenue.” In general, Fitch said it expects revenue from existing taxes to grow “slightly below historical trends” and generally only in line with national inflation. “While sales tax revenue has growth between 4 percent and 5 percent annually over the past several years, it has slowed to only 1 percent growth in fiscal 2016, leading the county to change its growth assumptions going forward to only 2 percent growth.”

I will be open to all conversations about Home Rule if and when they arise. I will be open to all conversations regarding revenues.  If the county board decides that Home Rule is the best option I will ask the county to bring it before the citizens via a county-wide referendum. 

You can read more about the Moody’s Downgrade here.

You can read more about Home Rulhere.

DuPage County Board Meeting Recap from January 15, 2019

“It’s not fair to whoever the county clerk is to say, ‘Fix it in one month and get a whole new system up and running,'” said Hinds, who spent 18 years working for the clerk’s office before being elected in 2014.

He said it’s “probably better” to hold off on the transition until after the spring election.

Hinds and Kaczmarek both say DuPage’s structure for running elections has been in place for decades, so waiting a few extra months isn’t going to make much of a difference.” September 25, 2018, The Daily Herald

Ignoring the recommendations of Paul Hinds and Jean Kaczmarek, members of the public and staff the Republicans on the DuPage County Board voted to merge the election commission with the clerk’s office immediately instead of after the municipal elections. Today’s vote makes things more difficult for Clerk Kaczmarek but I have complete confidence in Clerk Kaczmarek’s ability to make sure the job is done right.

For years 14 years Jean has made good recommendations of how to improve elections in DuPage, applied to be on the Election Commission board and tried to remove politics from the electoral process.  It was clear that this was a retaliation vote made by the Republican members based on Jean’s years of activism. Yesterday the Republican board members put partisan politics ahead of good governance.

Members of the Public at the DuPage County Board Meeting

Clerk Kaczmarek During the meeting of the DuPage County Board

Members of the board debating the Election Commission merger

Members of the board debating the Election Commission merger


On the bright side, there will be another chance for the board to work in a bi-partisan manner. Chairman Cronin announced yesterday that he will be bringing forward a Responsible Bidder Ordinance. The Responsible Bidder Ordinance allows a public body’s procurement codes to specify certain criteria that a contractor must meet in order to be eligible to perform work. The resolution could include proper business registrations, show past compliance with environmental, labor and safety laws, relevant insurance coverage, prevailing wage compliance and training such as apprenticeship programs. In the long run, the Responsible Bidder Ordinance saves the taxpayer money by providing good quality construction.


Chairman Cronin presiding over DuPage County Board meeting


Last Saturday the members of the DuPage County Board had the opportunity to meet U.S. Representative Sean Casten to discuss the Federal government shutdown. Also present at the meeting were local, county and state government human-service providers.

We heard about the devastating effects the government shutdown is having on organizations such as the YWCA, food assistance providers, traffic controllers, health service providers, domestic violence centers and immigration assistance groups to name a few. There is no one at the IRS to answer tax questions.

There are federal government employees that live in DuPage County that have missed their first paycheck.

Local government provides many services to the most vulnerable in our county. The shutdown is causing unnecessary stress and concern to this population.

The DuPage County Board represents just shy of one million people. We are larger than some states. During yesterdays county board meeting I asked Chairman Cronin to issue a statement or letter on behalf of our residents that would strongly encourage our representatives in Washington D.C. to seek an immediate end to the government shutdown.


U.S. Representative Sean Casten with members of the DuPage County Board


You can read the Daily Herald Coverage here.

You can watch the video here.


Daily Herald Endorses Elizabeth (Liz) Chaplin

I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Daily Herald. I am pleased the Daily Herald understands the importance of asking tough questions, engaging in honest debate and the willingness to challenge the board’s status quo.




Endorsements: Chaplin in DuPage County Board Dist. 2

Chaplin, who works part-time, faces an uphill battle on a GOP-dominated board, but we like her willingness to ask tough questions and stand up for her beliefs. She says the county may have made all the budget cuts it can and eventually may need to consider other revenue sources. Much of her focus is on social issues, including the county’s battle against heroin and the need for senior services.

Chaplin has demonstrated a willingness to engage in honest debate and to challenge the board’s status quo. In a close call, Chaplin is endorsed.

You can read the full endorsement here.



Sunshine in Kane County – Overcast in DuPage

Yesterday the Chicago Tribune  reported the following:

By: Richard Wronski | Tribune Reporter | 

Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, who publicly solicited applications from interested residents, released his “short list” Friday of 11 candidates for a Metra board position and also for the county’s vacant post on the Regional Transportation Authority.
More than 40 people had applied for both spots, he said.
The 11 are being reviewed by a four-member, bipartisan panel of county board members, who will review applications and cut the pool to three or four finalists.
On Monday, Lauzen is expected to select one Metra appointee and one RTA appointee, and put the names before the county board at its meeting Tuesday.
“We are making progress on a tight schedule,” Lauzen said Friday.
The eleven being considered  for the RTA/METRA appointments are: Manuel Barbosa; Donald DeWitte; Carl Dinwiddie; Edward Evert; Mary Fleischmann; Joseph Galvan; Glen Holland; Bonnie Kunkel; D.J. Tegeler; Bernard Thomas; and Jake Wyatt.
You can read the full story here.
The Chicago Tribune also reported:
Another DuPage County resident stepped forward today, complaining that he asked last month to be considered for an appointment to Metra’s board but never heard back from County Chairman Dan Cronin, who plans to name a fellow politician to the post.
Lombard resident Mike Corso said that as a 27-year Metra rider, he was interested in applying for DuPage’s vacant seat on Metra’s board because he was concerned about the quality and cost of service.
Corso, 48, who serves as a volunteer on Lombard’s transportation and safety committee, obtained a letter of recommendation from Lombard’s village president, and offered to forgo the $15,000 salary for Metra board members.
Corso sent Cronin his letter Aug. 5, and Village President Keith Giagnorio sent his letter of recommendation on Aug. 8, saying he had no doubt that Corso “would serve with utmost professionalism and commitment.” But Corso said he got no response.Approximately 30 people submitted applications for the Metra appointment, and “several” were interviewed, Pardonnet said.
Anyone who applied but who did not get a response from Cronin should not feel slighted, she said.
“There is no guarantee of a callback,” she said.
She compared the process to being interviewed for a job but not finding out the result until the final decision was made.
You can read the full story here.