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Population loss threatens home rule powers

Friday, May 25, 2018

* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s former news service

Some Illinois towns could lose broad home rule taxing authority as the state’s population continues to decline, a possibility that could ease local taxes and further squeeze municipal budgets.

U.S. Census numbers released Thursday show the population of Freeport, Collinsville and Harvey fell below 25,000. That’s the threshold for automatic home-rule status.

In 2010, Freeport had 25,638 residents. Now, it has an estimated 24,091 people. The city of Collinsville became home-rule by special census in 2005. Its population has declined to 24,703, according to new Census estimates. Harvey had 25,282 residents in its borders in 2010. Now, there are 24,908.

Home rule authority gives local elected officials expanded powers for self-government, including the ability to raise certain taxes and issue debt without voter approval. […]

Unless those cities persuade more people to move in by 2020, they’ll have to place a question on the ballot in November 2022 asking voters if they want to retain home rule status. […]

Taxes and fees levied by the city under home-rule authority would be rolled back en-masse as soon as the referendum saying so is certified, Diamond said. The exception would be taxes levied to pay bonds, like those referenced in a recent court decision on Harvey’s debt. […]

Six cities, including these three, are within 1,000 people of falling below the home-rule threshold. One notable population slide toward the threshold is Kankakee, which has lost more than 1,300 people since 2010 and is now at 26,216 residents.

Keep in mind that these population figures are estimates. The decennial Census will conduct a full count

Mitch Blair, the city manager for Collinsville, disagreed with the Census Bureau’s estimates, which had his town dropping below 25,000 residents.

Blair said city officials looked at the building and demolition permits for multifamily and single-family homes since 2010 and came up with its own estimate of about 25,800 people living in town.

* Related…

* Census: Peoria losing residents quickest among large Illinois cities: The agency estimated the city’s population at 112,883 people as of July 1, 2017, a decline of 1.3 percent from 2016 and a 1.9 percent decrease from the last full census in April 2010. From 2010 to 2016, the Census Bureau estimated Peoria’s population decline at 0.7 percent, indicating that the rate at which people are leaving the city also increased last year.

* Chicago’s population drops 3rd year in a row, US Census Bureau says: While downtown may be gaining, Chicago is losing residents overall. The decline is getting attention as it’s the third straight year of decline. … “The decline in the city of Chicago is largely happening among African Americans and among African American communities, those communities on the South and West Sides, that’s generally what the city of Chicago is seeing in terms of loss. Every other community type is growing and every other demographic is growing,” Loury said.

* In a shrinking state, half of Illinois’ largest cities have shed population since 2010: Nearly 80 percent of Illinois’ most populous cities saw population decline from July 2016 to July 2017, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau released May 24. Of the state’s top 50 cities, 39 saw a shrinking population over the year, while 25 have seen their populations shrink compared with 2010.

* Here’s How Illinois’ Population Changed Between 2016 And 2017: Cook County had the largest population decrease, with more than 20,000 residents leaving. … McHenry County saw the largest population increase, with 1,150 new residents.Illinois’ housing stock grew to 5,359,557 housing units between 2016 and 2016, adding 14,327 units. The state’s growth rate for housing units was 0.3 percent, which was below the nation’s growth rate of 0.8 percent.

* Chicago’s population down third year in a row — but we’re still ahead of Houston

* Census estimates: Naperville now Illinois’ fourth-largest city: As of July 1, 2017, Naperville’s population was estimated at 147,682 — 631 more than Rockford’s new estimate of 147,051.

* Local leaders respond to decline in Rockford population: But the Rockford community has some serious issues to overcome, from its high violent crime rate, to some of the highest property tax rates in the country.

* New census numbers show which Southern Illinois communities are shrinking: Belleville has seen a 6 percent drop since the 2010 official head count. Granite City saw a 4 percent drop. Alton, East St. Louis, Freeburg and Cahokia also saw population drops, according to census estimates. Edwardsville, Columbia, Waterloo, O’Fallon and Shiloh, however, all saw population growth.

* Springfield loses population again, holds onto No. 6 spot in Illinois: It was the fifth straight year Springfield lost population, according to the Census. The city’s high-water mark for population during the decade was in 2012, when the July 1 estimate was 117,352.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Friday, May 25, 18 @ 12:09 pm:

    I expect Harvey to announce a new homeless shelter with 93 beds opening soon.

  2. - DuPage - Friday, May 25, 18 @ 12:22 pm:

    Some of the population “loss” is due to people that live and work here, but are afraid to counted.

  3. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, May 25, 18 @ 12:23 pm:

    The American Community Surveys (mini censuses) have very high margin of errors.

    I guess we really won’t know what’s what til 2020 numbers from the real census are crunched.

  4. - DuPage Saint - Friday, May 25, 18 @ 12:24 pm:

    The Congressional redistricting and the Aldermanic redistricting in Chicago is going to be entertaining.

  5. - kitty - Friday, May 25, 18 @ 12:43 pm:

    Ending home rule authority will likely result in reductions in services in many cities and calls to change Illinois law to permit municipal bankruptcy, something the IPI and INN writers would like to see. Conversely, it could result in calls to amend the IL Constitution to permit a more progressive method of taxation and perhaps some of the revenue enhancements that the late Dawn Clark Netsch suggested. As for the 2017 population estimates, Champaign-Urbana’s growth at more than 1100 per year since 2010 is impressive, despite the damage Rauner has inflicted upon UIUC. Bloomington-Normal also continues to grow despite the loss of Mitsubishi. Both of the “twin-cities” are desirable places to live and work.

  6. - Nearly Normal - Friday, May 25, 18 @ 1:10 pm:

    Not surprised about the loss of population in Peoria. A lot of the new home construction is in the areas surrounding Peoria. A favorite store of mine in Peoria told me at Christmas that it would close when the lease expired this spring in the Metro Center. He lost a lot of business for Christmas when Caterpillar moved its corporate headquarters to the Chicago area. A lot of his business was in gift baskets at holiday time. Now, he has more business at his Lincoln store due to all the publicity about Route 66. He purchased more space in Lincoln and will move merchandise and shelving from Peoria to Lincoln.

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