SHOREWOOD – Village trustees officially adopted home rule status for Shorewood and a resolution honoring a longtime 22-year-old employee Tuesday.
Home rule status is effective immediately and allows the village to impose new taxes along with giving it more authority to conduct other business.
However, a resolution passed in March indicates the board won’t use it to impose a real estate transfer or similar tax, to avoid the property tax cap or to institute programs requiring inspections before the sale of property.
Because the village hasn’t reached a population of 25,000, it needed to ask residents for permission through a referendum. In the April 7 election, that referendum passed with 1,401 residents voting “yes” and 1,168 voting “no.”
The village plans to replace its 1 percent nonhome rule sales tax with a 1.75 percent home rule sales tax to help pay for pipeline extensions to switch its water supply to Lake Michigan. This would increase the total sales tax in the village from 8 percent to 8.75 percent.
“The tax won’t go into place until January 2016,” Shorewood mayor Rick Chapman said.
Six months ago, Chapman was made aware of preliminary 2014 reports by the Illinois State Water Survey showing the aquifer underneath the village was depleting much faster than anticipated.
Officials found securing Lake Michigan water by extending existing pipelines would be the best alternative.
To do that, the village would need additional revenue. To minimize the impact on local residents, a sales tax increase was proposed.
Chapman said village engineers are starting to go into phase one of the pipeline project, and officials are meeting with other municipalities that use Lake Michigan water.
Trustees also honored eight years of service from Conlan Fay, who grew up in the village and started volunteering in the village’s audio-visual department since he was 14.
Fay has accepted a position at ABC-7 Chicago and is leaving his chief engineer position with the village.
“It’s not a pain for me to honor this young man. It’s a pain to me he’s leaving us,” Chapman said.
Fay graduated from Columbia College this semester and has worked part-time with the college, ABC 7, WCIU and ESPN.
Fay was interested in audio-visual equipment since he was a kid. He developed an interest on a school trip to the old village hall and became part-time employee in the village’s TV department in 2008.
Since then, he was promoted to SCCTV Channel 6 station director. He helped upgrade the village’s system and equipment.
“All the help and support from you guys has helped me along the way, and to develop my professional attitude” Fay told trustees and the staff, thanking them for the opportunity to serve the village.