Home Rule

What is “home rule” and what does it have to do with Batavia? Why should we put it to referendum? (Click “Get Petition” button at right to help!)

Ballot question:  Shall the City of Batavia cease to be a home rule unit?

Right now, Batavia is a “home rule” community by virtue of having at least 25,000 residents.  Home rule gives the City nearly unlimited power to tax, regulate, and incur debt. Home rule can be removed by referendum.

Home rule takes away state-imposed tax caps, allowing the City to raise property taxes without limit and without asking citizens via referendum.

It allows the City to create almost as many new taxes as it can imagine: sales tax, gasoline tax, liquor tax, soda tax, hotel tax, service tax, transfer tax, use tax, etc. It allows for the creation of a Stormwater Utility (“Rain Tax”) that would charge residents (including tax-exempt properties like churches and schools) fees based on impermeable surface area (buildings, driveways, parking lots, etc.). (A Stormwater Utility has resurfaced for discussion repeatedly since 2014.)

It gives the City power to regulate things like inspections (and accompanying fees) on apartment buildings, even small, converted homes, and can prevent the sale of “as-is” properties.

Home rule takes away the citizens’ power to put major bonding issues to referendum  (like the $16 million in General Obligation bonds the City plans to issue for a massive 6-story, 194-unit Shodeen apartment complex it plans to build downtown at Wilson and Washington/Rt 25). With home rule, the City Council can borrow and spend at will (anything short of 40 yr bonds), and the citizens CANNOT put the issue to referendum to stop it.

The City will argue home rule is beneficial in that it gives them more flexibility and autonomy in finance and government.

Others of us argue that it gives local government too much power without citizen oversight or recourse.

Let’s put it to referendum to have the discussion, and ultimately let the people decide whether or not Batavia should be a home rule unit.

Would you please help get a referendum on the November 6 ballot? We need 1200 signatures by August 5.

Click here: Home Rule referendum 2018 for a petition sheet that you can print out. Instructions are included.

It would be great if everyone who reads this could fill just one sheet with 15 signatures. But if all you can manage is one (your own), that will be 1 more toward the 1200.  If you can do more and talk to your neighbors, go door to door, or stand outside the library, that would be fantastic.

Petitions need to be received by August 5th.

Please take the time to help. This needs to be a widespread effort to succeed, with everyone doing their part. 1200 signatures is too much for 1 or 2 people to do. We need you. Please, if you can, return at least 1 sheet of 15 signatures. That would go a long way.

Thank you.

Here are some links for more information on home rule:




http://www.taxpayersunitedofamerica.org/home-rule  There are multiple articles on this site if you type “home rule” into their Search box.


And we have a “Common Questions” page here