Category Archives: Illinois Municipal Law

Illinois Municipal Law With Selected Commentary

There is a body of law in Illinois called “Municipal Law”. This law creates, defines, and empowers local governments. The authority for a municipality to exercise “Home Rule” powers originated with the 1970 Illinois Constitution. An explanation of Illinois Municipal Law can be found on this page. The page is somewhat large so allow ample time for it to load.

Some excerpts –

B. [1.2] General Concepts and Definitions

A “municipal corporation” has been defined as a public corporation created by government for political purposes and having subordinate and local powers of legislation. People ex rel. Mortell v. Bergman, 253 Ill. 469, 97 N.E. 695 (1912); BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY, p. 1042 (8th ed. 2004). As they exist today, these public corporations can be compared with private corporations. Just as private corporations have a charter under which they are organized, so, too, municipalities have a “charter” in the sense that they are organized under the general law as it exists in the Illinois Municipal Code (Code), 65 ILCS 5/1-1-1, et seq. Just as shareholders control the operations of a private corporation by ratifying a charter and electing a board of directors, the citizens comprising the electorate control the workings of the public corporation by opting to form either a city or a village under one of the forms provided in the Code and by electing officials (city council or village board), who in turn carry on the business (government) and affairs of the city or village by passing and adopting ordinances (akin to bylaws passed by the board of directors of a private corporation).

[My Commentary] So, if we look at it in these terms, we could say that Ford is a corporation (municipality) that is owned by the shareholders (Citizens/electors) who in turn elect the Officers, or Board (City Council, Mayor…) to perform the duties set forth in the Charter which were written to control the function of the “body” in achieving the ends of the shareholder/citizen. This body, in turn, passes ordinances (By-laws) that regulate the functions of that body in meeting the objectives of the shareholder/citizen. The shareholders believe that their dividends (benefits) are being wasted on providing health care coverage to workers (City employees) who smoke, and therefore want to make Ford a non-smoking company (municipality).  The Board of Ford (City council) passes an ordinance (By-law) that prohibits smoking for employees of Ford (City employees). Now, does that mean that Ford can force the smoking shareholders to quit smoking as well? No. The shareholders are not subject to the regulations governing the operation of the corporate body of Ford, the same way that Citizens are not subject to the regulations (ordinances) of the corporate body (Collinsville).

So, how do we, the People, create a government that is laid out with a charter and by-laws for the purpose of securing our freedoms and liberty, as well as performing in a collective capacity that which would be otherwise inefficient or cumbersome for us to perform individually? Why, you take up “residency”, of course. Normally, Citizens retain all of their natural rights that are protected by the Constitution. However, if you want to derive any of the “corporate benefits” of the “corporation”, you must become a resident of that corporation and therefore subject to the governing by-laws of that corporation. You do not need to be a resident to walk into a public library and read a book. However, in order to take that book out of the library’s control and have it entrusted to you for safe-keeping and return, you must be a resident of that corporate body which subjects you to the ascribed penalties for violating your agreement with the library for the use and safe return of that book. That library card, that you have to sign (give your permission and therein claim the status of resident) your name and claim residency. That contract is then enforceable with fines and punishment for your violating any provision of that agreement.

Residents derive benefits or exercise privileges that Citizens do not. If your tax dollars are going to fund a function of government then you have paid your way and are asking for nothing more than a Citizen is entitled to. However. if you are deriving a benefit that cannot be traced to a service provided through your payment of taxes, then you are acting as a resident. Most of the things provided by government in its proper capacity are paid by our taxes, i.e.., water, sewer, trash, roads…etc. The City gets you to claim the status of resident in order to receive these services, which is a trap, but you are not automatically conscripted to the ordinances unless they specifically apply to a particular benefit derived.

III. TYPES OF POLICE POWER

A. [7.3] Statutory Grants of Power

Since a municipality does not have the entire police power of the state but only what is specifically delegated to it, it is imperative that the practitioner carefully examine the statutes to determine whether a particular power exists. Most police-type powers are listed in Article 11 of the Illinois Municipal Code (Code), 65 ILCS 5/1-1-1, et seq. Other powers may be found in other portions of the Code and in other statutes. A careful examination of the index to the Illinois Compiled Statutes will help locate powers in the Code and other statutes.

II. AUTHORITY FOR AND LIMITATIONS ON ORDINANCE ENACTMENT

A. [8.6] In General

Home rule municipalities, i.e., cities, villages, and incorporated towns with a population in excess of 25,000 or that have adopted home rule by referendum, derive their authority to “exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to [their] government and affairs” from Article VII, §6, of the Illinois Constitution. See the chapter on home rule and intergovernmental cooperation and conflict in Volume IV of IICLE’s ILLINOIS MUNICIPAL LAW SERIES Non-home rule municipalities must follow Dillon’s Rule (see 1 John F. Dillon, COMMENTARIES ON THE LAW OF MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS §237 (5th ed. 1911)) and have under the Constitution “only powers granted to them by law” together with a few specified powers relating primarily to administrative and financial matters. ILL.CONST. art. VII, §7. General statutory authority for municipalities to “pass all ordinances and make all rules and regulations proper or necessary, to carry into effect the powers granted to municipalities,” is contained in Illinois Municipal Code §1-2-1. It is well established that this statutory authorization to enact ordinances does not in and of itself authorize the adoption of an ordinance on or with respect to any particular subject or occupation. The power to legislate on a particular subject must be shown in an express constitutional or statutory provision (Father Basil’s Lodge, Inc. v. City of Chicago, 393 Ill. 246, 65 N.E.2d 805 (1946)) or be necessarily incident to powers expressly granted (City of Bloomington v. Wirrick, 381 Ill. 347, 45 N.E.2d 852 (1942), cert. denied, 63 S.Ct. 1175 (1943)). A municipality may not, however, delegate powers by ordinance that are the obligation of the municipality. See, e.g., Doak v. City of Moline, 323 Ill.App.3d 597, 753 N.E.2d 544, 257 Ill.Dec. 349 (3d Dist. 2001). A municipality must comply with any statutory conditions associated with its exercise of a power authorized by statute. See, e.g., City of Crystal Lake v. Cunningham, 52 Ill.App.3d 819, 368 N.E.2d 142, 10 Ill.Dec. 656 (2d Dist. 1977), requiring posting of parking restrictions.