Wednesday, December 30, 2015

City Council's 3-2 Approval of Tax Levy Validated by Appellate Court

Authored by Julie Tappendorf and originally appeared in the Municipal Minute with Ancel Glink. You can read the Municipal Minute at

In June, we posted about a trial court decision that invalidated the City of Crystal Lake's tax levy ordinance. The trial court had ruled that the 3-2 vote of the City Council to approve the tax levy was insufficient because state statute requires four affirmative votes to pass an ordinance. As a result of the invalidation of the tax levy, the court ordered the City to refund the City portion of the property taxes due and paid in 2014 to the taxpayers.  Taxpayers Get Refund Because of 3-2 Vote on Tax Levy Ordinance.

The City appealed, and last week the appellate court reversed the trial court, holding that home rule voting procedures prevailed over the general voting provisions set forth in state statute. WKS Crystal Lake v. LeFew, 2015 IL App(2d) 150544

The tax objectors had argued that 65 ILCS 5/3.1-40-40 required the City Council to vote by a “concurrence of a majority of all members then holding office on the city council” to approve the tax levy ordinance.  The City countered that the City had adopted Robert’s Rules of Order, which only requires an affirmative majority of those voting to pass a measure.  Because the City is home rule, the appellate court found that the City's local voting requirement prevailed over the requirements of state statute.