The City of Crystal Lake won the tax protest case which argued that a majority of the city council was necessary to pass its taxing ordinance.
At stake was $1.6 million in property taxes.
“On appeal, the City contends that the trial court erred in finding that the Ordinance was invalid…we conclude that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment for the plaintiffs and instead should have granted summary judgment in favor of the City,…”
The Appellate Court notes that
- a quorum was present at the meeting (5 of 7 councilmen),
- the city council operates under Robert’s Rules of Order,
- “those rules permit the transaction of business by a concurrence of the majority of the members who are present,”
- so, “the affirmative vote of three members—the majority of those city council members who were present on December 17, 1993—was sufficient to pass the Ordinance.”
The Court also points out that the Home Rule status of Crystal Lake city government is relevant, noting, “the power to levy property taxes is an area particularly subject to a municipality’s home rule powers.”
Then, the plaintiffs are chided for incompletely quoting a statute, which applied to the spending of money, not the raising of money through taxation.
Although the Illinois General Assembly may limit Home Rule powers by a two-thirds vote, it has not done so with reference to enacting levies, the Court points out.
Representing the City of Crystal Lake was Evanston lawyer Robert Pickrell of the Victor Filippini Law Firm.
Timothy Dwyer of St. Charles represented the plaintiffs.