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No, a referendum is not needed with or without home rule. The budget provides spending authority each year. Salaries are also authorized via union contracts and a Wage and Salary Ordinance for non‐union employees.
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The immediate and long‐term benefits of home rule is the ability to raise different types of revenue through sources other than property tax and to self‐govern via programs like the crime‐free housing program. The ability to create different types of revenue allows for the tax burden to spread outside of the community by collecting taxes from people who shop and dine in our City.
In addition, the City has the ability to issue debt fairly quickly and easily. Being home rule saves on interest costs that taxpayers ultimately pay.
Home Rule does not affect projects that are approved or budgetary spending except for that it allows for revenue options to provide for spending. The main difference in home rule aside from revenue options is the property tax cap which was mentioned previously, which limits increases and the way in which debt is issued. A non‐home rule community must put general obligation bonds to referendum and alternate revenue bonds through a back‐door referendum process. Debt along with a request for non‐home rule sales tax and an increase over the property tax cap are generally the only times that a referendum would be put to vote by a non‐home rule community.
No. Home rule does not provide spending authority. The budget provides the annual spending authority. The City Council approves resolutions for contracts and large purchases.