Article VII

Constitution of the State of Illinois

ARTICLE VII LOCAL GOVERNMENT

SECTION 1. MUNICIPALITIES AND UNITS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
    "Municipalities" means cities, villages and incorporated
towns. "Units of local government" means counties,
municipalities, townships, special districts, and units,
designated as units of local government by law, which
exercise limited governmental powers or powers in respect to
limited governmental subjects, but does not include school
districts.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)


SECTION 2. COUNTY TERRITORY, BOUNDARIES AND SEATS
    (a)  The General Assembly shall provide by law for the
formation, consolidation, merger, division, and dissolution
of counties, and for the transfer of territory between
counties.
    (b)  County boundaries shall not be changed unless
approved by referendum in each county affected.
    (c)  County seats shall not be changed unless approved by
three-fifths of those voting on the question in a county-wide
referendum.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)


SECTION 3. COUNTY BOARDS
    (a)  A county board shall be elected in each county. The
number of members of the county board shall be fixed by
ordinance in each county within limitations provided by law.
    (b)  The General Assembly by law shall provide methods
available to all counties for the election of county board
members. No county, other than Cook County, may change its
method of electing board members except as approved by
county-wide referendum.
    (c)  Members of the Cook County Board shall be elected
from two districts, Chicago and that part of Cook County
outside Chicago, unless (1) a different method of election is
approved by a majority of votes cast in each of the two
districts in a county-wide referendum or (2) the Cook County
Board by ordinance divides the county into single member
districts from which members of the County Board resident in
each district are elected. If a different method of election
is adopted pursuant to option (1) the method of election may
thereafter be altered only pursuant to option (2) or by
county-wide referendum. A different method of election may be
adopted pursuant to option (2) only once and the method of
election may thereafter be altered only by county-wide
referendum.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)


SECTION 4. COUNTY OFFICERS
    (a)  Any county may elect a chief executive officer as
provided by law. He shall have those duties and powers
provided by law and those provided by county ordinance.
    (b)  The President of the Cook County Board shall be
elected from the County at large and shall be the chief
executive officer of the County. If authorized by county
ordinance, a person seeking election as President of the Cook
County Board may also seek election as a member of the Board.
    (c)  Each county shall elect a sheriff, county clerk and
treasurer and may elect or appoint a coroner, recorder,
assessor, auditor and such other officers as provided by law
or by county ordinance. Except as changed pursuant to this
Section, elected county officers shall be elected for terms
of four years at general elections as provided by law. Any
office may be created or eliminated and the terms of office
and manner of selection changed by county-wide referendum.
Offices other than sheriff, county clerk and treasurer may be
eliminated and the terms of office and manner of selection
changed by law. Offices other than sheriff, county clerk,
treasurer, coroner, recorder, assessor and auditor may be
eliminated and the terms of office and manner of selection
changed by county ordinance.
    (d)  County officers shall have those duties, powers and
functions provided by law and those provided by county
ordinance. County officers shall have the duties, powers or
functions derived from common law or historical precedent
unless altered by law or county ordinance.
    (e)  The county treasurer or the person designated to
perform his functions may act as treasurer of any unit of
local government and any school district in his county when
requested by any such unit or school district and shall so
act when required to do so by law.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)


SECTION 5. TOWNSHIPS
    The General Assembly shall provide by law for the
formation of townships in any county when approved by
county-wide referendum. Townships may be consolidated or
merged, and one or more townships may be dissolved or
divided, when approved by referendum in each township
affected. All townships in a county may be dissolved when
approved by a referendum in the total area in which township
officers are elected.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)


SECTION 6. POWERS OF HOME RULE UNITS
    (a)  A County which has a chief executive officer elected
by the electors of the county and any municipality which has
a population of more than 25,000 are home rule units. Other
municipalities may elect by referendum to become home rule
units. Except as limited by this Section, a home rule unit
may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to
its government and affairs including, but not limited to, the
power to regulate for the protection of the public health,
safety, morals and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur
debt.
    (b)  A home rule unit by referendum may elect not to be a
home rule unit.
    (c)  If a home rule county ordinance conflicts with an
ordinance of a municipality, the municipal ordinance shall
prevail within its jurisdiction.
    (d)  A home rule unit does not have the power (1) to
incur debt payable from ad valorem property tax receipts
maturing more than 40 years from the time it is incurred or
(2) to define and provide for the punishment of a felony.
    (e)  A home rule unit shall have only the power that the
General Assembly may provide by law (1) to punish by
imprisonment for more than six months or (2) to license for
revenue or impose taxes upon or measured by income or
earnings or upon occupations.
    (f)  A home rule unit shall have the power subject to
approval by referendum to adopt, alter or repeal a form of
government provided by law, except that the form of
government of Cook County shall be subject to the provisions
of Section 3 of this Article. A home rule municipality shall
have the power to provide for its officers, their manner of
selection and terms of office only as approved by referendum
or as otherwise authorized by law. A home rule county shall
have the power to provide for its officers, their manner of
selection and terms of office in the manner set forth in
Section 4 of this Article.
    (g)  The General Assembly by a law approved by the vote
of three-fifths of the members elected to each house may deny
or limit the power to tax and any other power or function of
a home rule unit not exercised or performed by the State
other than a power or function specified in subsection (l) of
this section.
    (h)  The General Assembly may provide specifically by law
for the exclusive exercise by the State of any power or
function of a home rule unit other than a taxing power or a
power or function specified in subsection (l) of this
Section.
    (i)  Home rule units may exercise and perform
concurrently with the State any power or function of a home
rule unit to the extent that the General Assembly by law does
not specifically limit the concurrent exercise or
specifically declare the State's exercise to be exclusive.
    (j)  The General Assembly may limit by law the amount of
debt which home rule counties may incur and may limit by law
approved by three-fifths of the members elected to each house
the amount of debt, other than debt payable from ad valorem
property tax receipts, which home rule municipalities may
incur.
    (k)  The General Assembly may limit by law the amount and
require referendum approval of debt to be incurred by home
rule municipalities, payable from ad valorem property tax
receipts, only in excess of the following percentages of the
assessed value of its taxable property: (1) if its population
is 500,000 or more, an aggregate of three percent; (2) if its
population is more than 25,000 and less than 500,000, an
aggregate of one percent; and (3) if its population is 25,000
or less, an aggregate of one-half percent. Indebtedness which
is outstanding on the effective date of this Constitution or
which is thereafter approved by referendum or assumed from
another unit of local government shall not be included in the
foregoing percentage amounts.
    (l)  The General Assembly may not deny or limit the power
of home rule units (1) to make local improvements by special
assessment and to exercise this power jointly with other
counties and municipalities, and other classes of units of
local government having that power on the effective date of
this Constitution unless that power is subsequently denied by
law to any such other units of local government or (2) to
levy or impose additional taxes upon areas within their
boundaries in the manner provided by law for the provision of
special services to those areas and for the payment of debt
incurred in order to provide those special services.
    (m)  Powers and functions of home rule units shall be
construed liberally.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)


SECTION 7. COUNTIES AND MUNICIPALITIES OTHER
           THAN HOME RULE UNITS
    Counties and municipalities which are not home rule units
shall have only powers granted to them by law and the powers
(1) to make local improvements by special assessment and to
exercise this power jointly with other counties and
municipalities, and other classes of units of local
government having that power on the effective date of this
Constitution unless that power is subsequently denied by law
to any such other units of local government; (2) by
referendum, to adopt, alter or repeal their forms of
government provided by law; (3) in the case of
municipalities, to provide by referendum for their officers,
manner of selection and terms of office; (4) in the case of
counties, to provide for their officers, manner of selection
and terms of office as provided in Section 4 of this Article;
(5) to incur debt except as limited by law and except that
debt payable from ad valorem property tax receipts shall
mature within 40 years from the time it is incurred; and (6)
to levy or impose additional taxes upon areas within their
boundaries in the manner provided by law for the provision of
special services to those areas and for the payment of debt
incurred in order to provide those special services.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)


SECTION 8. POWERS AND OFFICERS OF SCHOOL
           DISTRICTS AND UNITS OF LOCAL
           GOVERNMENT OTHER THAN COUNTIES
           AND MUNICIPALITIES
    Townships, school districts, special districts and units,
designated by law as units of local government, which
exercise limited governmental powers or powers in respect to
limited governmental subjects shall have only powers granted
by law. No law shall grant the power (1) to any of the
foregoing units to incur debt payable from ad valorem
property tax receipts maturing more than 40 years from the
time it is incurred, or (2) to make improvements by special
assessments to any of the foregoing classes of units which do
not have that power on the effective date of this
Constitution. The General Assembly shall provide by law for
the selection of officers of the foregoing units, but the
officers shall not be appointed by any person in the Judicial
Branch.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)


SECTION 9. SALARIES AND FEES
    (a)  Compensation of officers and employees and the
office expenses of units of local government shall not be
paid from fees collected. Fees may be collected as provided
by law and by ordinance and shall be deposited upon receipt
with the treasurer of the unit. Fees shall not be based upon
funds disbursed or collected, nor upon the levy or extension
of taxes.
    (b)  An increase or decrease in the salary of an elected
officer of any unit of local government shall not take effect
during the term for which that officer is elected.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)


SECTION 10. INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION
    (a)  Units of local government and school districts may
contract or otherwise associate among themselves, with the
State, with other states and their units of local government
and school districts, and with the United States to obtain or
share services and to exercise, combine, or transfer any
power or function, in any manner not prohibited by law or by
ordinance. Units of local government and school districts may
contract and otherwise associate with individuals,
associations, and corporations in any manner not prohibited
by law or by ordinance. Participating units of government may
use their credit, revenues, and other resources to pay costs
and to service debt related to intergovernmental activities.
    (b)  Officers and employees of units of local government
and school districts may participate in intergovernmental
activities authorized by their units of government without
relinquishing their offices or positions.
    (c)  The State shall encourage intergovernmental
cooperation and use its technical and financial resources to
assist intergovernmental activities.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)


SECTION 11. INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM
    (a)  Proposals for actions which are authorized by this
Article or by law and which require approval by referendum
may be initiated and submitted to the electors by resolution
of the governing board of a unit of local government or by
petition of electors in the manner provided by law.
    (b)  Referenda required by this Article shall be held at
general elections, except as otherwise provided by law.
Questions submitted to referendum shall be adopted if
approved by a majority of those voting on the question unless
a different requirement is specified in this Article.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)


SECTION 12. IMPLEMENTATION OF GOVERNMENTAL CHANGES
    The General Assembly shall provide by law for the
transfer of assets, powers and functions, and for the payment
of outstanding debt in connection with the formation,
consolidation, merger, division, dissolution and change in
the boundaries of units of local government.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)

to preceding Article

to next Article

to main Constitution page