A study by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce
Task Force on the Dillon Rule
MAY 12 1999
HAMPTON ROADS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Task Force on the Dillon Rule
Task Force Members:
Dorcas T. Helfant, Vice Chair, Governmental Affairs. CoIdweli Banker Helfant Realty
Rowena Fullinwider, Rowenas
Kevin Cosgrove Esq., Hunton and Williams
Frank Driscoll, Life Inc.
Ann Kirk, Esq.
Arlene F. Klinedinst Esq., Vandeventer Black
John Knibb, Land Development Inc.
Joan Gifford, Coldwell Banker Gifford Realty
Clyde Hoey, Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
Robin Ray, Atlantic Dominion Distributors
Robert Williams, The Jorrnan Group
Legal Research by Joseph Weigand
Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Fellow
Regent University School of Law
DJ Geiger, Vice President Governmental Affairs
Terri Hayes, Governmental Affairs Assistant
John A. Hornbeck,.Jr., President and CEO, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce
Task Force on the Dillon Rule
The members of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Regional Board of Directors became aware of the issues surrounding municipal funding and the fiscal health of our cides during a presentation by City Managers James Spore, Virginia Beach and James Oliver, Norfolk and former Mayor of Hampton, Jimmy Eason.
This awareness coupled with the recognition that the health of business is directly affected by the health of the cities that house it has led to a desire for additional information, a review of all relevant factors and considerations, and the revisiting of the Chamber’s public policy position wbich supports the Dillon Rule.
The Regional Board formed a task force to execute this review and report its recommendations on the Chamber’s Dillon Rule position as well as any other findings. The Task Force members selected represent a wide range of business owners and professionals. They were selected from the cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffblk and Virginia Beach. The President of the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce also served in an ex-officic capacity. The Task Force members possess experience in a combination of local government and either law or business operations.
A research document was created by the Governmental Affairs Division of the Chamber which served as the basis for the review by the Task Force. Research was performed by the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Fellow, Joseph Weigand, a law and public policy student from Regent University.
The following areas were explored by the Task Force and the research document
I. Definition of the Dillon and Home Rules.
IL Identification and explanation of alternatives to the Dillon Rule used in other jurisdictions.
Ill. What affect have these methods of local taxation had in other Jurisdictions?
IV. Review the history of local taxation since the inception of the Dillon Rule. How have local taxes evolved under the Dillon Rule?
V. ldentify the current revenues and expenditures of the Hampton Roads cities.
VI. Identify requests made to the General Assembly for exception to the Dillon rule that have been denied.
VII. Examine what will happen if there is no change in the current taxing stucture; the Dillon Rule is not abolished. What altertative solutions do the cities have?
VIII. Is there consensus among localities on the repeal of the Dillon Rule?
IX. Determine the plans of the cities should the Dillon Rule be repealed?
X. Examine whether the opposition to the Dillon Rule stems from an inability to raise revenue or from an issue of discretion/authority/control.
XI. Review statewide studies performed on local tax reform and the Dillon Rule.
After the review of these issues as presented within the research document and data, the Task Force members discussed their experiences with and within local government. All members participated, broadening the scope of the discussion and allowing for a free flowing, frank debate of the issues.
Task Force on the Dillon Rule
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
1. The Dillon Rule provides a necessary check and balance between state and local government
2. The Dillon Rule promotes uniformity in local government and reduces the number of lawsuits filed against localities.
3. Both the Dillon Rule and the Home Rule as implemented across the nation contain dozens of exceptions. Eliminating the Dillon Rule in lieu of the Home Rule in Virginia would begin a long process of adopting limitations to the broad authority that would be granted to localities.
4. The Dillon Rule is just one element of the municipal fimding issue. The elimination of it will not solve the difficulties facing localities.
5 The focus must be on the specific fimding shortfalls realized by localities, the causes of those short~Uz and on the relationship between the state and tocalities with regard to the implementation of both the Dillon Rule and the current system of local taxation.
I. Maintain the Dillon Rule. The position supporting the Dillon Rule should be maintained, and attempts to eliminate the Dillon Rule should be fought.
2. Support full funding of HR 599. The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce r~.a v nj should support the full tinding of HB 599, including the back balance clue and owing
for shortages in finding since 1990. A review of other state mandated programs should be undertaken and a determi~adon made of appropriate levels of state funding for those programs.
3. Establish a Partners Conference. Bring state and local officials together in an environment that ensures confidentiality and an open, ~ank discussion of funding issues facing localities. The intent of the conference would be to promote the realization by state and local officials that they are painters in the future of our regiom
4. Market and educate on the findings of the Task Force. It is vital that the work of the Task Force does not end with the publication of this report. The infomiadon contained in the research document must be used to educate the public, the business community and state and local elected officials.
I. Definition of the Dillon and Home Rules.
Virginia has been known as a Dillon Rule state for over 100 years. Controversy over municipal funding and the ability of city governments to act without legislative intervention has lead many to reconsider the worth of the judicially created Dillon Rule and a potential shift to the Home Rule. The following is an explanation of each rule:
The Dillon Rule
Under the Dillon Rule, municipalities have only the powers expressly granted, necessarily or fairly implied from explicitly granted powers, and powers that may be essential and apparent
Judge J.F. Dillon, the creator of the legal doctrine today known as the Dillon Rule, wrote:
It is a general and undisputed proposition of law that a municipal corporation possesses and can exercise the following powers, and no others: First, those granted in express wordsy; second those necessarily or fairly implied in or incident to the powers expressly granted : third those essential to the accomplisment of the declared objects and purposes of the corporation – not merely convenient, but indispensable. Any fair, reasonable, substantial doubt concerning the existence of power is resolved by the courts against the corporation and the power is denied. Commentaries on the Law of Municipal Government Sec. 237 (5* ed., 1911).
In Virginia, municipal powers are expressly granted by the state legislature and the city may do nothing beyond the powers granted within the charter. If the city wishes to expand, constrict, or abrogate any powers they must seek legislative approval from the state legislature.
No inherent right to local self-government exists. When determining Dillon rule related cases, courts will consider whether the statute has been given a rational interpretation that is consistent with its purposes, and not one which will substantially defeat the statutes objective,
Neither the Virginia Constitution nor the Virginia Code contain any language specffically establishing the Dillon Rule in Virginia. Instead, the Dillon Rule was established in Virginia by judicial interertation. Article VII, Section 2 of the Virginia Constitution may be construed as Dillon Rule language but this was not the Legislative intent.
Article VII, SectIon 2: Organization and government The General Assembly shall provide by general law for the organization, government, powers, change of boundaries, consolidation, and dissolution of counties, cities, towns, and regional governments. The General Assembly may also provide by general law optional plans of government for counties, cities, or towns to be effecttve if approved by a majority vote of the qualified voters voting on any such plan in any such county, city, or town.
The General Assembly may also provide by special act fi,r the organization governmeig and powers of any county, city, town~ or regional government, including such powers of. legislation raxation and assessment ar the General Assembly may determine, but no such special act shall be adopted which prowdes frr the extension or contraction of boundaries of any county, city, or town.
Every law providing for the organization of a regional governnent shall, in addition to any other requirements imposed by the General Assembly, require the approval of the organization of the regional government by a majority vote of the qualified voters voting thereon in each county and city which is to participate in the regional government and of the voters thereon in apart of a county or city where only the part is to participate.
Seven other states utilize the Dillon Rule for their local-state government relationship. The following lists the constitutional language establishng the Dillon Rule principle in five of the seven states.
Hawaii: Article VIII, Section 1: The legislature shall create counties, and may create other political subdivisions within the State, and provide for the government thereof. Each political subdivision shall have and exercise such powers as shall be conferred under general laws.
Article VIII, Section 3: The taxing power shall be reserved to the State, except so much thereof as may be delegated by the legislature to the political subdivisions, and except that all functions, powers and duties relating to the taxation of real property shall be exercised exclusively by the counties, with the exception of the county of Kalawao. The legislature shall have the power to apportion state revenues among the several political subdivisions.
Mississippi: ArtIcle 4, Section 88: The legislature shall pass general laws, under which local and private interest shall be provided for and protected and under which cities and towns may be chartered and their charters amended, and under which corporations may be created, orgamzed and their acts of incorporation altereed, and all such laws shall be subject to repeal or amendment.
North Carolina: Article VII, Section 1: General Assembly to provide for local government. The General Assembly shall provide for the organization and government and the fixing of boundaries of counties, cties and towns, and other governmental subdivisions, and, except as otherwise prohibited by this Constitution, may give such powers and duties to counties, cities and towns, and other governmental subdivisions as it may deem acvisable.
South Carolina: Article VIII, Section 9: The structure and organization, powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities of the municipalities shall be established by general law provided, that not more than five alternative fonns of government shall be authorized.
Vermont: Chapter II, SectIon 69: No charter of incorporation shall be granted, extended, changed or amended by special law, except for such municipal, charitable, educational, penal or reformatory corporations as are to be and remain under the patronage or control of the State; but the General Assembly shall provide by general laws for the organit2tion of all corporations hereafier to be created. All generallaws passed pursuant to this section may be altered from time to time or repealed.
(Italics added for emphasis).
The Home Rule
Under the home rule, local governments are constitutionally or statutorily granted broad authority under their charters. Cities are granted the power of’ self.governrnent while the state has limited control over the cites. The state may enact further legislation limiting the powers conferred under a home rule charter.
Home rule is based on the notion that municipalities should be free to determine their own affairs without state government obstructing the municipalities decision making process.
Even though considerable variations exist in the constitutional language of home rule statutes, two predominate doctrines exist:
I) imperium in imperio (state within a state), which allows a municipality to do anything that is purely local in nature and is not inconsistent with state laws or the state constitution, and
2) devolution of powers, under which the locality may exercise any power that is not expressly denied by the state.
The following are examples of constitutional language from Home Rule states.
Article XVIII: Municipal Corporations:
Section 3 [Powers]
Municipalities shall have authority to exercise all powers of local self-govermnent and to adopt and enforce within their limits such local police, sanitary and other similar regulations, as are not in conflict with general laws.
Section 7 [Home Rule]
Any municipality may frame and adopt or amend a charter for its government and may, subject to the provision of section 3 of this article, exercise thereunder all powers of local self-government.
Article II: Municipal Corporations
Section 5 [Cities of more than 5,000 population adoption or amendment of charters; taxes; debt restrictions]
The adoption or amendment of charters is subject to such limitations as may be prescribed by the Legislature, and no charter or any ordinance passed under said charter shall contain any provision inconsistent with the Constitution of tre State, or of the general laws enacted by the Legislature of this State. Said cities may levy, assess and collect such taxes as may be authorized by law or by their charters; but no tax for any purpose shall ever be lawful for any one year, which shall exceed two and one-half per cent of the taxable property of such city, and no debt shall ever be created by any city, unless at the saimetime provision be made to assess and collect annually a sufficient sum to pay the interest thereon and creating a sinking fund of at least two percent. -
CON 6-39. Local laws not to be passed in enumerated cases
The Legislature shall not pass local or special laws in any of the following enumerated cases; that is to say, for:
Laying out, opening altering and working roads or highways;
Vacating roads, town plats, streets, alleys and public grounds;
Locating or changing county seats;
Regulating or changing county or district affairs;
Providing for the sale of church property, or property held for charitable uses;
Regulating the practice in courts óf justice;
Incorporating cities, towns or villages, or amending the charter of any city, town, or village, containing a population of less than two thousand:
Summoning or impaneling grand or petitt juries;
The opening or conducting of any election, or designating the place of voting;
The sale and mortgage of real estate belonging to minors, or others under disability;
Chartering licensing or establishing ferries or toll bridges;
Remitting fines, penalties or forfeitures;
Changing the law of descent;
Regulating the rate of interest;
Authorizing deeds to be made for land sold for taxes;
Releasing title to forfeited lands.
The Legislature shall provide, by general laws, for the foregoing and all other cases for which provision can be so made; and in no case shall a special act be passed where a general law would be proper, and can be made applicable to the case, nor in any other case in which the courts have jurisdiction; and are competent to give the relief asked for.
CON 6-39a. Home rule for municipalities, No local or special law shall hereafter be passed incorporating cities, towns or villages, or amending their charters. The Legislature shall provide by general laws for the incorporation and government of cities; towns and villages, and shall classify such municipal corporations, upon the basis of population, into not less than two nor more than five classes. Such general laws shall restrict the powers of such cities, towns and villages to borrow money and contract debts, and shall limit the rate of taxes for municipal purposes, in accordance with section one, article ten of the constitution of the state of West Virginia. Under such general laws, the electors of each municipal corporation; wherein the population exceeds two thousan4 shall have power and authority to frame, adopt and amend the charter of such corporation; or to amend an existing charter thereof and through its legally constituted authority. may pass all laws and ordinances relating to its municipal affairs: Provided, That any such charter or amendment thereto, and any such law or ordinance so adopted shall be invalid and void if inconsistent or in conflict with this constitution or the general laws of the state then in effect, or thereafter from time to time enacted
II. Identification and explanation of alternatives to the Dillon Rule used in other jurisdictions.
Currently 8 states recognize the Dillon rile. The remaining 42 sates govern under some variation of the Home Rule. Presently no other alternatives exist.
The states utilizing the Dillon rile include North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Vernion, Wyoming, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Virginia. As noted ahove, the remaining states are governed by a version of the Home Rule with considerable variations in statutory and constitutional language. In Home Ride states, the basic sources of power conferred to localities are either:t
1) a self-executing state constitutional provision that directly confers home rule on cities; or
2) “home rule laws” that are passed by state legislatures pursuant to a constitutional mandate, or
3) a combination of 1) and 2).
Under Home Rule states, the extent of the power conferred to a municipality is reflected in that municipalities charter. Proponents of the Home Rule argue that Home Rule municipalities are empowered to decide for themselves the form of loàal government and the scope of their powers under that government
III What affect have these methods of local taxation had in other jurisdictions?
Virginia municipalities have done fairly well under the Dillon Rule. Under the current system, few if any ambiguities exist in Virginia’s statutory language and the duties of the cities and state are clearly defined.
Research has found that Virginia has had approximately 20 lawsuits concerning the Dillon rule and powers of municipalities. Unlike many Ohio municipalities, Virginia mwilcipaliues have been able to avoid wasted time and the expense of litigation due to the following factors:
-The self-executing provision found in Ohio’s constitution confers upon municipalities the power over matters such as local police, sanitary, and other regulations that do not conflict with the general laws of Ohio. These powers are derived directly from constitutional provisions.
-The language in the Ohio constitution is unclear and has caused courts to have difficulty determining what issues are for “local self.govemxnents” to connol; which local ordinances prevail over state statutes; and what regulations are slxictly subject to the “general laws” of Ohio and therefore out of the municipalities jurisdiction..
Due to the ambiguity in the self-executing home rule language of the Ohio constitution, Ohio has had many municipalities pursue court litigation to secure power over local matters. Chamber research has found Ohio has had close to 600 cases concerning the Home Rule and the power municipalities hold under that nile.
IV. Review the history of local taxation sinct the inception of the Difion Rule. Row have local taxes evolved under the Dillon Rule?
The Dillon Rule has been the standard for Virginia’s municipalities since 1896 when the court decision of Winchester v. Redmond was decided There has been no express policy statement in the form of legislation; neither the Virginia Constitution nor the Virginia Code contains any provision that establishes the Dillon Rule in Virginit.
Even with the adoption of the Dillon Rule philosophy, taxes such as the Local Real Estate Tax, Local Personal Property Tax, BPOL Tax, and Local Severance Tax have been retained. No adverse affect has been realized by municipalities with regard to these preexisting taxes.
However, the purpose for which these taxes were first imposed has become antiquated and no longer applicable in modem day Virginia. Taxes initially imposed on cattle & sheep, blacksmiths, coal, and town lots are now applied to cars & persona! computers, start-up Internet companies, natural gas, and office buildings.
V. Identify the current revenues and expenditures of the Hampton Roads cities.
Primary Sources Of Revenue For Hampton Roads Municipalities
General Property Taxes:
§ Personal Property
§ Public Service Corporations
§ Penalties and Interest on Taxes
Other Local Taxes
§ Sales and Use Tax
§ Utility Tax
Business And Occupational Licenses Tax
§ Restaurant/Meals Tax
§ Motor Vehicle License Tax
§ Cigarette/Tobacco Tax
§ Hotel Room/Lodging Tax
§ Amusement Tax
Permits, Privilege Fees, and Regulatory Licenses
§ Animal Licenses
§ Fines and Forfeitures
§ Permits and other Licenses
§ Charges the Services
Revenue from the Commonwealth
Revenue from the Federal Government
VI. Requests made to the General Assembly for exceptions to the Dillon Rule that have been denied.
The Virginia General Assembly has traditionally been generous in granting local governments discretionary authority to address intemal and intr-local issues. In a 1981 study by the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR), Virginia placed 8 in the nation for the amount of autonomy possessed by each state’s local governments.
Currently there is no record of the requests made to the Genexal Assembly for exceptions to the Dillon rule according to the Division of Legislative Services.
However, Dr. M. H Wilkinson, from the Virginia Comnission on Local Government conducted studies in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s on Virginia legislation concerning local government. His most recent findings are reported below.
o In the 1988 and 1989 General Assembly sessions, the General Assembly considered 317 bills that would have impacted local government authority. The specific areas impacted included: financial powers, functional authoñty, personnel policies, and structural organization.
o A majority of the bills in each area were passed by the General Assembly and subsequently expanded local authority.
§ Specifically, 94 finance-related bills came before the General Assembly. Of those, 62 passed - a total of 66 percent
§ Out of the 94 bills, 71 wexe to expand local powers. 45 were passed (63.3 percent). From these bills, 39 sought to increase local taxing authority. Out of the 39, 22 bills were enacted.
§ Of the 17 bills to constrict power, 14 passed (82.4 percent); 8 were enacted.
§ Of the 71 finance bills to expand local authority, 39 bills would have allowed localities to increase local taxing authority. 22 of these bills were enacted
These patterns have continued into the 1990’s. According to the Virginia Commission on Local Government “the Dillon Rule bills have not fared well lately” as was evidenced by HB 334 (1998). Despite this though, the Commission still believes the ‘Dillon Rule” is a misnomer for Virginia and Virginia cities really do have an adequate amount of power.
VII. Examine what will happen if there is no change in the current taxing structure; the Dillon Rule is not abolished. What alternative solutions do the citià have?
There was no information available on the probable actions localities would take if the Dillon Rule were overturned. Discussion of the Task Force members concluded that there would likely be no signi6cant impact on localities if the Dillon Rule remaios in force. Suggested alternative solutions for cities hclude pursuit of full funding for mandates placed on localities by the state and review of the current local taxation system.
VIII. Is there consensus among localities on the repeal of the Difion Rule?
Currently, consensus about the repeal of the Dillon Rule does not exist among local officials.
Two areas of disagreement exist. First the current system has an inherent accountability built in that keeps both city officials and General Assembly members in check. This “check and balance system” would be diluted or nullified if Virginia were to change to the Home Rule.
Second, the Home Rule shins accountability and responsibility forcing local leaders to make hard choices. The Dillon Rule is a built in political shield for local officials thatmany are hesitant to relinquish.
The Virginia Municipal League (VML), currently endorses reversing the Dillon Rule in favor of adopting “hone rule conditions.” VML previously opposed proposals to grant constitutional hone rule to Virginia’s local governments
IX. Determine the plans of the cities should the Dillon Rule be repealed?
There have been no statements by localities regarding what actions they would take if the Dillon Rule system was traded for a Home Rule. However, it is clear that the ability to maintain uniformity among localities with regard to taxing rates would be substantially weakened.
X. Examine whether the opposition to the Dillon Rule stems from an inability to raise revenue or from an issue of discretioafauthority/controL
Under the Virginia Code, Virginia Cities have been granted numerous powers to tax. Currently cities are entitled to tax the following areas:
o Taxes on Property:
§ Real Property
§ Tangible Personal Property
§ Machinery and Tools
§ Merchants’ Capital
o Taxes on Individual; Consumers
§ Sales and Use
§ Motor Vehicle License
§ Utility Consumers
§ Transient Occupancy
§ Income (Norfolk and Virginia Beach only)
§ Recordation and probate
o Taxes on Businesses
§ Business, Professional, and Occupational (BPOL)
§ Daily Rental Property
§ Coal and Gas Severance
§ Coal and Gas Road Improvement
§ Oil Service
§ Utility License
§ Alcohol License
§ Bank Franchise
§ Cable TV Franchise
• Most of the above taxes have rates or limits imposed on the level of taxation cities may not exceed.
• Cites may only levy the Cigarette tax if they had received authority prior to January 1, 1977.
• The Income Tax must be approved by referendum prior to its implementati on. Revenues must be used for ttnsportation facilities.
• The Income tax may only be levied for 5 years from the effective date of the tax.
(Since Virginia Code Section 58.1-540 has been in effect, no locality has held a referendum to authorize a local income tax).
The argument used by localities is that the sources available to them (listed above) are not growing sources of revenue. They believe that the state should share a portion of either the income tax or the sales tax or provide them with the ability to impose such a growing tax.
XI. Review statewide studies performed on local tax reform and the Dillon Rule.
Since 1944, a number of statewide studies have been conducted to investigate boundary disputes, annexation, and state funding & fiscal stress Of all the previous studies, only the 1992 Governor’s Advisory Commission on the Dillon Rule and Local Government conducted for Governor Wilder addressed the Dillon Rule and power granted to localities. From this study, a number of recommendations were itiade, but the policy proposals were never advanced nor implemented.
The Governor’s Advisory Commissionon the Dillon Rule and Local Government
1). Relax the Dillon Rule and grant local municipalities broad authority for delegated powers to conduct local government functions. (The intent was to ensure that authority delegated to local governments by the General Assembly was construed broadly).
2). Establish uniform local government powers. (Eliminate all conflicting statutes, clarify legislation, and consolidate related statutes by chapter. Also, they called for the “Uniform Charter Powers Act” to be revised.)
3). Education/School Guidelines: Request cities and counties to prepare and approve school division budgets by May 15th each year.
4). Equalize revenue resources (taxing authority) between cities and counties for the purpose of easing local reliance on real estate. (Create statewide uniformity without diluting municipal authority,)
5). Developstrategies for intergovemmental solutions to local government problems. (Encourage neighboring communities to work together and share solutions to problems in the localities (jails, parks, schools, solid waste, roads, water and sewer, utilities, fire protection, and law enforcement).
6). Clarify state and local responsibilities. (By establishing “clear areas of full authority,” the commission believed local governments could “raise revenue that would more closely correspond to the requirement to provide services.”)
According to the Division of Legislative Services, none of the above recommendations were ever adopted or further studied. Many of the recommendations called for Title 15.1 of the Virginia Code to be amended. Since this report was published, Title 15.1 has been updated and re-codified in Title 15.2.
Arguments Against The Dillon Rule
• The Dillon Rule allows the General Assembly to influence local policies, while the home rule prevents the General Assembly from interfering in local affairs.
• Currently, members of the General Assembly from rural localities have a vote concerning the affairs of cities; with the hcme rule, the control of urban affairs by rural interests is prevented.
• The state has power over local governments; under the home rule, power is placed into the hands of local government.
• Many members of the General Assembly have no expedence in local government and cannot adequately address the concerns of the municipalities.
• By enacting the home rule, municipalities will theoretically save time and resources in lobbying as local and statc governments will not be concerned with enacting policy initiatives of limited significance (pertaining to only one city). This will allow the General Assembly to devote more time to statewide issues.
• General Assembly members serve only two or four year tenus, are in session only a few months each year and therefore, do not have as great a vested interest in the long-term planning for local governments.
Arguments In Favor of the Dillon Rule
• In shifting to the home rule, dramatic constitutional changes would cause uncertainty about which policies the municipalities have jurisdiction over and which were denied by the General Assembly, the state constitution, or state statutes. This could lead to an increase in court litigation.
• In accepting local discretionary home rule authority, the municipalfty inevitably accepts conditions placed on them by the state in local policies, personnel standards, and the scope of quality of public services the city may offer.
• With the home rule, the state would continue to have the ability to enact measures to diminish local governing powers.
• Under the Dillon Rule, the state has been very responsive to local concerns and have given municipalities significant siructural latittide in local concerns.
• Virginia traditionally has granted most of the request for charter amendments that would modify municipalities structural aitangements.
• Virginia law offers local governments a variety of structural alternatives for expanding services for their residents.
• What the General Assembly gives to localities in the Home Rule, they can also take away.
• Municipalities will be at the mercy of the judicial system which will decide what constitutes purely local functions versus state functions.
• Municipalities already have a large amount of autonomy under the Dillon Rule.
• The distinction between the Dillon Rule and the Home Rule is not as clear-cut as perceived due to the numbers of exceptions provided to each after adoption.