City Council votes to place home rule on 2018 ballot

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- It's official. Rockford City Council voted yes and home rule will be on the March 2018 ballot. Some aldermen believe this could greatly benefit the city, while others aren't quite on the same page.

After much discussion and debate between city officials, the fate of having home rule is now in the voter's hands. Many aldermen say educating people on the pros and cons of home rule is next on their to-do list.

Mayor Tom McNamara has been vocal in his support of home rule saying implementing the rule would allow the city to control its own destiny without relying on Springfield, while also having the ability to lower property taxes. Alderwoman Linda McNeely was the only council member to vote no on putting home rule on the ballot. She says giving the council that power could increase liability to taxpayers.

"I just don't think it's good for our city overall. I have some real concerns about this body doing what's necessarily good for the city overall,” said 13th ward Alderwoman Linda McNeely.

"I think if home rule allows the city to have the tools to combat crime, combat blight, help tackle property taxes then those things will be... those tools will help,” said 3rd ward Alderman Chad Tuneberg.

Both Alderman Tuneberg and Alderwoman McNeely say they want to educate people on home rule before the March vote. They both they say they are willing to sit down and speak with anyone who has questions.

The council also voted yes to reducing the property tax levy by more than $400,000.