Every day that goes by someone in our community makes a decision to either support or oppose home rule. But one group who holds the power has yet to decide. The number of people speaking out at Rockford City Council meetings continues to grow. Especially since the deadline to place home rule on the ballot is fast approaching.
Tuesday night, CEO of Amcore Bank announced support for Home Rule. Also Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey provided his reasoning why Home Rule should be put on the March 21st ballot. Morrissey wanted to clear up some misconceptions. The Mayor went on to say that Home Rule isn't like having a king and his court. Mayor Morrissey also explained that he wouldn't get new powers, but the council would. Those against Home Rule are basically against the council having the power to initially decide and not the public. In the past petitions had to be collected in order for Home Rule to be placed on a ballot. Alderman Linda McNeely asked why Home Rule is of the utmost importance now.
McNeely says, “If we don't get it on the March ballot Rockford won't end. And you still have the opportunity in November to put this issue out.”
Mayor Morrissey followed that comment up by saying, “Let's get it done and move forward. But I want to know at this stage in my administration what the set tools we have to work with are. The only way to know is to get the issue before the community. I'm afraid we won't and it will pass us by like much of the last 2 decades have been."
It's been 22 years since we've had Home Rule. If Home Rule is placed on the ballot and it doesn't pass, the issue can not be brought back up again for 2 years. A decision about Home Rule has to be made by the council before January 19th. Right now the Codes and Regulation Committee is discussing Home Rule.