City Committee Says Home Rule Decision Needs More Time, Restrictions

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The first voting group has spoken. A Rockford city committee narrowly recommends to not put home rule on the March primary ballot, arguing the issue needs more discussion time.

"Freedom isn't always the right to do what you want to do, but what you ought to do. In this case, I didn't say no to home rule, but I said no because of the formula in which it was presented," Alderman Frank Beach said.

The committee also added a new wrinkle to the home rule resolution when the full council is expected to vote on it next week. If home rule does pass, than aldermen would not be allowed to exceed state tax caps for property owners.

"I've said all along that home rule's not a bad thing. Except you gotta tie my hands and tie everybody else's hands and not jack taxes out of sight, because you could do it," Alderman Pat Curran said.

Home rule support group Empower Rockford says they're surprised, but not discouraged by the committee’s home rule decision.

"Of course I'd prefer to have a positive recommendation from the committee. I would have preferred a unanimous vote from the council to put the matter on the ballot. But the vote that counts is the one from city council," Jim Keeling said.

A pivotal city council vote expected next week, where alderman will decide whether or not to put home rule on either the spring or fall ballot.