In a 9 to 5 decision, Rockford aldermen reject home rule going on the March ballot. Aldermen against the spring ballot say the community needed more discussion and a chance to put it on the ballot the right way - through petitions.
"I've always felt strongly that if home rule issue was going to be placed on the ballot, I want it to have a fair chance to pass," Alderman Dan Conness said.
"We have to have confidence in our citizens, that they will make the right decisions, whether it's March or November," Alderman Victory Bell said.
But councilmen in favor of putting it on the March ballot argued 2 and 1/2 months would have been ample time to get voters informed, and return more local control back to the Forest City.
"It is simply ridiculous for our city, our size to be non-rule, and live under state handcuffs, when it comes to issues," Alderman Joe Sosnowski said.
"To me putting home rule on the ballot so our citizens can vote whether they want to have it, as Alderman Mark said, is democracy," Alderman John Beck said.
Meanwhile, home rule supporter Mayor Larry Morrissey says he was pleased with the community involvement, and says the council must now practice what they preach with petitions.
"They've just made a public statement that they've gotta go to work. If you don't like one route via resolution, than you better be able to go to work the other way," Mayor Morrissey said.
The first, but certainly not the last home rule voting decision.