City Council increases amount of signatures needed to recall the mayor

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- As the debate over bringing home rule back to Rockford continues, the City Council has implemented ordinances as a way to limit its power, one of them being able to recall the mayor and aldermen. Now, it may be a little more difficult to recall the mayor.

If home rule were to be brought back after this month's primary, the council agreed if they didn't comply with its limiting ordinances they could be recalled, but now the council has increased the amount of signatures the mayor would need to be ousted by 1500.

The council had previously agreed on the mayor needing 3,500 signatures from registered voters to be put on the ballot for recall. At Monday’s council meeting 5th Ward Alderwoman Venita Hervey suggested the mayor to now need 5,000 signatures. Hervey said 3,500 signatures were too easy and she wanted to make it harder for the mayor to be recalled so people wouldn't have so much influence over him.

“I don't want the mayor to be subject to special influences and special interests who can pull him in a room and say ‘if you don't do something whether it's good or bad for the city, we're going to mount a recall against you,’ It's too threatening. Make it fair but not so low,” said 5th Ward Alderwoman Venita Hervey.

Aldermen would need 1,000 signatures from voters in their ward to be recalled. Other limiting ordinances include new property tax level increases to be capped at a level for non-home rule communities, increases in sales tax or property tax needs a super majority vote and any tax increase would also require a public hearing before a final vote.

The council also approved its 5th and final budget packet with recommendations to combat the city's $10 million deficit, which includes city staff looking into paid on-street parking on downtown streets. The city needs to have a balanced budget by the end of the month.