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Task force to present recommendations

No action expected on whether to put question on ballot

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – The City Council already knows what the governmental task force is recommending.

What commissioners may not know is what led to those recommendations.

Thursday, the Dixon mayor and commissioners will hear a presentation, ask questions directly of the seven-member panel and open up discussion to the public.

The meeting is being designated as a work session; there are no action items on the agenda, meaning a vote to put a question on the ballot to adopt the city manager form of government is not expected, said Police Chief Danny Langloss, special assistant to the City Council.

The task force, appointed by Mayor Jim Burke and approved by the council to determine the best form of government for Dixon, released its formal recommendation Aug. 14 in a document copied to the mayor and each commissioner.

The recommendations called for the City Council to let citizens decide which form of government was best by asking this question on the ballot: "Shall the city of Dixon adopt the managerial form of municipal government?"

Commissioners can pass a resolution that would put that question on the ballot in November 2014, otherwise citizens would have to collect signatures of 10 percent of the number of citizens who voted in the last mayoral election to put this question on the ballot.

Task force members have said their priority is for the citizens to decide which form of government they want.

"We believe there is no greater decision a community can make than to decide its desired form of government," task force members wrote in their recommendation.

With that said, they are recommending the city manager form.

Dixon currently has the commission form, with plans to hire a city administrator in October.

In a city manager form, the manager's authority is laid out by state law. In the commission form, an administrator is given authority by ordinance passed by the City Council, among other nuances.

The mayor and commissioners have said they are in no rush to make a decision, meaning they want to talk with task force members Thursday before voting on the issue.

Burke has said he is open to seeing how the city's government runs with an administrator first.

The council has until next August to put the question on the ballot.

Aside from a task force meeting to which they were invited, and the panel's initial meeting, council members kept their distance to allow the task force's study to remain independent of their views.

Thursday is about narrowing that information gap.

Task force members are not sure what to expect, but will be ready to answer any questions the City Council throws at them, Chairwoman Marilyn Coffey said.

"We're prepared to talk about how we came up with our recommendations and what our thought processes are," Coffey said. "Hopefully, we'll have a good exchange of information."

To attend

The Dixon City Council meets with the governmental task force at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 121 W. Second St., on the second floor in the Council Chambers.

For an agenda for this meeting, minutes from past meetings or more information, go to www.discoverdixon.org or call 815-288-1485.

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