DIXON – The mayor is on board with the governmental task force's recommendation, but city commissioners will wait to make their decisions.
The governmental task force presented recommendations to the Dixon City Council on Thursday, centered around creating a referendum asking citizens if the city should adopt the managerial form of government.
The seven-member panel, appointed by Mayor Jim Burke and approved by the majority of the council, was tasked with suggesting the best form of government for Dixon.
The task force said the city should adopt the city manager form and requested the council pass a resolution for the November 2014 ballot asking: "Shall the city of Dixon adopt the managerial form of municipal government?"
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 and he or she is given executive authority.
In the commission form, an administrator is given authority by ordinance passed by the City Council, but commissioners have final executive authority, among other nuances.
Burke told those in attendance he is in favor of putting the question on the ballot.
He said initial comments made to the media about "waiting and seeing" how the city administrator worked out were made shortly after the recommendation was released, and he has had more time to think about the task force's suggestions.
The rest of the City Council was not ready to say if the question should be on the ballot.
Commissioner Jeff Kuhn said he needs more time to "wrestle with the question." He wants to talk to other communities and citizens before rushing into a decision.
"We have until November 2014 to digest this," said Commissioner David Blackburn. "Regardless of what the editorial board of the newspaper says, we need to be methodical and get feedback from the community."
Commissioner Colleen Brechon said the council should take its time to come to a sound solution.
Finally, Commissioner Dennis Considine said the task force had the right mindset, but he has reservations about changing the form in reaction to former comptroller Rita Crundwell's theft of nearly $54 million in city funds.
Considine said the city gave too much trust to one person.
However, the commisioner said he has given thought to the city's future and will withhold his opinion upon more examination.
Also, Considine said that citizens will ultimately decide the form, because they can petition to put questions on the ballot.
Citizens would have to collect 252 signatures, which is 10 percent of the number of citizens who voted in the last mayoral election, to put the managerial question on the ballot.
Task force member Jack Schrauth said letting citizens collect petitions to put questions on the ballot could work against the best interest of the city.
The panel worked closely with the city's attorney to make sure its single question would make the transition, if the referendum passed, as smooth as possible, Scrauth said.
"It doesn't take much to get the question on the ballot," Schrauth said Thursday. "In other communities, having more than one question has caused chaos."
The task force also recommended creating committees, a code of ethics and a training program for newly elected officials.
The Dixon City Council is scheduled to meet 6:30 p.m. Tuesday 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.