DIXON – The City Council is unanimously in favor of putting a question on the ballot asking citizens if they want to adopt the city manager form of government.
Each commissioner said Monday that Dixon residents should be allowed to make that decision.
Last month, a governmental task force appointed by Mayor Jim Burke and approved by the council, recommended a city manager form of government and asked commissioners to put the question on the November 2014 ballot, which is the soonest it can be asked.
The city manager form gives executive authority to the city manager and policymaking authority to elected officials, while Dixon’s current commission form gives both executive and policymaking authority to elected officials, among other nuances.
The mayor said last month he would like to see the question on the ballot, but the four other commissioners said they would need more time to think about it.
Monday, the city’s attorney, Rob LeSage, asked the council for some direction, and if he should start drafting a resolution to create the referendum.
“Go ahead,” said Commissioner Jeff Kuhn.
Commisioner David Blackburn agreed.
Commissioners Colleen Brechon and Dennis Considine said they were in favor of the referendum, but not necessarily changing Dixon’s form of government.
Brechon said she is in favor of hiring a city administrator, but she would need more information before endorsing a city manager. Considine, on the other hand, was more blunt.
“I think it’s up to the people to make the choice,” Considine said. “But I’m 100 percent against the managerial form of government. ... I’ll campaign heavily against it.”
The council can’t adopt the resolution until November, because a referendum can’t be placed on the ballot more than a year in advance of the election, LeSage said.
Also Monday, the council disbanded the governmental task force.
Kuhn gave an update on the city streets resurfacing project. He said tarring and chipping is finished for those streets under construction and blacktopping should be completed in the next 2 to 3 weeks.
Additionally, East Third Street from Artesian Place to Steel Avenue and South Dement from Third to Fifth streets will be added to construction plans for blacktop resurfacing.
The mayor reminded residents they cannot burn leaves at any time in city limits.
Finally, the council entered into an agreement to retrofit lighting in the city’s garages for about $5,500, Kuhn said. The new lighting will save the city on energy costs.