Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara and attorney Bobbie Holzwarth spoke to the Rockford Chamber of Commerce's Government Affairs Council Friday morning on why they believe voters should support home rule returning to the city.
The duo spoke at the council's monthly meeting Friday morning at Stockholm Inn Swedish Restaurant.
McNamara and Holzwarth shared a presentation on the positives they believe home rule can bring to the community as well as some of the potential pitfalls they need to be aware of with a change in government structure.
"It allows us to get out of being hostage to the dysfunction in Springfield," McNamara said. "Right now, Springfield is able to control Rockford's destiny. There's 177 legislators in Springfield, only five of them represent our interests," McNamara added.
The council listened to the presentation and then held a closed vote on whether to support the measure moving forward. The result of that vote will be forwarded to the Rockford Chamber of Commerce's board of directors for consideration.
Rockford is currently the largest city in Illinois without home rule in place and the only city in the top 10 in population still under state control. Home rule gives the city the authority to tax and regulate without having to wait on state legislators in Springfield. It has been more than 30 years since Rockford was a home rule municipality.
Earlier this week, a notable opponent of home rule, Winnebago County Finance Committee Chairman Ted Biondo, said he does not want to see the 14-member city council and the mayor have power over the entire city.
"Explain to us what you want to do, if it's reasonable and there's a way to check the validity we'll do it," Biondo said at community conversation on home rule on Tuesday. "It's worked in the past."
McNamara and Holzwarth told the group they will continue meeting with different businesses, groups and organizations around the area leading up to the March 20th primary election where the measure will be voted on. They said the community can expect to learn more in the coming days about a series of community conversations that will be open to the public to attend and ask questions.
13 News will provide details on those community conversations when they are released.
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