DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — A fiery discussion over government change is now completely up to the people.
In and hour of heated debate and public comment, city council members voted to strike a resolution from Tuesday night’s agenda.
It was aimed at opposing the change in government from a mayor to a city manager. Some council members say it’s not their place to make a statement.
Several people spoke about the change during public comments even though it was no longer on the agenda. The mayor told people attending the meeting saying they wouldn’t enforce the rule about not discussing issues not on the agenda.
Some council members made it clear they wouldn’t insert themselves into a group discussion before next month’s referendum. They claimed if they voted on it, it wouldn’t be representative of people in their districts, but rather personal.
It’s the first time in several decades people here have had a voice in the type of government they prefer. It’s what they ultimately say people should give guidance on.
The group, Moving Danville Forward, has been pushing the idea since earlier this year.
More than 700 people signed a petition supporting the change and a judge signed off on it as a ballot question. It asks voters if they want to adopt a city manager form of government and change the mayor position to part-time.
Also at the meeting, a majority of council members voted to approve accepting the SAFER federal grant. It will give the city more than $1 million to help hire six firefighters.
The local firefighters’ union says it will help cut back on overtime immediately, but some council members had concerns about the budget when the money runs out in three years. Others say they’ll worry about it when the time comes.
The grant will pay for about 75% of the costs of those firefighters for the first two years, then about one-third for the third year. After that, the city will be on the hook.