Anna plans to have home rule on ballot in 2013

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Anna residents can expect to be hearing and learning more about home rule in the coming months.

The Anna City Council is moving forward with plans to place the home rule issue before voters in the April 2013 election.

Home rule was on the agenda at a regular meeting of the city council which was held Tuesday evening, Nov. 20. The meeting was at Anna City Hall.

Last week, the council authorized city attorney John Foley to draft a resolution to have home rule on the ballot in next spring's election.

Foley was asked to have the resolution prepared so the city council can act on the measure at its next meeting, which is scheduled Tuesday, Dec. 4.

The city council will have to pass the resolution in order for the issue to be on the ballot.

In Illinois, home rule can be established in communities with a population of under 25,000 people by a vote of the people.

Anna Mayor Jim Cross has been voicing strong support to have home rule go before the voters.

"My point is to get the resolution done and get it on the ballot," Cross said.

Cross said that home rule would strengthen Anna's ability to grow – and would offer more local control for city government.

With home rule, decisions on a wide range of issues could be made at the local level – as opposed to action being taken in Springfield or Chicago, the mayor said.

One of the key issues which already has surfaced involves the ability of local governing bodies to levy taxes.

"Who's better to control taxes than the people who live here?" the mayor asked.

The council discussed the possibility of hosting representatives from other communities which have home rule government who can share their knowledge with city officials.

The mayor said that public meetings also will be conducted to help to inform and educate the community about home rule.

Home rule was just one of the topics addressed at the council's Nov. 20 meeting. In other business:

City administrator Steve Guined shared updates on several projects and possible new developments.

He said that a portion of East Davie Street which had been closed for major improvement work was expected to reopen to traffic on Wednesday, Nov. 21. The street did reopen last week.

Work still remains to be done on the improvement project, including installation of new lighting and landscaping. A municipal parking lot located along East Davie Street will be resealed next spring.

Guined noted that there are still plans for major improvements along Main Street in Anna. Grant funding for the project is being sought from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

A major water system improvement project is nearly complete. The project, which included construction of a new storage tank, was expected to wrap up in a week or two.

A sewer system improvement project was about halfway done as of last week. New lift stations were being installed.

Paving work at the city's business park and on Denny Drive, both in east Anna, was nearly done as of last week.

The council agreed to move forward with plans to install equipment at the Anna City Pool which will allow the recreational facility to meet handicapped accessibility guidelines. The work is to be done before the pool opens next year.

The city administrator also asked the council to consider the long-term future of the pool.

A local regional transportation service is looking at the possibility of developing a depot at the Anna Business Park.

The council is expected to discuss the possibility of establishing guidelines for yard sales in the community.



<p>Part of East Davie Street in Anna reopened to traffic last week. Major improvement work is being done on the street. While the street has reopened to traffic, work remains to be completed on the improvement project.</p>



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