WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WREX) —In this year's election, Winnebago County voters have the potential to change how the government is run.
On the ballot, people have the option to change from a township form of government to an executive form of government.
The difference? The latter gives the chairman or chief executive the opportunity to oversee the county board while sharing decision-making abilities with it.
Right now, Winnebago County runs a township form of government. That means the county board has the majority of the decision making abilities.
And while people have the option to change that, many leaders are seeing that people think they are voting for something else.
In the referendum, the term home rule is used.
And while this referendum does not change Winnebago county to a home rule county, many voters think it does.
"This will not trigger home rule. We are currently a non-home rule (county). In order to get home rule, it would take a second referendum," said Winnebago County Board Member Jean Crosby.
"As the question that is on our ballot now, we would adopt a county executive without home rule. And then later if someone wanted to add a referendum, they could," Winnebago County Board Member Paul Arena.
Winnebago County Board Member Jean Crosby believes we should move to an executive form of government because she says the executive chief should have more decision making abilities.
"The chairman has no power at all. He is not involved in the budget, he isn't involved in hiring, he isn't involved in hardly anything," said Crosby.
While fellow Winnebago County Board Member Paul Arenas says he does not agree, and says the county should wait until a new chairman takes over before making any major changes.
"I think that this is an overreaction to an administration that is a disappointment," said Arena.
If the referendum is voted in, it would not take into effect until 2024.