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Dixon City Council Opponent Says Rooster Ban Is 'Last Straw' Before Recall Effort Begins

By Kelly Ryan

DIXON (CBS13) — A fight over a rooster ban in Dixon could cost four city council members their jobs after they voted to keep the birds out of city limits.

When the Dixon City Council recently voted to outlaw roosters, they got served.

"We had a citizen stand up and serve an intent to circulate a petition for the recall of four council members," said City Manager Jim Lindley.

That citizen is former city councilman Michael Ceremello.

"This is part of our heritage, part of what makes Dixon Dixon," he said. "It's why a lot of us moved here."

The City Council voted unanimously to ban roosters within the city limits.

"We had a complaint there were rooster crowing at all hours of the night and so we had a citizen ask if we would outlaw them," Lindley said.

The issue had been brought up in discussion before with no complaints, so it wasn't thought to be a contentious issue.

"No one wants to have trouble sleeping all night especially if there's an animal causing the disturbance," Lindley said.

But the vote disturbed Cheremello.

"They're trying to eliminate the roosters off of one complaint?" he said.

Cheremello says he and a small group of citizens were already planning to recall the council members over rate hikes for the construction of a new sewer system.

"The rooster issue was pretty much the last straw," he said.

Lindley acknowledges those fighting the ban aren't just concerned about roosters.

"Their contention is it's just one more thing that the city council is trying to control," he said.

The group must get signatures from 25 percent of registered voters, or about 2,000 of them. If they do, it will be costly for the city.

"If we are submitted valid signatures we could be forced to call a special election which would cost the city upwards of $100,000," Lindley said.

But Cheremello says it's an issue of freedom.

"That's taking away rights," he said. "We took away the rights for people to own a rooster."

While he recognizes he can't change the fate of Dixon's roosters, Cheremello's confident he can and will get enough signatures to change the face of the city council.

"They might as well resign," he said.

The rooster ban goes into effect in 30 days. Petitioners say they will begin gathering signatures for the recall in the next few weeks.

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