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Dixon Residents May Get Chance To Vote On Controversial Sewer Rate Hike

DIXON (CBS13) — Dixon residents are furious they aren't able to vote on a controversial sewer rate hike.

Dozens of protesters marched on the city hall, saying they've collected enough signatures to get a measure on the November ballot, but the city threw the signatures out.

"That's why we're all here tonight, to address the city council and make sure they don't listen to the advice of a really bad attorney, and I hope they learn from this and get rid of this clown," said protester Richard Ropiak.

His obvious frustration after he helped collect 146 pages of signatures so residents could vote on Dixon's plan to double sewer rates on average from $24 to $48.

Protesters say those signatures were improperly tossed out by the city on a technicality.

City attorney Doug White says there's clear evidence the necessary elements were missing.

"We did a long analysis, we looked at it, it was actually a fairly easy case," he said. "They didn't include specific things like the rates that are being changed."

The fired-up residents insist that is completely untrue.

Dixon says it needs a new wastewater treatment plant that meets state pollution standards, but protesters claim there's an alternative that would cut the $30 million price tag to $500,000.

Joe Leach, the city's public works director, flatly disputes that, saying the alternative plan doesn't meet the level of treatment that's required.

"It's not the silver bullet that fixes everything," he said.

In any case, protesters say they should be allowed to make their voices heard with a vote.

The mayor said on Tuesday that the city council will consider whether to put the issue on the November Ballot at the July 8 meeting.

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