Rockford, Illinois News

Rockford aldermen approve 2021 budget

ROCKFORD — The Rockford City Council has passed a balanced 2021 budget.

The $168.5 million spending plan was passed Monday, Dec. 7.

“The pandemic has put a strain on everyone’s budgets and the city is no exception,” Mayor Tom McNamara said. “However, we were able to make some cuts and pass a balanced budget, while still adding funding for important projects, like body worn cameras for the police department and the Rockford Promise NIU Scholarship program.”

Items included in the budget include a flat property tax levy, which leaves approximately $2.14 million in revenue the city could otherwise have collected from taxpayers.

Aldermen also approved $450,000 for the cost of lease, storage and maintenance of body worn cameras, as well as $284,000 for additional staff– two people to manage video data, one contract staff person to support the cameras and one legal staff member to handle FOIA and records requests. A competitive proposal process to select the body worn cameras vendor is currently underway.

Other budget items:

  • $1.5 million annual contribution to Rockford Promise. This amount will be paid from the general fund as an advance from the future casino revenue. The general fund balance will be restored when casino revenue is received.
  • A pension contribution of more than $22 million – an increase of 9.1% from 2020.
  • Equalized assessed valuation (EAV) expected to increase an estimated 5.6% in 2020. An increased EAV means property values are continuing to increase and results in a lower property tax rate.
  • A variety of vacant city positions will be left open, and all positions will be evaluated prior to being filled.
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