Jan. 16 Rockford City Council briefs

Rockford Ald. Doug Mark (R-3) announced the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois Honor Guard will hold its 15th annual convention in Rockford Feb. 2-4. The event is expected to bring more than 300 fire fighters and their families to the Forest City.

Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) proclaimed January to be National Blood Donor Month in Rockford. Joined by Rock River Valley Blood Center Public Relations Manager Jennifer Bowman, the mayor explained 43,000 units of blood are needed in our area this year. The mayor urged the community to pay tribute to donors and asked businesses, civic and service organizations to implement donor groups.

Morrissey announced a Jan. 25 community policing seminar featuring guest speaker Herman Goldstein of the University of Wisconsin. The event is open to the public.

The mayor thanked members of the Human Services Department for making the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day a success.

Morrissey defended his plan to place a road referendum on the April ballot. The referendum would ask voters to approve either a three-quarter to 1-cent sales tax increase. The mayor said a property tax increase would be unfair.

“We should not sit back and watch as our citizens continue to move to competing cities that have a much lower property tax,” Morrissey said. “The system we have now is also unfair to our citizens and flood victims who expected us, over the years, to be investing in storm-water management and other critical capital projects when, in fact, our road bond funding mechanism simply was never designed to meet those needs.”

The mayor added, “The old road bond program was, and will continue to be, unless we change it, a property tax increase that fails to do the job right and lets out-of-towners drive on our roads, but not pay for them.”

Responding to a similar sales tax referendum that failed 10 months ago, Ald. Jeff Holt (D-11) introduced a resolution as an alternative to the mayor’s plan. Holt suggested issuing $10 million in bonds, backed by property taxes, to fund Rockford’s much-needed road improvements.

The Finance and Personnel Committee has since pushed the 1-cent sales tax increase ahead to the full council for consideration. Feb. 12 is the deadline for placing a referendum on the April ballot.

Ald. Mark announced Michael Goldberg as the Coronado’s new executive director. “For a long time, we talked about restoring the body of the Coronado, and now I believe that we’ve restored the soul,” said Mark.

The mayor thanked the Public Works Department for its snow removal efforts during the weekend’s snowfall.

The Council awarded Rock River Energy Services, of Oregon, Ill., $4,800 for electricity consulting services.

From the Jan. 24-30, 2007, issue

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