During public participation, Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau President/CEO David Preece spoke briefly about the bureaus latest out-of-town ad campaign before turning his attention to the road referendum the council is considering.
Its obvious that we have pressing needs for infrastructure and transportation, roads improvement, in our area, Preece said in support of the sales tax increase. Not only from the perspective of the local residents and quality of life issues, but also from tourism/development standpoint.
Also during public comments, president of the Greater Rockford Transportation Coalition, Brad Englin, argued against Ald. Jeff Holts (D-11) proposal to fund road improvements by issuing $10 million in bonds.
If we can get the 1 percent increase in place, we can begin to retire the bond issues that are still outstanding from years past and help lower the property tax bill of every Rockford property owner, business owners included, Englin argued. By creating a pay-as-you-go system, if you will, we eliminate putting all our road repairs on the city credit card and paying, on average, $1.3 to $1.5 million for every million dollars we bond.
Rockford Apartment Association President Paul Arena also addressed the council regarding the referendum during public participation.
Many people on a fixed income have their home, which should be an asset, become a liability as they struggle to pay rising property taxes, Arena explained, favoring a sales tax increase. Property owners in the City of Rockford contribute their fair share to the community.
Rockford Linear Actuation, Inc., President Robert Trojan warned high property taxes are keeping manufacturers out of Rockford.
By keeping tax rates of your property down, Trojan said during public participation, it will help encourage companies to locate here as well as keep the companies that are here in the area.
The Rockford Area Hotel-Motel Association founder, Brian Brown, spoke during public comments about the investments local hotels have made for improvements, and said Rockford streets need the same attention.
Our visitors coming to Rockford are extremely happy and impressed with what our hotel community has done so far, Brown reported, and then they get the pleasure of driving on our roads.
Brown also supports the sales tax increase over the issuing of road bonds.
The Rockford City Council approved an engineering agreement for the North Main and Auburn roundabout with Hanson Professional Services of Springfield, Ill., for $369,663. The Illinois Department of Transportation has pledged $400,000 to the project. The city would be responsible for any costs over that amount.
The council also approved an engineering agreement for Harrison Avenue with Stanley and Associates in the amount of $230,922 for design services, funded by the Motor Fuel Tax.
Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) announced the nomination of Mike Hakanson to replace Daniel McGrail on the Centre Events Board of Directors. Hakansons term would end in June of 2012, and the appointment has been laid over for 30 days.
Hakanson is employed by Gambino Realtors, serves as vice chairman of the Winnebago County Republican Central Committee and sits on the Community Focus Group addressing the countys long-term land use plan and Unified Development Ordinance.
Morrissey reminded aldermen and the community of a seminar to be held at 1:30 p.m. in the classrooms of the Public Safety Building Jan. 25. The seminar will focus on community policing and will feature guest speaker Herman Goldstein from the University of Wisconsin.
The mayor thanked city crews for their recent snow removal efforts.
Ald. Doug Mark (R-3) reminded community groups of a Feb. 1 deadline for grant applications through the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois.
Mark praised the Rockford Symphony Orchestra for being named the 2007 Orchestra of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras.
The formation of the Jackson School, Preston/Central and West Side No. 2 Redevelopment Areas as Tax Increment Financing districts was approved by the council.
The council gave final approval to a $33,180 deal with B&H Industries of Rockford for a large-scale scanner and printer for the Engineering Division.
Aldermen Pat Curran (R-2), Ann Thompson-Kelly (D-7) and Bill Timm (R-9) were not present.
From the Jan. 24-30, 2007, issue