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Aldermen to consider steering MFT dollars away from road improvements
By Stuart R. Wahlin
Ald. Bill Robertson (I-14) introduced a resolution whereby the Finance and Personnel Committee would begin reviewing capital improvement projects slated for 2011, “with an effort to move part or all of the motor fuel tax [MFT] dollars into the general fund to offset the projected $5.2 million deficit for Fiscal Year 2011.”
According to a Public Works Department document: “It is the purpose of the Motor Fuel Tax Fund to provide dedicated revenues from taxes on gasoline and diesel sales for road maintenance and construction. Revenues are distributed by the State of Illinois on a per capita basis from its tax on motor fuels. It is the policy of the City to use these user fee taxes on motor fuel sales exclusively for road improvement.”
The report adds, “Based upon the annual requirements of the Capital Projects Fund, funds are transferred from this Fund to the Capital Projects Fund to finance certain construction projects.”
Gasoline generates 19 cents per gallon under the MFT, while the tax on diesel fuel is 21.5 cents. The city has budgeted $5 million in anticipated MFT revenue for this year, $3.8 million of which has been slated for transfer to the Capital Projects Fund for road improvements.
If Robertson’s resolution is met with approval by fellow aldermen, however, fewer dollars will be put toward road projects next year. Instead, they would be used to avoid cuts in the general fund, meaning jobs would likely be spared.
Robertson referred the resolution to the Finance and Personnel Committee, requesting it be placed on the June 21 agenda for consideration.
→ Awarding Norwest Construction, of South Beloit, $45,936.28 for street repairs.
→ Approving $100,000 in Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) funds for the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (see “Former alderman: Using poverty funds for economic development a risky venture” in this issue). Aldermen Venita Hervey (D-5), Lenny Jacobson (D-6) and Ann Thompson-Kelly (D-7) voted “no.”
→ Awarding MWH Americas, Inc., with offices in Chicago, a $100,000 engineering agreement to perform a hydro-power assessment. The cost is payable from Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funds through the U.S. Department of Energy.
→ Awarding a $102,500 engineering agreement to WES Engineering, LLC, of Madison, Wis., to perform a large-scale wind resource and energy assessment. Funding is provided through EECBG funds.
→ Awarding a $32,540 engineering agreement to Seventh Generation Energy Systems, Inc., based in Madison, Wis., to perform a small-scale wind resource and energy assessment. Funding is provided through EECBG funds.
→ Approving a $16,500 task order to MWH Americas to investigate water quality in Well 37.
Aldermen convened in closed session to discuss litigation and personnel matters.
Craig Day, Rockford Sharefest executive director, updated aldermen on the progress of preparations for the June 18-26 event, which will give makeovers to West Middle School and Cherry Valley Elementary School. Day said about 4,000 volunteers have already signed up to work shifts, three of which are available daily. He’s hoping 4,000 more will volunteer for the school improvement project. Day is also asking that 10,000 individuals donate $20 each. He reported Sharefest is about one-third of the way to meeting its financial goal to purchase materials for the project.
Prophet Yusef spoke on behalf of homeless veterans, arguing the needs for housing, food, medical and mental care, addiction treatment and employment. He also urged the city to support organizations that help homeless veterans.
Ald. Linda McNeely (D-13) was absent.
From the June 16-22, 2010 issue