Rockford presents balanced 2019 budget

ROCKFORD – City of Rockford administration, on Monday, proposed a balanced $156.8 million for 2019.

Monday’s presentation was part of an information-only session. Aldermen have until March 30, 2019 to approve a spending plan.

According to Monday’s proposal, the city is consolidating the first of several funds into the general fund to comply with common practices in municipal accounting. The move reflects a consolidation of the sanitation fund and the audit fund into the general fund, increasing the general fund by approximately $9.4 million on both the expense and revenue side. And while the consolidation makes the plan appear disproportionately larger than last year, it won’t have an impact on the budget.

Highlights of the proposal include an overall staff reduction of 11 full-time equivalent positions from 2018 to 2019 and a flat property-tax levy, a move that leaves around $1.5 million the city could otherwise have collected from Rockford property owners. According to county data, the city’s Equalized assessed valuation (EAV) will likely increase by estimated 4 percent in 2018, which equates to lower property tax rate.

The second year of the city’s five-year vehicle replacement program includes $5.8 million in equipment purchases that will be offset by $5.8 million in revenue from leases, the budget states.

The City of Rockford will increase its pension contribution to $17.5 million next year, a 2-percent increase mandated by the State of Illinois. Staff recommends spending $240,000 to replace Rockford’s Police Records Management System (PRMS), which will be at the end of its life at the end of 2018. The new system allows area law-enforcement agencies, including the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office, to access a single county-wide database

City staff has been working with the National Resource Network for the past year to present a balanced budget and is already implementing some of the firm’s recommendations. Some of the recommendations include increased health care insurance premiums for non-union employees, a measure expected to save the city $323,000; ongoing sale of city-owned properties using the Multiple Listing Service and other methods.

The city has also implemented civil “notice to appear” ordinances, which allows Rockford to process violations for certain crimes in an administrative hearing process as opposed to a court proceeding. The move frees up policing and court resources and allows the city to retain fines. R.

 

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