By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD – City of Rockford aldermen on Monday passed the $156.8 million general-fund budget for 2019.
The budget includes a utility tax on natural gas and electricity, the levy that was added to the 2018 spending plan after home rule failed to pass last spring. The tax is expected to generate about $9 million.
Next year’s budget include a surplus of $280,670, cash aldermen voted to leave in the general fund for future deficits. And those funds could be handy as early as next year. While it has not been determined, leaders say a deficit is possible in 2020.
Rockford’s 2019 budget includes a flat property tax levy, which allowed the city to forgo capturing $1.5 million from property owners. It marks the sixth year Rockford has either lowered or kept the tax levy flat.
In other business, aldermen renewed the city’s parking management contract with ABM Parking Services. The contract comes with an estimated $518,317.99 for the first year and up to $877,397.83 in year five. The contract duration is five years with two additional one-year extensions, which require council approval. The funding source is Parking Fund.
The cost of a parking ticket will also increase. A $20 ticket will now be $25, a $50 ticket will increase to $60 and a $100 violation will be $120. The fine for parking in a handicap spot will increase from $250 to $350. The new rates take effect Jan. 1.
The full City Council meets on the first and third Monday of every month. Committee meetings are the second and fourth Monday. R.