The End of 2005 Means the Beginning of the 2006 City Budget Process

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The big issues are public safety and roads. It's part of a proposed balanced city budget that calls for more additions than subtractions.

With expected revenues at $224 million, and planned expenses at $208 million, Rockford should be in the black.

With that, the budget looks to add on, not cut back. It calls for a $275,000 increase in public safety spending, and city salary increases of 6.5 percent.

However, Rockford homeowners would have to pay either $9 or $15 more a year in local taxes.

That depends on next spring's street referendum, which will ask voters to approve about nine million dollars in road repairs. Nonetheless, most aldermen say at first glance, the budget looks good.

"It's always a nice feeling to go into the budget process knowing you have a little breathing room, you don't have to lay anybody off, you can do some capital expenses, those types of things that make the job a little bit easier for the aldermen," Nancy Johnson said.

Rockford's finance team spent the last several weeks working on the 2006 budget proposal. It estimates there will be more than seven million dollars in new revenue for the city's general fund.

There will be at least one budget retreat in January. The city council is expected to vote on the budget in February.