Like several area communities, Rockton is having major growing pains, pains that are putting an extra strain on the village budget. But help could be on the way to help some of that financial stress. With Wal-Mart coming to town the village’s sales tax revenue is climbing from $200,000 to a whopping $1 million.
Tuesday night, the Rockton Village Board approved a development agreement to improve Rockton Road. That's needed since Wal-Mart is moving in to the area of Rockton Road and Highway 251. Bids are going out to improve Rockton Road from 251 to Highway 2. There will be six lanes and signals at Dorr Road. Wal-Mart has a tendency to be the selling point for other retail businesses and commercial developments to move to town. Right now the village is struggling financially. The general fund is depleted and basically the village lives month to month.
Village President Dale Adams tells 23 News, “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel we know the revenue will come in. We think we can lower property taxes. That's always been a problem. But we didn't have retail or commercial development to offset homeowner’s tax burden."
Another hot issue in Rockton right now is Home Rule. In March that is the only issue on the ballot. If Home Rule is approved that too will help lower property tax. Rockton and Rockford are traveling down the same road. The City of Rockford is struggling to find money to pay to fix them. That's why the Mayor's proposing a 1% sales tax hike. The idea is to take the tax burden off property owners and put it on everyone.