This time last week there was a sense of uneasiness at Rockford City Hall. That gut feeling turned out to be right and voters decided against a one percent sales tax. Now everyone is looking at how to deal with the repercussion. The Rockford City Council unanimously voted to support the sales tax but the community did not. Now every council member knows some tough decisions lie ahead.
Alderman Jeff Holt says, "Just because it wasn't passed doesn't mean we don't need to look forward to how we're going to improve community streets."
Capital improvements come used to come from the Road Referendum and the Motor Fuel Tax. Normally the pot is $14 million now it's about $5 million. There is nothing left to resurface neighborhood roads so the focus is on projects that have dedicated dollars from the state or would be funded through grants.
Alderman Nancy Johnson states, "Those will be at the top of the list because we don't want to lose that money that has been committed."
The public works department will make a recommendation next week to the finance committee. Most likely projects like Harrison Avenue and the Morgan Street bridge will be saved.
Bill Bittner, Director of Public Works tells 23 News, "Harrison is about 80% funded by federal money. It's a project of many millions of dollars that when you do our 20% we need significant amount."
The city needs to find a way to fund on-going engineering for the Morgan Street bridge otherwise the city will lose out in the future.
Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey would like to put the 1% sales tax on the ballot again. But until that happens and the proposal passes we still have to pay for a vehicle sticker. This is the last week that you can buy a sticker. After April 1st the cost doubles. You can buy a vehicle sticker at City Hall or 45 locations throughout Rockford. The sticker has to be displayed properly or you could receive a $100 ticket. The vehicle sticker generates $1.3 million to pay for road repairs.