Budget In, Drive in Out

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Rockford's 2007 budget gets final approval and it includes a healthy dose of funds for neighborhood roads.
Rockford's city council unanimously approves the city's $240 million operating budget Monday night, after a lengthy debate over how to set aside money for neighborhood road improvements.
In the end, aldermen decided to assign an extra one million dollars from the city's general fund to fix up battered local streets. That's on top of $2.45 million originally allocated for that purpose. The nearly three and a half million will be available to fund road projects this year.
But Mayor Larry Morrissey says the city still needs its road referendum to pass in Aril.
"It's outrageous what this community has paid in property taxes, we have to reduce that trend and the only way to do it that makes sense is to get the people that don't live in Rockford but use our roads to finally, finally help start paying for it," says Mayor Morrissey.
Also Monday night, the council's codes and regulations committee voted not to approve zoning to revive a drive-in movie theater on Samuelson Road. Residents of a neighboring condominium community fear it would bring late-night noise and traffic.
"These people are mostly retirees who have given a lot to this city and to have this thrown into their area so suddenly has been quite a shock," says neighbor Jim McLaughry.
The full council could still vote to overturn the committee's recommendation and allow the drive-in to come back. The matter will come before the full council within the next couple weeks. The main concern is whether the developers would build a large enough barrier between the theater and its neighbors.