State of the City Preview

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Rockford's mayor will give his second state of the city address Tuesday.

It's been a challenging year financially for the city, and that will be one of the main topics Mayor Doug Scott will talk about. Budget shortfalls and tax increases have dominated much of the talk around city hall lately. Mayor Scott said his state of the city address will be a realistic but hopeful vision for the city's future.

Rockford's mayor says the past year has been a traumatic one for the city, from terror attacks to economic struggles. In his state of the city address he will talk about how the city has responded on both levels.

"I'm going to be very realistic about the fact that some of the city finances are having a difficult time just as other cities and states are across the country. And some of our responses to that," says Scott.

Scott says raising taxes is one solution that has to be considered.

"The general fund is hurting and that's what we use to fund police and fire and public works services. I personally don't think it's a good time to back off of these services. So we have to look at additional revenue," says Scott.

But some Rockford aldermen think the city needs to take focus on creative ways to generate money.
Alderman Franklin Beach (10th Ward) says, "I think what we're missing now is plans of how we can tighten our belt buckle and see how there can be more creative ways to get money to keep service but at a lower cost. I think at sometime there may be some recommendations but we need to see all of that before we just go and raise taxes."

While there's bound to be plenty of debate at the state of the city address, it's also a time for city officials to celebrate successes and highlight the positive. Last week the city council voted to raise the water tax by three percent and it's also considering increasing the city's telecommunications tax by six percent.

Mayor Scott's state of the city luncheon address will take place Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. at the Clocktower. The public is invited but there is a cost for the lunch. Contact Rockford's Chamber of Commerce for more information.