County and City Leaders Discuss Development, Casino Money

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A pledge to better work together advances as leaders from the city of Rockford and Winnebago County unite to brainstorm ways to boost economic development.

The meeting between Winnebago County Board members and Rockford aldermen started off well with discussions about how to bring more jobs here and cut down on crime. They hope to create a better regional strategy for economic development. For example, both governments sometimes compete for the same grant dollars, so they want to eliminate those situations by bringing together the city and county's economic development teams. A large part of the conversation dealt with what to do with revenue from a potential Rockford casino. Most of the board members say they're behind a 60-40 split. Rockford aldermen aren't ready to commit to a number.

“We can look at Elgin, we can look at Aurora, we can look Peoria, we can see how other communities have handled this issue and I think we should use that for some guidance. Whether its 30 percent or 40 percent or 25 percent, of nothing is still nothing," said 4th Ward Alderman Kevin Frost.

The gaming bill is expected to come up again during the fall session. At Wednesday’s meeting, leaders said they want a revenue sharing agreement hashed out before that session starts.

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