UPDATE (WIFR) -- Rockford city council has until March to pass the 2013 budget which stands at $117 million dollars.
The proposed budget is going back to committee and this time around alderman say they hope to make some progress.
Some of the issues include the police department's chunk of the budget. Council members say they don't feel like they fully understand the city's geo-policing strategy and they want to know exactly how the $300,000 line item will be used. But Monday night the Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey said he's already given them all the information they need.
The mayor says if aldermen don't like the $300,000r line item for geo-policing they should take it out of the budget. The mayor will only vote if there's a tie.
The mayor says no matter what happens with the budget, geo-policing will still move forward.
Monday night the city refused to identify buildings in Rockford that are being considered for new police stations.
Many on the council say they haven’t received enough information about the city's new geo policing program and there's been little communication about the plan. Specifically, aldermen say they still don't know where the three district headquarters would be located, how much leases for those spaces would cost, and how long those rental agreements would be. Until those details are made clear, several on the council won't let the budget move forward, saying they don't want to write a blank check for a program they don't understand.
“I think the aldermen have clearly expressed on many occasions our concerns. It’s responsible on our part but yet it seems like they're still moving forward. I don’t; fault them for that, and the only way we can to that is perhaps to say no on a vote tonight,” says Alderman Frank Beach (R) 10th Ward. Beach says he is optimistic the budget will eventually get approved.
Many of the aldermen hope Monday’s vote will prompt the mayor's office and police department to be more up front about the geo-policing plan. The only update they've received is the chief hired a geo-policing commander for District 2. There was no mention of what's next, if the budget goes back to committee or if it will be on next week’s agenda. Either way, aldermen have to decide on something before the end of March. If nothing is passed by that deadline, the city would have to adopt last year's budget, and that could mean deeper, unplanned cuts for the city. This year's budget is balanced, in part because of voluntary cuts from each department.