Sales Tax pitch

By: Narina Crain
By: Narina Crain

The proposed one percent sales tax increase will be Rockford’s main source of funding for street projects this year.

"I think you've got to remember this is our road referendum. It's how we fund our capital projects on our roads," says Bill Bittner, director of Rockford public works.

We won't see many barricades on our neighborhood streets if the one percent sales tax hike isn't approved. Failure to pass this referendum will force many projects to be canceled.

"If the public chooses not to invest in streets we will not have much of a street program for this year," says Bittner.

The Auburn Street project will be finished regardless of this proposal. But many future projects depend on it. As an incentive for the sales tax increase Rockford city council promises to lower Rockford’s property tax rate by 20 percent over the next ten years if the increase is approved.

"Property tax is a huge problem in Rockford. We've got to constantly look for ways to cut back," says Joe Sosnowski, 1st Ward Alderman.

City council will also eliminate the vehicle sticker fee.

"It's costly to run the program. People don't like it... it's a nice program to get rid of," says Sosnowski.

There is a strong showing of support from both democrats and republicans in city government on this issue.

"You don't usually find government bodies with 14 members and a mayor completely unanimous as far as a decision. But this is the first time we've had a decision where everyone is in agreement," says Sosnowski.

All of the aldermen will also be scrambling to find funding for road projects if the sales tax hike is not approved.


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