Two million dollars in budget cuts may soon roll through Rockford's general fund to help improve our streets. The city needs to make up for the sales tax referendum that failed last March.
The threat of budget cuts is free publicity for the importance of a similar referendum that will appear on our April ballots. But in the meantime, it could mean salary freezes or cuts for some city workers.
Road improvements ground to a halt when voters rejected last year's referendum. Now nine aldermen have asked Mayor Morissey to pull money from elsewhere to fix up neighborhood streets throughout the city, until voters decide whether to pass a new referendum to fund road construction.
"We're putting everything on the table, trying to find ways that we can, you know, keep the taxes as low as possible. And I think the main thing we're looking at is how we can unified make a great effort to promote the one percent sales tax, I think that is crucial," says Alderman Victory Bell, 5th ward.
The council is also considering borrowing from the city's reserve funds. They would then pay the money back if the new sales tax referendum passes April 17th. If not, even more cuts would be on the way.
Budget cuts could include freezing non-union salaries and a one percent cut across the legal, public works, community development and finance departments. Some cuts may go through even if the April referendum passes.