Rockford voters choose to renew 1% sales tax for roadways

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 9:38 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Road improvements will now be funded over the next five years as voters check yes to renew the road referendum.

“There are literally hundreds of roads that we’ve done,” Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said.

“People want to know what their tax dollars are going for,” Rockford Area Realtors CEO Conor Brown said.

In convincing fashion, Rockford voters renew a 1% sales tax to improve roadways, and McNamara says it is the right decision.

“If you’re not voting yes for this what you’re saying is you like the old way and the old way is putting this burden on your property taxes which I think is really foolish,” McNamara said.

The sales tax was implemented in May of 2007 when nearly 58% of voters approved it. Since then McNamara says the tax brings in about 16 million dollars annually and that is only the beginning.

“The beauty of this is we’re able to leverage these dollars to bring state and federal funds to the city of Rockford,” McNamara said. “Over the last 10 years, we’ve been able to leverage on average 17 and a half million dollars a year.”

McNamara says the city has been able to avoid hefty interest rates because of the sales tax. It also brings dollars to the city through sales made to residents outside Rockford.

“30% of it is paid for by people who don’t live here,” McNamara said. “The old way was putting 100% of the burden solely on people who not only live here but own properties it doesn’t make sense.”

Brown says the referendum increases property value for homeowners and shows commitment to improving the forest city.

“The fact that these funds have to be spent on actual roads actual infrastructure that can’t just be pushed into the general fund,” Brown said.

The city has 43 projects on its capital improvement program for the next 4 years which include reconstruction of Whitman, Charles, and W State streets.

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