Rockford City Council prepares to welcome new decade with growing infrastructure

Published: Dec. 2, 2019 at 10:45 PM CST
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"It's important to have a number of tools in the toolbox."

Productivity was the name of the game at the second to last Rockford City Council meeting of 2019.

Alderpersons approved a number of proposals, including the lease of three new engines and one ladder truck for the fire department.

"Our firefighters live and work out of the fire stations, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and they're always there. These little things make a big difference and we hope to continue that, we hope to continue to provide better facilities, better services that we can provide and ultimately, that translates to better services for the citizens," said Rockford Fire Department Division Chief Matthew Knott.

Councilmembers also approved a tax increase on parking for daily drivers and monthly permit holders starting in January, as a way to bring more money back to improving infrastructure.

"What it translates to is either a 9 or 6 percent increase for our parking rate payers that just goes straight down to the state, to help pay additional statewide construction projects," said City of Rockford Finance Director Carrie Hagerty.

Four abandoned properties were approved for demolition, pushing forward Rockford’s partnership with the Northern Illinois Land Bank to improve the region.

"We also want to preserve our tax base, foster redevelopment, utilizing the Land Bank to acquire property that's tax delinquent, get it in the hands of a property owner that's willing to redevelop. That allows us to move forward with stabilizing our neighborhoods," said Rockford City Administrator Todd Cagnoni.

Rockford alderpersons also officially approved the 2020 through 2024 Capital Improvement Program, a $51 million plan to invest in the city's neighborhoods and spark development.