ROCKFORD — Every year, Rockford has a lobbying group in Springfield that works to support bills that would bring back funding for Rockford or change current laws that would benefit the city. The city council votes each year on the priorities they want their lobbyist to focus on in the state’s capitol with this year’s list placing a dire focus on pension reform.
The city says that its contribution to pension funding will jump 40% from 2022 to 2024 which will cost the city nearly $31 million dollars. The outlook for pension funding only gets more grim further into the future with Rockford’s entire operating tax levy projected to be eaten up by pension contributions in just eight years (2031). The city projects it’s contribution of $26.7 million this year will nearly triple by 2040 to $67.6 million. The city, along with several other municipalities say reform is necessary to have any chance at keeping a feasible budget.
Rockford will also prioritize public safety with a specific focus on domestic violence, juvenile crime and emergency response costs. The city wants more funding for the Family Peace Center, services to help kids in trouble with the law and to craft new laws to separate non-emergency calls from true emergencies. Rockford specifically wants a way to get paid back by facilities who call for lift assists, saying the majority of these calls are just staff refusing to pick up their own patients.
The city also wants more funding for law enforcement training, especially to have them prepared to help people in a mental health crisis. Rockford’s report acknowledges the state gave some help with this last year with a $100,000 grant to help train and recruit officers with Rockford University, but still points to unfunded mandates passed through the SAFE-T Act putting a major stress on the city’s budget.
Other priorities include mental health, state tax distribution, capital projects, economic development, blight reduction, cutting down unfunded mandates, more funding for lead line replacement and more funding for the Goodwill Excel Center.
You can read more in depth about all of these issues HERE.
Source: William Ingalls, Original Article Here