Our View: Silver lining behind dire report is officials who are willing to act

Rockford, Illinois Rockford Register Star Editorial Board Rockford Register Star October 13, 2018 Finance + Operation

If Rockford officials don’t change the way they do things, the city will run out of money in five years. Not 20 years from now. Not 10 years from now. Five years. Before you panic and tell your realtor to put up a for sale sign, know that you have a mayor and city council who are committed to acting to fix the city’s problems before they become dire.

That’s why city officials sought the advice of the National Resource Network. The NRN report that aldermen saw is not so much a wake-up call as a call to action. City officials already knew how bad the financial picture was, but they needed help from an outside group — a fresh set of eyes — to identify possible solutions.

The NRN “Rockford Plan” is a seven-year blueprint for change. To us, it’s the right mix of urgency and farsightedness. NRN has offered options and the mayor and council will determine which options are best for the city and its residents.

We don’t envy the task before city officials. They are going to upset some people and groups as they make difficult decisions. As we’ve pointed out on multiple occasions, the mayor and aldermen live here, shop here and pay taxes here. They want a vibrant community as much — if not more — than you do.

They have some tough calls ahead of them. The future of the city depends on their ability to make them.