Rockford Mayor’s View: City must turn challenge into opportunities

Rockford, Illinois Mayor Tom McNamara Rockford Register Star October 13, 2018 Finance + Operation

NRN presented its final report to the Rockford City Council on Tuesday and noted that with no action the city would effectively run out of money in 2023. While NRN notes that Rockford has one-third fewer staff members than our peer cities, the report also illustrated that the city could eliminate all departments and services except for police and fire and would still face a structural budget deficit.

The final 186-page report included more than 70 recommendations with total savings or new revenue worth more than $261 million. The initiatives would not necessarily be pursued simultaneously, but would help close our structural deficit and identify resources for reinvestment in key areas such as public safety, neighborhoods and economic development.

We will be thoughtful and inclusive as we work the plan and it’s possible some of the recommendations will not have my or the council’s support. As economic factors in the community and the workplace change, so will our plan.

As we look to the future, we will decide as a community what programs and services we want and how we will pay for them. With the input and commitment of our citizens, I’m confident we’ll be able to turn these challenges into opportunities and move forward together toward a prosperous future.