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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

Rockford City Council Approves $168 Million Budget

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Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
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Rockford City Hall

The Rockford City Council approved a $168 million budget for 2021 amid an economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carrie Hagerty is the finance director with the City of Rockford. She said that the goal for the new budget is to weather the ongoing financial pressure of the pandemic.

“We don't anticipate any changes in staffing levels in this budget. So we're really just maintaining the levels of service that we are providing today, through the 2021 budget,” said Hagerty.

The budget includes over $700,000 in funding for police body-worn cameras. The City is still reviewing a number of possible grants for cameras so the full cost is still unclear. Another $1.5 million is assigned to the Rockford Promise NIU scholarship program. Leaders hope new casino revenue will help cover the cost of that program in the future. 

Hagerty said income tax receipts have not dropped as expected, but the City collected $4 million less in sales tax receipts than projected. But she is confident that the revenue from sales tax will increase rapidly as employment recovers.

  • Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.