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Rockford Mayor Will Propose Utility Tax To Cover $5 Million Budget Shortfall

City of Rockford

Outgoing Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey will discuss a potential utility tax this evening.  

The city faces a $5 million budget shortfall, mostly due to an increase in pension costs.  In 1999 and 2001, the Illinois General Assembly lowered the public safety retirement age from 55 to 50, guaranteed annual 3 percent cost of living increases and agreed  to continue paying spouses of retired firefighters and police officers who die the same pension they got while alive.  A report says pensioners are also living longer after they retire.  

Morrissey’s proposal, according to the Register-Star, is an alternative to aldermen’s desire to tap the city’s general fund.  The proposed tax would increase the average residential customer’s electric bill by $6.30 per month and gas bill by $3.00.  It's expected to generate $8.7 million annually.  

The mayor is expected to discuss the proposal in more detail at a Finance and Personnel Committee meeting at 5 p.m. in City Hall.