Rockford city council members could approve the 2014 budget ahead of schedule and with money to spare. Last year, aldermen didn't even move the spending plan out of committee until mid-December. It went back to Finance & Personnel before getting final approval in February. Monday night, committee members unanimously approved the 2014 budget. It was laid over on the full council floor.
City Finance Director Chris Black says the $129 million proposed general fund budget is positive by a little more than $8,000. That wasn't the case last week.
"When the budget was considered by Finance & Personnel Committee on November 25th, we were looking at a deficit of about $190,000." -Black explains.
Hiring five more officers to the Rockford Police Department added another $175,000 to the shortfall.
"We made up the total deficit with a transfer from the Sanitation Fund of about $375,000." -Black says.
This is a one-time transfer. The Finance Department brought over a little more than what was needed in case other last minute costs come up, like an increase in the fee schedule. The Sanitation Fund is also helping remove some of the city's blight. Dollars from that fund will be used to take down more abandoned homes.
"The city council decided to use some reserve funds from our Sanitation Fund to do an additional 50 demolitions at a cost of about $500,000." -Black says.
Also included in the budget, a flat property tax levy. Full council is scheduled to vote on the spending plan next week. Finance & Personnel Committee Chairwoman Alderman Venita Hervey encourages city council members to use these next several days to think about any possible amendments they'd like to make.
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