Rock Island taxpayers can expect tax increases and fewer services in 2018

ROCK ISLAND-- On Monday people in Rock Island came to city hall to talk budget.

"$117 million in expenditures and $115 million in revenues makes up our 2018 budget," says Rock Island Finance Director Stephanie Masson.

Masson says the bottom line is that revenues are flat and expenditures are growing.

For 2018 the city has less money but more bills to pay which means they have to make cuts and earn money in different ways.

The first thing on the chopping block are five vacant city positions.

"Right now the police department has four vacancies, and we are reducing two of those officers and will not plan on filling those positions," says Masson.

They'll also cut two positions from public works and one from IT.

In addition the city has to hold off on some road work projects and delay buying new emergency vehicles.

Taxes are set to go up too.

"Property taxes, and that;s the piece that creates uncertainty with residents," says Masson.

That's the case for Rock Island taxpayer Dale Muller.

"I'm concerned about the tax increase and the perception it raises that Rock Island has very high taxes," says Muller.

For a house that costs $100,000, that household would pay about $60 more a year. That's about 5-dollars more per month.

"Our population has decreased, and we're trying to then cover expenses with less rooftops," says Muller.

Residents like Dale could also see an increase in sewer and garbage fees. The city is proposing a 3-percent increase in sewer fees, and 1-dollar per month increase in garbage fees. Taxpayers will also be paying an extra penny at the gas pump to add to the gasoline tax which will now total 3-cents.

City leaders say they make the budget with the citizens in mind.

"Citizens are faced with a lot of increasing costs in their households," says Masson.

City financial analysts say one of the biggest factors in coming up with the budget is money for fire and police pensions. Those are state mandated which means those expenses are final.

Monday was just a first reading of the budget. Now council members have time to look everything over. The final decision on the budget will be made on December 17.