Rock Island considers increasing some taxes and fees in 2018

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — In the 2018 budget, city staff has come up with ways to make up for less revenue and more expenses; possibilities in the budget proposal are to continue functioning without fully-staffed departments and to increase some taxes and fees.

The $117.1 million budget that will be presented to the Rock Island City Council on Monday, November 20th includes $35.1 million in the General Fund.  City staff explain in the proposal that over the last two years Rock Island has seen a deficit in their general fund, so they are trying to make temporary adjustments.

“Failure to permanently address the funding shortfalls now will impact the future financial stability of the city,” read a statement from the city.   Decreased revenue, rising pension costs, higher personnel expenses and higher health care costs are what the city is trying to combat in this budget.

How the city plans to earn money back

  • 3% increase to sewer fees (supports the Sewer Fund, not the General Fund)
  • $1 monthly increase in the refuse fee (supports the Refuse Fund, not the General Fund)
  • Increased ambulance fees
  • 1-cent increase in gas tax (pushing it from 2 cents to 3 cents)
  • A nearly 9% increase in the property tax rate to increase the property tax levy by $1,101,216.  Since the city’s portion of the total property tax bill is 23%, any changes made to the property tax rate apply to that percentage only.  For example, this proposed increase would be less than $5 extra per month for a $100,000 home.

How the city plans to reduce their expenses

  • The five vacant positions (two in the police department, two in public works and one in information technologies) will stay vacant with no plans to hire.  Hiring for positions in other city departments will be delayed.
  • Hold off on buying vehicles for the fire and public works departments
  • Hold off on road work projects
  • Reduce materials and supplies for public works

Click here to read the budget proposal

Multiple meetings will be held in between Monday’s initial presentation and the final approval on December 18th. One of the meetings may be public, depending on the City Council’s property tax increase recommendation.

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