Rockford staff pass up negotiated pay raises to help city

As part of their regularly scheduled May meeting, the Rockford City Council approved the 2011-2012 budget. The City of Rockford’s fiscal year runs from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012. The budget adopted by City Council represents a balanced budget and maintains the City’s strong financial position. “We have been able to present this balanced budget with significant reductions in staffing,” said City Manager Michael Young. “We have reduced out full time staff by nearly twenty percent over the last several years, including reductions of personnel in nearly every department. I am very proud of this budget but perhaps what I am most proud of are how our employees came together and agreed to wage concessions, recognizing the financial reality all communities face in Michigan.”

The Rockford Police Officers Association, which represents all full and part time police officers, gave back a two percent wage increase that was included in their contract. The Public Works Union also agreed to a wage freeze. Police Chief Dave Jones reiterated, “The police union could have easily turned down our request for wage concessions and stuck to the terms of their current bargaining agreement. Our officers see the big picture and know that only by working together can weather this difficult financial situation.”

The City of Rockofrd’s millage rate will remain at 10.9 mills, continuting a twenty-two year trend of maintaining or lowering the City’s millage rate. The City of Rockford’s millage rate is the third lowest in the county, and the City of Rockford is one of the only communities in Kent County that does not levy a property tax administration fee. The 2011-2012 fiscal year budget also includes no increase in water or sewer rates. With the uncertainty at the State level, the new budget includes a 75-percent reduction in State Shared Revenues continuing an eight year trend of reduced state funding. “Reductions in State Shared Revenue, property tax revenue, and investment income has created a very challenging situation, which has required us to be very creative in our service delivery,” stated Young. “Still, this budget maintains the high level of services to which our residents have grown accustom.” For any questions regarding the City’s budget, please contact Rockford City Manager Michael Young at (616) 866-1537 or


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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.

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