Michael Young, Rockford’s city manager for 18 years, had his employment contract extended one year after his recent annual city council evaluation. His contract is a three year agreement. Michael was given a two percent salary increase. Once again this year, the increase is in line with the City of Rockford employee groups with whom he had negotiated contracts.
The Council rated Michael’s overall performance as “excellent”. A city manager wears many hats, including managing the city’s diverse staff and work flow; controlling the city’s budget and financial position; inter-acting and serving the public; and communicating with the city council. Michael competently wears all of these hats. The council fully supports Michael for his ability to successfully work with the several and diverse community groups, governmental agencies, and local businesses located in Rockford. As we look around the city to contemplate changes that have happened during his eighteen year tenure, it is impressive.
Rockford, under Michael’s leadership, has been able to do two things that are exemplary. First, it has been able to maintain a healthy fund balance while keeping the tax rate at 10.9 mills, the third lowest millage rate in the county for municipalities without a city income tax. The 2013-2014 budget as presented by Michael and approved by council will ensure that continued excellent financial condition through June of 2014. Second, Rockford has been able to continue to provide excellent service to the public despite a declining revenue environment and staff reductions that have totaled 25% over the past three years. For example, residents have continued to see improvements to through-out the city. Many of these infrastructure improvements, as proposed within the budget, have continued to occur such as this summer’s complete re build of the Wolverine addition, including water supply, sewer, new curb and asphalt. Soon most of the city parking lots will be resurfaced including re-paving of Squire St.
Mayor Brien K Dews stated, “Michael’s leadership has seen Rockford through one of the most difficult economic times in recent memory. His ability to think creatively has kept services at the high levels our residents expect while enduring a staff reduction of 25% and declining property values over the last several years. Implementation of our new Department of Public Safety has saved our community hundreds of thousands of dollars and has become a model that other communities are now looking at seriously.”