Municipal budgets should balance services provided with taxpayers’ ability to pay

Winnebago County’s fiscal year budget, which began October 1, 2014, was approved at the county’s last meeting in September. The budget process, however, doesn’t end with budget approval; the process continues throughout the year. The City of Rockford and the Rockford School District will complete their budget process by the end of the year. The county represents approximately 7.4% of property tax bills, while the city represents 22.0% and the school district is 51.6%. As Chairman of the Finance Committee for the Rockford School District, Rock...

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Rock Valley College, Spartan, an MRO and the rest of the story

Rock Valley College and Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology had been in negotiations for over a year concerning a proposal to RVC by the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based school to build a campus at the Chicago Rockford International Airport and become another source of aviation mechanics in the area. The for-profit school could ensure an ample supply of mechanics at the airport and increase the chances for a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility, an MRO, to service all types of aircraft, which would increase the airport’s appeal to...

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HB1864 could lower future community college tuition hikes

Illinois state code currently requires that each community college must charge students a minimum tuition rate per credit hour based on 85% of the average of the combined rates of all community colleges in the state. Failure to comply with this law could result in the loss of state Equalization Funds, following notification by the Illinois Community College Board, if tuition is not raised a sufficient amount to satisfy the state code. This year, Rock Valley College received $1.3M in state equalization funding – over 2% of the college’s...

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Open Meetings Act does not apply to the “Bureaucrats”

When both Linda Grist Cunningham and Chuck Sweeny think my lament of the Open Meetings Act signaled that I wanted to meet privately without those pesky “bureaucrats” or render Chuck unconscious, I knew my position on the OMA must be clarified. I’m sorry to disappoint – there are no deals being cut in the backroom, no ducks being placed in a row, unless it’s by the bureaucrats; I also agree that the public’s business should be done in the presence of the unwashed public. My real objection is that the OMA is not equally...

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