ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The City of Rockford moved forward with a new home build tax agreement this week.
Three other governing bodies will consider joining the effort, and Winnebago County is one of them. Board members debated the abatement Thursday night. Even though it was discussed, it needed a motion to bring it back, with the tax agreement being denied at committee.
That did not happen.
“It needs to happen,” said Gary Oehlberg of Oehlberg Construction “Something needs to happen.”
Oehlberg said that the 3-year tax agreement on new home builds is necessary, as the climate of construction is in bad shape in Rockford.
“Continue to work, you know. In the outlying areas and stuff, we’ve been busy,” he said. “The City of Rockford, there aren’t that many lots that are still available, you know, there’s just not a lot of construction happening in the city in new construction.”
If the tax agreement involved the City of Rockford, Rockford Public Schools 205, the Rockford Park District and Winnebago County, it would near 85% of the property tax for those living in all four governing bodies.
The Economics and Development Committee denied the agreement, and after no motion at the county board to bring it back, it will no longer be on the table for county involvement.
“We have a responsibility to every municipality, village and township, every municipality within the county, and so for us to play favorites for residential development and one municipality over the other, we felt it was not something that we wanted to step into,” said John F. Sweeney, chairman of the Economic and Development Committee.
Winnebago County has the smallest rate between the four bodies involved. The City is the only one to move forward, as the school district and park district have yet to discuss the matter.
The agreement can move forward without everyone’s involvement.
“When you combine the City of Rockford and the Rockford School Districts’ tax levies, combined it’s 72% of the entire tax bill of all Rockford taxpayers,” Sweeney said. “So, we also didn’t feel that by us not participating, that we were really contributing any negativity to what they were trying to do there.”
The park district and RPS 205 expect to discuss the agreement at their next meetings.