By Marianne Mueller


Rockton’s Village Board held a Special meeting on March 29 to review a proposed budget for the 2021-2022 year. Village President Dale Adams joined the meeting via computer.

Following the Public Comment portion an Executive Session was held for the selection of a person to fill a public office.

Upon the resignation of current village Treasurer Mark Olson the board voted to welcome back former Village Treasurer, Jaye Quimby as Interim Treasurer.

Village IT provider Mike VanOfferen, Owner of Stateline Technologies explained details related to possibly upgrading phone systems. “The phone system has outdated hardware, which is considered non-supportive and is a security hazard. The current system is 16 or 17 years old; normally they should last 15-20 years.”

VanOfferen outlined costs ranging from a more basic system which runs around $8,000 to a top of the line system which costs $20,000 to 30,000. “This would be working with a hybrid system,” VanOfferen said.

Incoming Rockton Village Trustee Justin York suggested that it would be cheaper to route with their phones. Rockton Police Chief Steve Dickson said he would check into seeing if that would work for his department. “Every officer has a phone number but there are no village issued cell phones; they each have a phone number and a desk phone,” Dickson said.

A question was asked if it would be possible for police to only use cell phones instead of landlines. “We have $20, 000 in the Budget Cares Act; maybe we could utilize some of that?” Trustee Dave Winters said.

In the last year the village has added in $60,000 in revenue. It is uncertain at this time where that revenue will be spent. “We have to know what we are getting before we can change any revenue, “Trustee Cory Magnus said.

Trustee Scott Fridly asked Village Planning and Development Administrator, Tricia Diduch about funds shown in the Yeti Fest account. Diduch replied, “In past years, part of the money we took in came from the snow sculptors. This year we ended up with more in sponsorships. There is a budgeted amount of $5,000 currently showing with a goal of breaking even.”

According to Village Collector, Corinne Hughes areas that fall under Cures Act measures include supplying PPE, masks, and hand sanitizer. She also spoke of areas that might have restrictions. There has been no determination made to date as to what will be funded with Cares Act money.

Diduch shared hopeful news. “We are members are SLATS- Stateline Area Transpiration Study. Because we are such a bedroom community we are budgeted at R-1 with Rockford Planning. There is a connection with the EDA coordinating. Because of stimulus funds we might be eligible to have some share of $450 million nationally. A running list of projects for non-profits would need to be submitted.  We would receive back 25 percent funding for travel, and recreation to R1- Economic Development. This could possibly alleviate pressure on the general fund.”

Water, sewer and Broadband Infrastructure, Legal expenses, parks and recreation, Special events, a possible park grant and bike paths on Old River Rd. are all part of the budget.

Trustee Dave Winters asked about the Illinois Municipal League reinstating in districts. He asked, “Is there anything we can do to get something out of that?”

Administration expenses cover Village clerks, the Collector and the entire Board of Trustees. It was stated that employee insurance costs have gone up; this includes two officers with families and transportation and fuel expenses for the Public Works Department. 

“Salaries for the police department are going up with the need for everything needed for uniforms, and   all that is required in police cars. Postage, printing costs, communications and training supplies are all going up,” Rockton Police Chief, Steve Dickson said.  Car lease agreements and timelines on trade-ins on police cars were inquired about. Trustee Jodi May asked, “Will all vehicles be included in the budget?” Trustee John Peterson spoke about the cost of gas going up. “I can tell you who are spending what and what mileage they drive,” Dickson said.

Leasing of body cameras and Tasers was assessed. “In the legislature they are talking about renewing our protection under the law as required. We need to buy the cameras,” Dickson said. “As of July 1 a new bill allows anybody to make a complaint. If we have the cameras before the 2025 required time we are able to be more transparent to the public. If we stay on a lease we will at least have the latest technology. Without this system it allows the States Attorney offices to make everything trackable.”

It was stated that there is no change in the Police Commission’s numbers and that Treasurer expenses contribution rates are going down.

Streets and walks include maintenance of traffic lights, sidewalk maintenance, electricity pole rental, miscellaneous supplies, tools and equipment, and gas and oil. Public Works Director Dan Barber spoke about signage and a truck release program; two trucks per year. Street maintenance such as repairing potholes was brought up. 

A possible park grant was also referred to.  Under the heading of Health Department is school crossing guards, and animal control. 

York suggested that the village would get a better deal if they consolidated all things related to the internet.

Under headings of Public Parks related programs and special events fall into this category. The Walt Williamson Pool incorporates all operations needed to keep it open.

General Fund restricted accounts include business district sales tax, anticipated expenses and revenues for specific parts of the village. Motor Fuel tax, revolving loan programs and the Wagon Wheel TIF fund are other important keys to a stronger village.  Fridly referred to working on the exterior of the Village Municipal Center-Village Hall.

The full budget will be further reviewed before future approval of the village board.

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