Covering the Land of Lincoln

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara pressures officials to reduce taxes

ROCKFORD — Saying that the city of Rockford and Rockford Public Schools have teamed up to do their parts to reduce property tax rates, Mayor Tom McNamara is pressing other taxing bodies to do the same.

McNamara on Wednesday sent an email to 65 business leaders in Winnebago County urging them to contact their elected officials “to take a strong stand on high property taxes.” The letter is signed by McNamara and Ald. Kevin Frost, R-4, who serves as chairman of the Rockford City Council Finance and Personnel Committee.

“This year, more than ever, it is extremely important, and I need your help,” McNamara writes. “This year is the quadrennial reassessment — that means that each and every property will be reassessed. I strongly believe the reassessment will lead to high property values ​​and, if we couple these property value increases with no new property tax increases, we can reduce our property tax rate. A reduction in our rate will make our community more attractive as a relocation destination for residents and businesses, as well as help keep our current residents and businesses here.”

McNamara said that in 2016 the Rockford area property tax rate was “a staggering” 15 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. In 2021, it was reduced to 12.26 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. He said that the city has held its levy flat or reduced its levy request each year since 2017, saving tax payers $72 million. And he said Rockford Public Schools have taken action to save taxpayers $378 million since 2012.

“This represents a nearly 20% reduction in our overall rate,” McNamara wrote. “This is a culmination of governments not increasing their levies and investments in our neighborhoods and business districts leading to higher values.

“But let us be very clear – we realize property taxes are still too high for our residents and business owners. Both the City and RPS 205 have made a concerted effort to reduce our portions of the property tax bill for Rockford residents.”

McNamara said that the city and school system are two of 11 taxing bodies in Winnebago County. He said that all should do more this year to reduce property taxes.

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