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Rock Island State of the City

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For the second year in a row, COVID-19 made 2021 a very challenging year for Rock Island. That's according to Mayor Mike Thoms during Monday's annual State of the City address to a joint meeting of Kiwanis and Rotary clubs.

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City of Rock Island
Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms

A key feature of last year was that revenue came in higher than expected.

"In previous years we were forced, with the approximate 5 million dollar budget deficit, to make dramatic cuts before we could balance the budget. However this year we began the budget process with only a 1.5 million dollar deficit and we were able to make a few adjustments to the capital improvements, as well as use some excess reserve funds, to balance the budget."

That allowed for no increase in property taxes last year, and the city budget for the coming year also features no increase.

Rock Island has hired a consultant to help decide where to spend 26.5 million dollars coming from the federal pandemic rescue plan.

Mayor Thoms says the city has just received results of a needs assessment for the west end.

"They engaged a consultant to use data gathering from a variety of sources but mainly trained a group of residents to conduct this assessment. And we gained a true and broad understanding of the living experience in this area."

And he's looking forward to as much as 60 million dollars worth of new investment downtown - including a new YWCA, new federal courthouse, and other projects.