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Mayor Thoms says Rock Island is financially stable in State of City address
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Mayor Thoms says Rock Island is financially stable in State of City address

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Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms talks about keeping property taxes steady during his State of the City address on Jan. 10, 2022. 

In his annual state of the city address Monday, Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms said the city is financially stable and has remained resilient amid challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Forgoing last year's virtual-only address, the Kiwanis Club and Rock Island Rotary hosted their traditional buffet lunch Monday at the Quad City Botanical Center, 2525 4th Ave., Rock Island., while offering a ZOOM option to several who attended virtually. 

Like 2020, Thoms said 2021 also proved to be a challenging year.

"Business owners have had to continue to change how they run their operations," Thoms said. "We are experiencing a workforce shortage, citizens have had to adjust managing their home life in a variety of ways and the city has had to continue to find ways to be more efficient while maintaining the same level of service to its citizens.

"However, we have much to be proud of and thankful for," he said. "Our city has remained resilient in the wake of a continued global pandemic. We did not raise property tax rates in 2021, and we recently passed the 2022 budget without raising property tax rates once again. The city was very fortunate that revenues came in higher than anticipated and we were able to maintain expenses."

Thoms credited partnerships and collaborations between city departments, the city and other groups for helping to move Rock Island forward.

He highlighted the public-private partnership established between the city and DARI (Downtown Association of Rock Island), which is leading to $60 million in planned business expansions and economic development; a partnership with the Quad Cities Chamber for funding and development of the Rebuild Downtown Rock Island project; the new library that will be opened soon as a joint project between the library and YMCA; and a partnership between the city's information technology and police department to implement a new records management system and updated technology in patrol cars. 

Despite hiring 44 full-time employees and 95 part-time employees, Thoms said the city is still suffering from a staffing shortage through attrition and by keeping some positions open in order to save money. 

Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms gives his State of the City address on Jan. 10, 2022. 

"Our staff worked hard to keep the city financially stable, but that did not come without tough decisions such as not filling many vacant positions. We will be looking to fill some of these positions in 2022 in order to continue to move our city forward. Also, the implementation of consolidation of pension investments is underway."

Thoms applauded the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center for its "busy and successful year" serving the community despite continued COVID challenges.

"They rejuvenated the annual Family Fun day this fall and reached over 2,500 people with an outdoor community celebration," he said. "They served a record 3,500 plates of food for the annual Thanksgiving dinner, and approximately 600 children received Christmas gifts through their gift program.

In a partnership with the city's parks department, the MLK Center was able to serve more than 90 kids at its day camp. 

"In addition to all the exciting things that happened in 2021, despite the many challenges we faced, we have much to be excited for in 2022 as we continue to move Rock Island forward."

Thoms closed by thanking city employees for their hard work and professionalism. 

"I truly believe when we all work together we can do great things for the city of Rock Island," he said. 


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