What I do not understand is where the members of the “Vote YES for Freeport Committee” have been for the last 20 years. I guess everything was great in Freeport until the last year. The streets were perfect, the deer only took over the City in the last year, the quality of the housing stock was great, crime was not a problem, and our homes and businesses were not over assessed. No problems until the last year or two. At least no problems this group was able to see. Now they propose that Freeport adopt a managerial form of municipal government which I assume they think will be the savior of Freeport. What a simplistic approach! Freeport needs new sources of revenue. Money will help solve Freeport’s problems. A city manager with no money to address the issues will be no better than a mayor with no money. Anyone looks good when you have plenty of money to do whatever is necessary. Maybe the time has come for Freeport to have a city manager, but don’t expect it to solve the problems this City is facing. Just another bureaucrat to pay, and pay, and pay.
The Freeport Public Library conducts a “community read” program during January and February of “odd” years. The program started in 2011, and 2017 will be the fourth time for the program. The mission of this program is to encourage a shared-reading experience, foster a sense of community, and promote literacy to people of all ethnic backgrounds, economic levels, and ages. Based on similar programs in communities across the country, One Book, One Freeport provides free copies of a selected book and coordinates educational programs and events to explore topics related to the book. Plans are to tie the book in with the current 100-year anniversary of the National Parks.
The book title will be announced in early January of 2017. Books will be distributed in February with programs scheduled in March and April. Donations for the program can be sent to One Book, One Freeport Committee, Freeport Public Library, 100 E. Douglas St., Freeport, IL 61032.
Every resident of the City of Freeport, Illinois should take a look at the “2015-2016 Total Compensation Report for City Employees over $75,000.” If you read this report, it will give you an idea of the cost each additional employee hired by the City. Of course, it does not factor in the future pension costs that will be incurred by the City to support many of these employees such as those of the police department who retire after 20 years and move to Florida. How many officers in the police department make over $125,000 – count them? Almost half the officers on the Freeport police department make over $125,000. If you think the Mayor is the highest paid official, you are wrong. The police chief is the highest paid at almost $167,000, and he does not even live in Freeport. Of course, this is true of many other highly compensated employees of the City who do not live in Freeport. When you do not live here, or plan on leaving after 20 years, you have no stake in the future of the community.
Read the full report at http://www.ci.freeport.il.us/departments/FY2016%20compensation%20report-FINAL.pdf
If you want to hear more about City employee compensation, go to the Freeport City Council meeting on Monday October 3 at 6:00 pm at the temporary City Hall at 524 W. Stephenson Street, 3rd Floor, or watch it live on Comcast Channel 17. The complete meeting agenda is available at http://www.ci.freeport.il.us/citygovernment/Agendas/A20161003.pdf
In the Freeport Journal Standard on August 25, 2016 there was the August edition of the Freeport Area Chamber Communicator. On page 3 there was an article entitled “Vote YES for Freeport to Adopt the Managerial Form of Municipal Government.” The article stated that the committee promoting the change to a managerial form of city government had retained legal counsel from a Rockford law firm, and the writer of the article even added how impressed the committee was with this attorney, and that the committee was in good hands. To those attorneys who are members of the Freeport Chamber, it appears that none of you have the necessary skills to represent this elite body. And to the taxpayers of Freeport, ask yourself if this law firm pays real estate taxes in Freeport, and ask yourself if the members of this firm live in Freeport. No wonder this attorney from Rockford is promoting the change since she will not be paying for it.
NOTE: Our firm does not do municipal work. We handle estate planning, estate and trust administration and litigation, elder law, and agricultural real estate. However, there are outstanding attorneys in Freeport who could handle this issue, and who are probably members of the Chamber! I guess they mean Freeport first, only sometimes!
Imagine my surprise when I received an email from Frontier Communications entitled “It Pays to Have Friends.” Let me tell you the facts. A few years ago Verizon sold most of their phone lines and internet services outside the Chicago area to Frontier Communications. In April of 2016, Verizon sold their cable, phone, and internet operations in Florida to Frontier. In both states you thought you had Verizon, but then ended up with the third world service of Frontier. If you want to keep your Friends, don’t let them sign up with Frontier. Frontier is absolutely one of the worst companies I have ever dealt with. If you have Frontier, my advice is to get rid of them as soon as possible since you will continue to have nothing but problems. And if you are fortunate enough not to have them, don’t fall for any of their offers!
Pretzel City Brewfest will take place Saturday September 24th on the corner of Chicago and Douglas (across the street from the Freeport Public Library) and next to the post office.
VIP Admission will open at noon with General Admission opening at 1 pm. The event will last until 5:30 p.m.
For details and tickets go to http://www.freeportdowntown.com/pretzel-city-brewfest/
At the Freeport, Illinois, City Council Meeting on September 19, 2016, the Council approved the City Engineer’s use of City equipment for construction purposes for the Forrestville Valley School District. Of course, the City Engineer said the School District would reimburse the City for the equipment use. The precedent has been set for City employees to use City equipment in off duty hours as long as they pay rent for the equipment! Alderpersons Chesney and Miller voted against renting out City equipment and employees, but the rest of the alderpersons had no problem with this new policy. I guess this means that our taxes will be lowered in Freeport as a result of all this new rental income. Perhaps, Freeport can teach the State of Illinois a lesson. The state can rent out equipment, employees, and buildings to reduce the deficit. With all of that new income, the State will actually be able to lower taxes.