I have taken the Rockford Register Star for over 40 years, and recently terminated my subscription. My most recent renewal notice for a one year subscription was $397.20. This was an increase of $100 from the previous year. During the last year of my recent subscription, I had stopped the paper for over 2 months for various reasons, but you only receive a credit for “vacation stops” for over 15 days. As a result, I received no credits for the months I did not receive the paper. To make matters worse, there are up to 16 premium editions each year for which you will be charged $5.50 for each one which could mean an additional $88 per year. Your subscription is shortened in proportion to the value of the number of premium editions. This is information is on the back of the bill entitled “Subscription Notice.” I called them and complained, and was told I would receive a revised paper bill for $296.40 for the year. Of course, I never received it until I had cancelled my subscription! For informational purposes, the Journal Standard in Freeport, Illinois follows the same procedures in regard to vacation stops, and watch out for those premium editions! Also, in Massachusetts Gatehouse Media settled a class action law suit which involved similar practices. Is it time for a class action against Gatehouse media covering the Rockford Register Star, Journal Standard, and other newspapers owned by Gatehouse Media across the United States? In the meantime, just put this newspaper on permanent vacation hold, and they might get the message.
The Freeport City Council will have its regular meeting tonight June 19, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at 314 W. Stephenson Street, Freeport, Illinois. Of particular interest on the agenda is the 1st reading of Ordinance #2017-52 which will require city department heads to reside within the corporate limits of the City within six months of the date of his/her appointment. It’s about time this policy was formally instituted. If these department heads want to take Freeport’s money, they can at least live in the City. How can you be the Police Chief, and talk about crime in the City, and you do not live in the City? How can you talk to others about community development when you do not live in the City? The answer is simple. They cannot be good representatives of this great community if they do not live here. Imagine, if the Governor of Illinois lived in Indiana, and was trying to promote business in Illinois!
You can watch the council meeting at Comcast channel 17, and see the full agenda at the City website.
As reported in the June 2017 issue of the Illinois Bar Journal, Dog bite claims are on the rise nationwide, and especially in Illinois. Illinois is second in the nation in dog-related claims in 2016. Only California is ahead of Illinois. I guess you could say that at least Illinois leads the nation in something! The average cost of a dog bite in Illinois is $43,343, and the largest dog bite verdict so far in 2017 is $940,000. So, if you have a dog, you better have good insurance because you could lose your home, and then you will be living with Fido in his dog house.
It takes a lot of nerve to want another street sweeper when many of the streets in this community are in such horrible condition that serious damage is being caused to our vehicles. Perhaps, it is time to get rid of the street department, and contract out street maintenance. It could not be any worse, and should save money in the long run with no big public pensions to fund. In the alternative, the City can continue with its present do nothing street department, and start reimbursing residents for vehicle damage caused by the gross negligence of the City of Freeport. Since my posting on September 17, 2015 about Woodside Drive, the City has done absolutely nothing to make this street safer.
The Freeport School District wants waivers (so they do not pay tuition) for school district employees who live outside of the District, and want to enroll their children in Freeport Schools. Take a look at your real estate tax bill, and you will see that 60% of your real estate taxes go to the Freeport schools. It’s too bad that many teachers, police officers, and fire department employees do not live in the City that pays their salaries. Mr. Finch, President of the Freeport School Board, said that this is a way to recruit good, quality teachers to the community. He should have added teachers who want to take Freeport’s money, but don’t want to live here. I for one am sick tired of individuals who take our money, but don’t want to contribute to this community including the payment of real estate taxes. The Freeport School Board, instead of requesting waivers, should have told those teachers who want waivers that Freeport is a great place to live and they should move here.
On this day, we remember those who died in the service of our country.
“The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden.” – Ronald Reagan, Memorial Day speech, 1982
The real estate taxes on our small office building in the City of Freeport between 2006 and 2016 increased 51%. The rate of inflation during that period was 21%. During the “Great Recession,” values of commercial and residential real estate fell drastically in most cities. In Freeport any rational person, including appraisers and realtors, would confirm this fact. Unfortunately, the Freeport Assessor in most cases did not reduce assessments as values dropped. To make matters worse, taxing bodies continued to increase tax rates each year. Freeport tax rates between 2006 and 2016 increased 31% (inflation 21%). In addition, the City imposed and increased other taxes. Someone asked me why something isn’t done. My response – residents of Freeport like high taxes. They had a chance to change the direction of the Freeport Assessor’s Office, but voted for a person who would continue the policies of the past. I guess those who wanted equity in the assessment process, and some degree of fiscal responsibility gave up and left the City. A continuation of the tax and spend policies is a recipe for disaster. This applies to every taxing body, not just the City of Freeport.