“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.
When the Bush wing of the Republican party could not beat Trump in the primaries and in the general election, their only recourse has been to destroy his presidency. They have done a pretty good job, and let’s face it, Trump has made it pretty easy for them. The Bush wing figures if they can get rid of Trump, then they will have President Pence who they can control. A new vice president would then be elected by the house who would be a member of the Bush wing of the Republican Party. How about Jeb Boy? Remember the senior Bush was a proud Hillary supporter. Next step, get rid of Pence. He could be persuaded to resign, and then we would have another Bush as president. In the interest of harmony, the house could elect Senator Chuck Schumer as vice president. Finally, we would again have the good old boys running the country. I’m sure the Republican establishment is working on this right now along with their Democratic colleagues. I just hope Jeb’s mommy and daddy will be around to help him!
The Freeport City Council will meet tonight at 6:00 p.m. at 314 W. Stephenson Street. The real question is, will it be more of the same, or will there actually be a change of direction. You cannot keep all of the people who implemented the failed policies of the past. Some items of interest on the agenda:
Resolution to Enter into a Month-To-Month Lease for the Vacant Fire Station on South West Avenue with an Option to Purchase.
Ordinance appointing Police Chief, Todd Barkalow, to serve as the interim City Manager for the period of time commencing May 16, 2017 through May, 21, 2017.
Notice of Interim Appointments for up to 90 days by City Manager:
Guary Bernadelle – to serve as Finance Director
Alex Mills – to serve as Community Development Director
Todd Barkalow – to serve as Police Chief (Appointed himself police chief?)
Scott Miller – to serve as Fire Chief
Sosnowski Szeto, LLP – to serve as City Legal Counsel
Tom Dole – to serve as Public Works Director
Shaun Gallagher – to serve as City Engineer
Hopefully, some of these appointments will be temporary. Changes are needed!
If you answered true to all of them, you would be right. They were all reported in the Tampa Bay Times on April 14, 2017 in a section entitled “Police blotter.” Parts of the article follow which has been edited due to its length.
POLICE: ST. PETERSBURG MAN DROPS OWN POOP INTO LAUNDROMAT WASHING MACHINE
A 57-year-old man defecated on the floor of a laundromat then dropped his poop into a washing machine, according to St Petersburg police. About 7:40 a.m. Saturday, a witness saw Michael Shannon poop on the floor of a laundromat at 343515th Ave. S. Shannon picked up the feces and pressed it into the detergent-loading compartment of a washing machine. The incident caused $475 worth of damage, according to Shannon’s arrest report
Man takes cookies with ‘dirty bare hands’
A Seminole man is accused of reaching over a display case at Publix, grabbing several cookies and eating them in front of the bakery manager. According to Largo police, a bakery manager at the store at 857 West Bay Drive saw Kane William Hanson, 34, reach over the display case and steal cookies about 230 p.m. Saturday. The remaining 60 cookies had to be thrown away because Hanson contaminated them with his “dirty bare hands,” an officer wrote in Hanson’s arrest report. Hanson told police he assumed the cookies were free.
Police pursue truck, then its naked driver
A rogue swimming pool service truck took Indian Shores police on a chase that ended with the driver running naked from officers, according to police. About 2 a.m. April 5, an officer approached a pickup truck bearing the name “Belleair Pool Supply” that he considered suspicious because he “knew there was no swimming pools worked on in the middle of the night,” according to an arrest report. At the wheel was Victor Ciaccta, 42, with his window cracked open. The officer asked him to turn off the engine and hand over identification. Ciacci said he was leaving, then sped away northbound on Gulf Boulevard from T76th Terrace, hitting the officer’s right leg in the process. As he sped from police, Ciacci drove over spike strips, damaged landscaping and eventually drove through a chain link fence at the former Wellington School campus, 8000 Starkey Road, his arrest reports say. Ciacci got out of the truck near the school and ran naked from police into a neighborhood.
Today we going to determine how smart you are by giving you a test. There are only three questions, and you must determine if the news articles are true or false!
St. Petersburg Man Drops Own Poop into Laundromat Washing Machine – true or false?
Man takes cookies with dirty bare hands – true or false?
Police pursue truck, then its naked driver – true or false?
The answers will be in Good Day Illinois tomorrow!
The City of Freeport in honor of its Street Superintendent, Tom Dole, has announced that it will be selling to the general public pothole detectors which are recommended in the City of Freeport due to lack of street maintenance. The detectors will only cost $500.00, and are guaranteed to alert you to potholes before you hit them. If your car or tires are damaged as a result of a pothole and you are using the “Dole Pothole Detector,” the City will pay for the damage after a $500.00 deductible. I know from personal experience that I could have used the “Dole Pothole Detector” since my vehicle was recently damaged in excess of $500.00 as a result of potholes in Freeport. Any profits from the sale of the “Dole Pothole Detectors” will be used for Street Department bonuses. The one problem with using the “Dole Pothole Detector” in Freeport is that you will only be able to travel at five miles per hour since the pothole alarms are constant on most streets in the City. Oh well, that’s a small price to pay to live in a community with a Street Department that cares enough to sell us the “Dole Pothole Detector.”
Unpaid Testimonial – Local Resident Holy Pots says: I use the “Dole Pothole Detector” and have never had any pothole damage – wonderful device and cheap at only $500.00.
Keep the “Dole Pothole Detector” in mind for birthday gifts and gifts for other special occasions. Hint – wouldn’t it be nice to give Mayor Gitz a “Dole Pothole Detector” as a going away present! Now that I think about it that may be too much. Let’s just give him a pothole instead autographed by his Street Superintendent who did so much for him over the last four years.
No more needs to be said. In the private sector, there would be some people without jobs today. In the City of Freeport, the do-nothing attitude and general neglect is the norm. It is a sad situation.
The above picture is not a tire that was illegally dumped, but is my tire which was destroyed by a pot hole on Hance Drive in the City of Freeport. The Street Department has time to take down houses and to clean up illegal dumps on the East side of Freeport, but cannot do its basic function – the maintenance of the streets in this community. Unfortunately, the terrible condition of Hance Drive is not atypical of the streets in this community. Years of total neglect have taken a toll, and many are beyond repair. The residents of this community do not seem to care, or have just given up. Let’s get a street department that will at least attempt to do its job and today – not tomorrow. Action should be taken immediately to correct the situation, but of course, that is wishful thinking. The do-nothing policy of the street department and this City has been going on for years, so why would we expect action now!
The Freeport City Council will meet tonight at 6:00 p.m. in its new palatial chambers at 314 W. Stephenson Street. Some items of interest on the agenda:
Letter from the City Engineer, Shaun M. Gallagher, notifying the City that water and sewer rates will increase 4.1% on May 1. The increase is based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers using the “Water and Sewerage Maintenance” index, and the rate will automatically increase each year based on this index. Wow, over four per cent for one year. Social Security recipients received a .1% increase in January. I guess that means water and sewer expenses increased at a rate 41 times the rate of inflation for individuals in the City of Freeport! Those bureaucrats really know how to spend our money. By the way the Council does not need to approve this increase – it is automatic. This reminds me of what is going on in Springfield!
Resolution authorizing the leasing of the old West Avenue fire station on a monthly basis for $800.00 per month. Also, the City gives the lessee an option to purchase to the property. Lease not worth commenting on!
Resolution to Ratify Collective Bargaining Agreement with The International Association of Firefighters.