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.
“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!