Tag Archives: city of freeport

Freeport, Illinois – A City Where the Streets Are Falling Apart and No One Cares – Council to Meet Tonight!

Tire 5-1

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.

Freeport, Illinois Leads the Nation in Progressive Tax Relief – Equipment and City Employees Can Be Rented!

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.

If You Think Freeport’s Real Estate Taxes Are Too Low – Contribute to the City of Freeport!

Certain alderpersons on the present Freeport City Council have consistently supported more spending and higher taxes. This group is led by Tom Klemm, Sally Brashaw, and Mike Koester who have not seen a tax increase or higher spending that they did not feel was necessary. I for one agree with Alderman Chesney – WE ARE TAXED ENOUGH. For those who feel they are undertaxed, they are free to copy the above form and make an additional contribution to the City of Freeport. I hope everyone sends Klemm, Brashaw, and Koester a copy of the form. As the expression goes, put your money where your mouth is!

Street Superintendent Dole Pledges to Repair Alleys in the City of Freeport’s 5th Ward – Fire Station Parking Lots Are a Priority!

 At the council meeting on May 18, Street Superintendent, Tom Dole, said the City will repair the alleys in the 5th Ward. Without saying it he essentially said, to Hell with those people living on Woodside Drive, Woodside Kort, and Woodside Circle. The City is more concerned about alleys in the City than dangerous and disintegrating streets. Must someone die on Woodside Drive before the City repairs this street? I guess the City does not place much value on the lives of its citizens using Woodside Drive. One thing for sure, when someone is killed or injured on Woodside Drive, the City cannot deny knowledge of the dangerous condition of this street. Tort immunity will not protect the city from liability for the intentional disregard of this dangerous condition.

To make matters even worse the City plans to spend $517,714 on new streets and a new parking lot for a fire station. Not one dime for the Woodside Drive area. WHEN WILL THE TAXPAYERS OF FREEPORT WAKE UP? They are living in a city that places a higher priority on parking lots that the safety of its citizens.  

The Freeport City Council will be meeting on Monday, June 1 at 6:00 pm at 524 W. Stephenson Street, 3rd Floor. You can watch it live on Comcast Channel 17. The agenda for the meeting is available at http://www.ci.freeport.il.us/citygovernment/Agendas/A20150601.pdf 

Of interest is the fact that the City of Freeport will be spending $15,000 for fireworks for the 4th of July, and it cannot repair the streets in this City. I might add that I like fireworks, but perhaps it should not be paid for with public funds when the City cannot afford to provide basic services to its citizens.

Freeport Mayor Gitz and Alderman Klemm Walk Over New Council Members – It Could Be a Long Four Years!

 Freeport has five new council members and on Monday night they got beat down by the Mayor and Alderman Klemm.   Only Andrew Chesney understood the real issue facing the Council.    It was a question of power, and the Mayor and Klemm said to them – To Hell with you.   Klemm lectured the new alderman in condescending manner.   Basically, Klemm told them – you are stupid – you just don’t understand.   Alderman McClanathan responded and capitulated.  We need leaders and Andrew Chesney cannot do it alone.   Someone should tell Klemm that he should worry a little less about training kitchens downtown, and start addressing the deteriorating conditions in his own 1st Ward.   Oh well, I guess that is too much to expect from the man who thinks he is Mayor.


Where Have All The Leaves Gone? The Answer My Friend Is On My Street In Front of My House!


The Freeport City Council Meets tonight at 6:00 pm in the rented Freeport City Council chambers at 524 West Stephenson Street, 3rd Floor. If you have Comcast Cable, go to channel 17 to watch live.

Since the Council will probably spend most of the meeting discussing leaf pickup, no comments will be made as to the other items on the agenda. On a more serious note, Mayor Gitz does refer to the piles of leaves around the City as “pothole fillers.” He is quite imaginative!

You may study the full agenda at http://www.ci.freeport.il.us/citygovernment/Agendas/A20141117a.pdf

Of some interest is the survey on what should be done in regard to city hall. Residents are given several options, and the responses are tabulated in this report which can be found at http://www.ci.freeport.il.us/departments/Outreach/City%20of%20Freeport%20Survey%20Report.pdf Read the report – you will have read more than most council members have read in the last year. Too bad it is not in comic book form with lots of pictures so the council could understand it.

City of Freeport Notified Bond Rating Downgraded on May 16 – Why Wasn’t This Made Public at a Council Meeting?

The Journal Standard reported on June 29 that the city was notified on May 16 by Standard & Poor’s that it had downgraded the city’s bond rating from A+ to A. This means it will cost the city more to borrow money. Since the city was notified of the bond rating change, there have been three council meetings. The big question is why was this was not discussed at one of these meetings? The Freeport Council must have known of this rating change, and did not feel the citizens of this community were entitled to this information. Obviously, the council must not understand the full ramifications of this rating change. Otherwise, it would have been discussed at council meetings. Alderman Tom Klemm was quoted in the Journal Standard article when describing the condition of Freeport – “We’re still in good shape.” What city is this man living in? This simplistic attitude is part of Freeport’s problem. The present leadership on the city council is totally incapable of comprehending the serious issues facing Freeport. If you don’t understand the issues, how in the world will you be able to address them?

TAX, TAX, and MORE TAXES So That Government Can Spend and Spend and Spend!

The City of Freeport Annual Treasurer’s Report was published on October 25 in the Journal Standard. Since most people in the community will not even see it since they do not read the local newspaper, Good Day Illinois will take a look at this report. Today we will just look at the Revenue Summary. As has been pointed out before, the property tax is only a small portion of the total taxes and fees paid by residents of Freeport. Total revenue received by the City of Freeport is $37,542,646 and property taxes account for only $2,665,981 or about 7 %. Where does the rest come from? Fees and More Taxes! The following list contains some of the taxes imposed by the City of Freeport

Library Property Tax – $1,093,847 or about 3%

A few of the little special taxes imposed by the City:
Food & Beverage Tax – $593,700 (paid when you go out to eat)
Electric Tax – $461,408 (on your electric bill)
Natural Gas Tax – $311,368
Telephone Tax – $753,859
Cable Television Tax – $375,051 (no wonder those politicians like those high Comcast bills!)
Special Local Motor Fuel Tax – $241,051 (This in addition to $725,340 received from the State)

A few of the other big taxes:
General Sales Tax – $7,413,492 or about 20%
Water Capital Surcharge – $1,404,803 (look at your water will – that water tower is not free)
Income Tax – $2,425,802 or about 6%
Replacement Tax – $479,913
Special Use Tax – $407,316

These are just a few of the taxes imposed by the City of Freeport. You decide if you think you should pay more taxes! Next time your alderman talks about the city’s portion of real estate taxes being low, ask him about all the other taxes imposed by the city.


A Response to Mr. Gitz – More Government and More Ordinances Are Not the Solution to Freeport’s Problems!

Mr. Gitz in his weekly column in the Journal Standard on October 13 talks about new ordinances to regulate noise and other undesirable conduct in the community. He said problems are contagious. He talks about delapidated houses and the impact of living next to one. He states that he would like every street to be a neighborhood of choice. My reponse to you Mr. Gitz is that the City of Freeport is part of the problem. Mr. Gitz and the present city council should also be concerned about the impact of living and driving on streets everyday in this community that are in such bad shape that they are not even safe. No wonder people fail to maintain their homes. For years they have paid high taxes and have seen few results. Mr. Gitz – there are few neighborhoods left in Freeport which are neighborhoods of choice. Mr. Gitz states that property owners have to act responsibly in order to restore our Freeport. The question is – when is OUR government going to start acting responsibly? Those in government believe that more money (which means more taxes) and more laws will solve all problems. More money and more laws are not the solution. The City of Freeport must allocate its resources where they will do the most good for the majority of people living in this community which means fixing the streets and a police department enforcing existing laws.

Oh, by the way Mr. Gitz, where are the ordinances that say the City should maintain city owned buildings such as the Germania, City Hall, and the Carnegie Library? Is it true that intentional neglect and waste is acceptable in the public sector? What a shock – one standard for those in the public sector and another for those in the private sector who pay the bills!


Mayor Gitz Says in Article in Journal Standard “Property Tax Burden Discourages Expansions, moves to Freeport”

Mr. Gitz correctly states in this article that the high real estate tax rate in Freeport discourages economic growth. Unfortunately, he just blames other taxing districts for the high tax rate stating that the City’s portion is relatively small which is correct. Mr. Gitz fails to state that the City of Freeport taxes everything else. If you go out to eat – special food tax. If you buy gas – special tax. If you sell your home – special tax ($4.00 per thousand of the sale price). Cable TV Taxes, telephone tax, electric tax – you name it Freeport taxes it. Look at your residential water bill – each month $10.00 capital improvement fee and $4.00 storm water fee – another $168.00 per year. If you are a small business look at your water bill – each month $10.00 capital improvement fee and $20.00 storm water fee – another $360.00 per year. Call them what you will, but to most of us they are just taxes! When looking at the tax burden – you must look at the overall picture. The City of Freeport is just as bad as the school district. In some ways worse since city bureaucrats pretend that they are fiscally responsible, but that is far from the truth. The present City Council does not know what “fiscal reponsibility” means.

To Mr. Gitz’s credit he does recognize there is a problem which is refreshing compared to his predecessor. But really Mr. Gitz – The City of Freeport shares the blame equally as far as contributing to the area’s economic situation.