The Freeport, Illinois City Council will meet tonight at 6:00 p.m. in its new chambers at 314 W. Stephenson Street (the old library building). It looks like a busy night for the Council which will consider water and sewer rate increases to fund rebuilding the water and sewer system Higher water and sewer rates coupled with rising real estate tax rates and unrealistic property tax assessments (recently endorsed by the electorate) make for great economic growth.
Go to the full agenda at http://www.ci.freeport.il.us/citygovernment/Agendas/A20170306.pdf
The Freeport City Council meets on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month at 6:00 pm at the temporary City Hall at 524 W. Stephenson Street, 3rd Floor. You can watch it live on Comcast Channel 17.
The complete agenda will not be reviewed here since you can read it on line at http://www.ci.freeport.il.us/citygovernment/Agendas/A20160919.pdf
Two items I do find of interest are deer hunting at The Freeport Club (old Freeport Country Club on Park Blvd) and an intergovernmental agreement with the Forrestville Valley School District.
Ordinance #2016-50 will permit deer hunting at The Freeport Club with bows from October 1, 2016 to January 15, 2017. What a joke! There are herds of deer all over Freeport. How many did they kill last year? Unless they killed hundreds, it does not make a dent in the deer problem. While the Mayor and Council fail to address the problem, the deer population continues to multiply within the City.
As to the intergovernmental agreement with the Forrestville Valley School District. I wish the City Engineer would concentrate on the streets and issues in Freeport. Mr. Gallagher, another City employee who does not live in Freeport, is more worried about the Forreston School District where he serves on the School board than he is about the conditions in Freeport. My advice to Mr. Gallagher – concentrate your attention on Freeport. We pay your salary. This agreement is a joke which should not be approved. I hope the Council has read the ten-page resolution submitted by Mr. Gallagher! And don’t waste City money having the Interim Corporation Council review it!
One other item of interest to Freeport residents is that the only bid for leaf disposal was from Dickman Farm Service for $40,000. Mayor Gitz has an excellent column in the Sunday, September 18, edition of the Journal Standard where he explains the City’s leaf pick up procedure. Every resident should read it at http://www.journalstandard.com/opinion/20160917/freeport-mayors-view-dos-and-donts-of-leaf-pickup
The mayor of Freeport and certain council members have stated in the past that Freeport’s share of the real estate tax bills for residents of the city is less than 10% of the total bill. There are council members who believe that the citizens of Freeport have an unlimited ability to pay more taxes in order to pay the pensions for retired public employees. As Paul Harvey used to say – now for the rest of the story. Real estate taxes are not the only source of revenue for the City of Freeport. Freeport taxes everything from taxes on all of your utility bills, cable bills, restaurant meals, and even a transfer tax on the sale of your home. Look at your water bill – there is a capital improvement charge of $16.00 and a storm water charge of $4.00. This is just another tax, but one that has no relationship to actual usage. The water portion of many residential users is less than $10.00, but there is an additional $20.00 tax on your bill.
DON’T TELL THE RESIDENTS OF FREEPORT THAT THEY ARE UNDER TAXED!
The overall tax rate paid by homeowners in the City of Freeport is one of the highest in the State of Illinois. Most of us know why our taxes are so high. There are just too many public sector employees such as firemen and policemen who retire in their early 50’s with large pensions. To top it all off, they then get a minimum increase in their pensions each year of 3%. In 10 years many are making more that they were when working. Of course, many of them retire to a new public sector job in another state such as Florida which has no income tax and lower property taxes.
And to those of you who retired from the private sector and are living on social security, you will receive no increase in 2016. I can assure you of one thing. Your real estate taxes will continue to climb in the City of Freeport as the value of your homes continues to fall.
The Freeport City Council will be meeting on Monday, October5, 2015 at 6:00 pm at 524 W. Stephenson Street, 3rd Floor. You can watch it live on Comcast Channel 17.
Some items of interest on the agenda:
1st reading of ordinance dealing with fence installation. Robert Frost said “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” but in Freeport it used to mean the fence must be two feet from the lot line. This was ridiculous since it deprived a property owner of two feet of his property. I guess it just reinforced the concept that lots were worthless in Freeport (except for assessment purposes), so why not give up two feet! All fences belong on the lot line. Written and recorded easements from adjoining owners should not be required, but all fences on lot lines should require a survey.
1st reading of ordinance permitting deer hunting at the Freeport Country Club with bows. What a joke. Killing a few deer with bows will not solve Freeport’s deer problem. The bow hunt at the Country Club has been done for several years, but the deer problem is just getting worse. I suggest we contact Robin Hood and his band of merry men to take out hundreds of deer in Freeport and then give them to the food pantries in the State of Illinois. That will be Freeport’s contribution to the state’s budget crisis!
For the complete meeting agenda, go to http://www.ci.freeport.il.us/citygovernment/Agendas/A20151005a.pdf
The Freeport City Council will be meeting on Monday, September 21 at 6:00 pm at 524 W. Stephenson Street, 3rd Floor. You can watch it live on Comcast Channel 17.
Some items of interest on the agenda:
Appointment of Alexander S. Mills as Community Development Director to be voted on by Council. This vote was originally scheduled for the special meeting on September 14, but was postponed since Alderperson Klemm was absent from the special meeting. Since Klemm usually has nothing contructive to add to any meeting, his vote must be needed to support the confirmation of this individual. It’s too bad Klemm doesn’t work for his constituents in the 1st Ward with the same enthusiam he shows for the Mayor’s appointments.
2nd Reading of Ordinance to issue 2.5 million in bonds mainly to finance work on library for its transition to the new city hall. Also, includes some money for repairs to the old city hall builidng pending a decision on its disposition.
For the complete agenda go to http://www.ci.freeport.il.us/citygovernment/Agendas/A20150921a.pdf
The City is spending $517,714 on new streets, and now $140,790 for micro-surfacing select, important, and one must only presume, high tax revenue generating streets in Freeport. Again, the Woodside Drive area is getting nothing. The streets in the Woodside Drive area are a disgrace to this community and just plain dangerous. See Good Day Illinois on June 1 at https://gooddayillinois.com/2015/06/01/street-superintendent-dole-pledges-to-repair-alleys-in-the-city-of-freeports-5th-ward-fire-station-parking-lots-are-a-priority/
The Freeport City Council will be meeting on Monday, July 20 at 6:00 pm at 524 W. Stephenson Street, 3rd Floor. You can watch it live on Comcast Channel 17. Some items of interest on the agenda:
Mayor Gitz in Journal Standard on Sunday, July 19 tried to explain the difference between the Appropriation Ordinance and Spending Plan. He failed miserably – bureaucratic double talk. The biggest reason the Appropriation Ordinance does not accurately reflect projected spending is that City like other taxing bodies such as the Freeport School District are TAX PIGS. Taxing bodies want to suck all of the revenue they can from the real estate taxes. If for some reason (unlikely in Freeport), real estate assessments rose, the City could get more revenue. For God’s sake, every taxing body wants all of the money they can get. If this were not the case, appropriation ordinances and tax levies would accurately reflect projected income and expenses.
To view the complete meeting agenda go to: ttp://www.ci.freeport.il.us/citygovernment/Agendas/A20150720a.pdf
For the first time in more than eight years it appears that Freeport has a fiscally responsible City Council. Unfortunately, the reckless spending during eight years of the Gaulrapp administration, which has continued for another two years under the leadership of Alderman Tom Klemm, has left the City of Freeport in a very difficult financial situation. Freeport has a lot in common with the State of Illinois – years of reckless spending and sweetheart deals with labor unions. If you have time tonight, go to the council meeting at 6:00 pm at 524 W. Stephenson Street, 3rd Floor, or 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/A20150615.pdf