Every resident of the City of Freeport, Illinois should take a look at the “2015-2016 Total Compensation Report for City Employees over $75,000.” If you read this report, it will give you an idea of the cost each additional employee hired by the City. Of course, it does not factor in the future pension costs that will be incurred by the City to support many of these employees such as those of the police department who retire after 20 years and move to Florida. How many officers in the police department make over $125,000 – count them? Almost half the officers on the Freeport police department make over $125,000. If you think the Mayor is the highest paid official, you are wrong. The police chief is the highest paid at almost $167,000, and he does not even live in Freeport. Of course, this is true of many other highly compensated employees of the City who do not live in Freeport. When you do not live here, or plan on leaving after 20 years, you have no stake in the future of the community.
Read the full report at http://www.ci.freeport.il.us/departments/FY2016%20compensation%20report-FINAL.pdf
If you want to hear more about City employee compensation, go to the Freeport City Council meeting on Monday October 3 at 6:00 pm at the temporary City Hall at 524 W. Stephenson Street, 3rd Floor, or watch it live on Comcast Channel 17. The complete meeting agenda is available at http://www.ci.freeport.il.us/citygovernment/Agendas/A20161003.pdf
In the Freeport Journal Standard on August 25, 2016 there was the August edition of the Freeport Area Chamber Communicator. On page 3 there was an article entitled “Vote YES for Freeport to Adopt the Managerial Form of Municipal Government.” The article stated that the committee promoting the change to a managerial form of city government had retained legal counsel from a Rockford law firm, and the writer of the article even added how impressed the committee was with this attorney, and that the committee was in good hands. To those attorneys who are members of the Freeport Chamber, it appears that none of you have the necessary skills to represent this elite body. And to the taxpayers of Freeport, ask yourself if this law firm pays real estate taxes in Freeport, and ask yourself if the members of this firm live in Freeport. No wonder this attorney from Rockford is promoting the change since she will not be paying for it.
NOTE: Our firm does not do municipal work. We handle estate planning, estate and trust administration and litigation, elder law, and agricultural real estate. However, there are outstanding attorneys in Freeport who could handle this issue, and who are probably members of the Chamber! I guess they mean Freeport first, only sometimes!
Ten years ago in the City of Freeport, it was a rare occurrence to see deer in the daytime. Now you will see herds of deer in parts of Freeport 24 hours a day. They are eating their way through our plants, shrubs, and small trees. The City has spent and continues to spend tens of thousands of dollars yearly on downtown beautification while the rest of the City to put it bluntly goes to Hell. I guess there is no money for a program to reduce the deer population. If only the deer would relocate to the downtown. Then and only then would we get some action. In the meantime, just buy lots of mulch for your flower beds since you will have no living plants. Give Alderperson Klemm a call. Perhaps. he can get you a beautification grant to buy mulch! Then again, don’t waste your time calling him. He will do nothing as usual except pontificate about his do-nothing 10 years as an alderperson.
The Freeport City Council will be meeting on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 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:
Presentation on Economic Data for Northwest Illinois (wherever that is!) by NIDA Director and TCEDA Director. Just look at their titles and you know the presentation will be another bureaucratic disaster. For everyone’s information LWA 3 consists of Boone, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties. TCEDA stands for Tri-County Economic Development Alliance which consists of Jo Daviess, Carroll, and Whiteside Counties. The Rockford MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) consists of Boone and Winnebago Counties. The report starts out showing the population change in LWA 3 and then the next page shows population trends in TCEDA. This is typical of this report. I guess the NIDA director is paid by counties in TCEDA and Rockford MSA. If the report had been done with consistent comparisons and an emphasis on Stephenson County, it would have shown disastrous trends for the area which should be addressed.
See the full report at http://www.cityoffreeport.org/OrdRes/NIDA%20TCEDA%20HCC%20presentation.pdf
Ordinance Directing Sale of vacated fire station at 1819 S West Avenue, Freeport. Before proceeding, the Freeport Assessor should give the Council an estimate as to how much the Assessor will assess the property for and how much tax revenue it will generate if it is sold. A prospective buyer would appreciate this information.
For the full agenda go to http://www.ci.freeport.il.us/citygovernment/Agendas/A20160119.pdf
From 10 to 5 pm at Krape Park, Freeport, Illinois join the Freeport Park District and the Freeport Art Museum as they welcome back the 8th annual, award winning, Art in the Park. Stroll the walks and view the fine art on display by local and regional artists. Purchase a wonderful new piece of artwork to take home with you! Listen as local performing artists take the stage throughout the day. Partake in creative hands-on activities with the kids, and celebrate with some great food.
For details go to http://www.artintheparkfreeport.com/home-event-schedule.html
Events begin at 4 pm with cruising from 4 to 7 pm in downtown Freeport. There will be live music, a food court offering a variety of tasty choices, and three contests: the Soundwerks Plus and Tailor Made Autoworks LLC Sound Off Contest, the Gary’s Collision & Customs Muffler Rapping Contest , and the Dan’s Route 66 Service Burn Out Contest. There will be a lot filled with antique cars, a Motorcycle parking area, two main parking lots, and a lot, for the classic cars. In addition, downtown restaurants Main Street Bistro, PJ’s Stephenson Street Station, and This Is It Eatery will be open. PJ’s will also offer the band, The Beaux, playing 60s and 70s music. Souvenir t-shirts and photo booth will be available at K&M Photography on Stephenson Street. Spectator parking is available on streets and in parking lots outside of the Cruise Route. For more details go to http://www.freeportcruisenight.org/contact.html
On Chicago Avenue between Main and Stephenson Street in downtown Freeport from 5:30 pm to 11 pm you can enjoy Freeport’s downtown with music featuring two bands, great food and a beer garden. The concert features “Jazz on Chicago” with the Mary J. Harris Swing Band playing music from the great American Swing Era, past and present. For more information see http://www.maryjharris.com/
The Highland Big Band (Highland Community College) will be the featured band with guest vocalists Quynetta Sanders and Ryan Jensen. For information on the Band see http://www.highland.edu/boxoffice/groups/bands.asp
You can also enjoy the Open Air Market on Chicago Avenue, adjacent to Music on Chicago from 4 pm to Dusk.
Downtown Freeport, Illinois on Chicago Avenue between Main and Stephenson Street, 5:30 pm to 11 pm. Enjoy Freeport’s historic downtown with this music fest featuring two bands, great food and a beer garden. The June concert features “Rock on Chicago” with Mr. Big Stuff, a Rockford, Illinois band. The first band starts at 6 pm and the second band at 8 pm. Also enjoy the Open Air Market on Chicago Avenue, adjacent to Music on Chicago – open 4 pm to Dusk. See their website at http://www.mrbigstuffband.com/
Most properties in the City of Freeport are over assessed. This means that your real estate taxes are too high. Property values since 2008 have been falling, and assessments do not accurately reflect this fact. If you don’t like your assessment, you must file a complaint with the Stephenson County Board of Review. Why can’t the Freeport Assessor treat all property owners fairly by basing all assessments on current market values? The answer is simple – government bureaucrats at the city and county level have a vested interest in maintaining high assessments in order to produce more tax revenue. Many properties in Freeport are assessed at 20% to 30% over market value. This could cost a taxpayer hundreds and even thousands of dollars each year.
If someone robs a bank, it is called stealing since you are not entitled to money which depositors have entrusted to the bank. When government unfairly taxes its citizens and misuses taxpayer money, it is justified since the bureaucrats rationalize that it is used for a good purpose – the salaries of government workers! In truth it is just plain wrong and no different than stealing.
The event will be held in Downtown Freeport, Illinois from 1 to 6 pm with a craft beer tasting and food vendors at corner of Chicago and Douglas Street across from the Library. It is a fundraiser for Freeport Downtown Development Foundation with four goals – To support downtown Freeport revitalization, bring people to downtown Freeport and to promote craft beer and local foods.
For more details go to http://www.pretzelcitybrewfest.com/