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School Board’s contract offer appears fair to everyone

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union representing school district bus drivers, nutrition employees and paraprofessionals have been complaining that the school board refuses to bargain with them concerning primarily health insurance and wages. The school board declared an impasse on January 11, after nine months of negotiations and the union refuses to accept the district’s final offer. AFSCME members believe the district’s contract is unfair and demands continuing negotiations. The district’s current...

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Rockford’s proposed Property Tax Refund Program could cause tax rates to rise

Initially, the Rockford Homebuyer’s Property Tax Refund Program appears to be a well-intentioned proposal to eliminate some of the blight in the city and to revitalize home values. The program gives property tax refunds for three years to those who build single-family homes, or buy foreclosed or “short-sale” homes as their primary residence, anywhere within the City of Rockford, if the homes are under contract by the end of the year. After the property owners, who purchase a qualifying home, pay their normal property taxes, the city will...

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Is it time to get rid of Tax Caps?

Property tax bills have arrived and it is obvious that the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law – PTELL – commonly known as the Property Tax Cap Law, is not working as intended. PTELL was supposed to protect property owners in non-home rule districts from huge tax increases when home values were increasing very rapidly by limiting taxing districts to the taxes levied the previous year plus inflation up to 5% and an additional amount for new construction. The law was not intended to hurt taxpayers by increasing property taxes, even as...

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Boone County Board destroys future credibility

If there was ever an action taken by an elected body that eliminated any lingering trust in elected official’s credibility, look no further than the Boone County Board majority. In order to aid the passage of a 1999 referendum for construction bonds to fund a $9.3 million dollar jail expansion, members of the Boone County Board and bond proponents promised voters, and added a clause in a 2011 ordinance, that pledged when the bonds were retired in 2018, the one-half cent sales tax would be repealed – a sunset clause. In March, 2015, the Boone...

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Much improvement needed in RSD205 to provide foundation for Transform Rockford

Currently, many positive things are happening in the Rockford School District. The community is providing $250M over the next ten years for elementary school facilities, new high school classrooms and field houses, renovated libraries and new school buildings, providing an environment conducive to learning. The district is also implementing new educational concepts such as career academies, the business and industrial communities are becoming involved with schools through the Rockford Alignment process and volunteering for United Way’s “I...

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Several Rockford districts will not raise property tax levy in 2015

The Illinois Tax Cap law allows taxing districts – the schools, the city, the county, etc. – to collect the same amount of property taxes as they did the previous year, plus inflation up to 5%, even as property values decline, by permitting the districts to raise their tax rates to their statutory limits without referendum. Winnebago County accounts for approximately 7.4% of the total property tax bill, while the city and the school district account for ten times that amount – 73.6% of the total tax bill. The county’s tax levy has...

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