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Ordinance shifts 911 financial/contractual issues to county administration

The debate framed by the Rockford Register Star in last Sunday’s op-ed was that the Winnebago County 911 service has been caught up in political games. The editorial further opined that people don’t care about political fiefdoms, budget deficits or the color of squad cars dispatched when one’s life is literally on the line. The “wrangling” over the 911 service, as far as the county board is concerned, has been to keep the 911 Center functioning after the sheriff unilaterally announced he had cut the 911 budget by one-half and given the staff...

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S.A.F.E. attacks county board on sheriff’s budget – lack sufficient information

The S.A.F.E. group is again personally attacking those members of the Winnebago County Board, who are trying to hold the line on property taxes to balance a 2018 budget deficit of $6.9 million. Our board members are accused of being against public safety simply because some members disagree with S.A.F.E’s position on the amount of funding for the sheriff’s office, basing their position on data prior to the time Sheriff Caruana took office. Let’s look at facts, not threats! The starting point for the sheriff’s 2018 budget discussion logically...

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Winnebago county-wide officials bypass county board budget statutes

In last month’s article, “Local taxpayers affected by unfunded state mandates,” it was determined to be a challenge for local taxing districts to balance their budget with additional expenditures being continuously imposed upon them from Springfield. It is no less challenging having some of our county-wide independently elected officials and department heads adding additional taxpayer dollars to their departmental budget allocations, while bypassing county board approval, which is required by state law. This year, Winnebago County faces a...

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County sets priority for law enforcement despite deficits

Two representatives of SAFE – Secure Active Family Environment – Joe Castrogiovanni and Mike Tulley, in a Public Safety Op-ed last Sunday accused the Winnebago County board and administration of diverting $1.1M dollars of the Public Safety Sales Tax – PSST – using the money for purposes other than public safety based on evidence “found” by Sheriff Caruana’s in the first year of his term. The sheriff has also alleged that the county has cut the sheriff’s budget for the past 15 years, yet the sheriff’s budget has increased...

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Sheriff overspends budget without prior county board approval

Sheriff Caruana properly cautions that Winnebago County, especially Rockford, is in the midst of a violent crime crisis and that is why the board initiated, and some have continued to support the Justice Center bond restructuring, to provide additional funding to the Sheriff’s Office from the one percent Public Safety Sales Tax PSST. The Sheriff’s Office, however, has not followed the county budget process, as regulated by state statute 55 ILCS 5, which requires a simple majority of the county board to adopt a budget but two-thirds of the...

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Winnebago County is an excellent steward of taxpayer dollars

Last Sunday’s Rockford Register Star Opinion Section included a column written by recent county board appointee, David Boomer, describing his first experience/lesson in county government by impugning the financial integrity of Winnebago County officials. Most Winnebago County officials and staff were disappointed, to say the least, to see the county’s financial judgement compared to the reckless spending of Springfield and Washington, D.C., based on a single vote restructuring a portion of the 1% Public Safety Sales Tax (PSST) to help fund...

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