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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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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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a clause in a 2011 ordinance, that pledged when the bonds were retired in 2018, the one-half cent sales tax would be repealed – a sunset clause.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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Minimum wage increase will not boost Illinois economy

Raising the minimum wage will not boost the Illinois economy. Businesses must pay competitive wages regardless of the overwhelming support of 2 out of 3 Illinois voters for the non-binding minimum wage referendum in the November . Businesses cannot base their business decisions on a majority vote of the people. It’s not government’s job to determine the wages paid by private business. Private wages must be competitive or the business will close unless it raises prices; notwithstanding the prevailing wage for government projects. The General...

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Winnebago County developing a plan of action for bears and other wild animals

A six-foot, 250 pound black bear has been spotted roaming throughout Winnebago County and at least three other counties. The state’s plan of action seems to be – let the bear move along, there’s nothing to see here, folks – not yet! This type of animal sighting, on people’s property, has been an infrequent occurrence in our county, but with population centers impinging upon these animal’s habitats, it’s likely to become more common. However, the reasons for the bear’s displacement and wanderings in our area are...

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