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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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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Local taxpayers affected by unfunded state mandates

It’s challenging for a local taxing body to balance their budget without additional unfunded state mandates being imposed on them from Springfield, whether it’s the Illinois Supreme Court in the first example below or the general assembly in the second example, which hasn’t balanced a budget in over a decade. Effective November 1, 2016, the Illinois Supreme Court amended its Rule 941concerning the “Use of Restraints on a Minor in all juvenile delinquency proceedings arising under the Juvenile Court Act” of 1987. This ruling mandates that...

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EAV Fluctuation has little effect on property taxes under Tax Caps

Most people in Rockford and around the state believe that when property values increase in a taxing district due to a real estate market turnaround, Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts expiring or new construction, the tax base increases and the net result will be lower property taxes in that district. It doesn’t work that way under current Illinois property tax laws. Taxes do not decrease simply because the Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) increases in a given tax district since Winnebago County is subject to the Illinois Property Tax...

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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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