Stephenson County voters are faced with four referenda this election; in all cases, the ultimate result of a Yes majority vote will mean higher taxes, some short-term, some for on infinitum or until the next referendum.
But can County voters afford higher tax rates? After all, revenues generally increase with inflation!
Fifty-percent of Freeports public school students eat free or reduced luncheswe need to support the poor. Freeports not rich, but median income continues to rise while job losses continue and lower-paying jobs abound. How can this be? Wealth is being redistributed among the few who benefit from paying workers less.
Earlier this fall, a few locals tried to petition a $20.5 million advisory referendum on the November ballot for widening U.S. Hwy. 20they failed.
In Stephenson County, the Board approved a $20 million county road referendum for Tuesdays ballot (they only have $9 million open on their credit line). The ballot reads Stephenson County Highway Bonds; it does not disclose its binding, but all public debt is binding. It must be repaid somehow.
Voters should read carefully so they are not confused to think this is the $20.5 million advisory referendum. Republican County Board incumbent Gerald Harbach even seemed confused in a recently published interview.
Question: If Stephenson County has only $9 million available for general public debt per county statute and the 1970 Illinois Constitution, then would voters be approving the County to exceed their debt limit if the referendum passed?
Other Stephenson County referendum include: creating a new Veterans Assistance Commission levy to fund supportive services for veteransthe levy will be approved for all years thereafter; Freeport Township is looking to triple its tax rate, approving the levy for all years thereafter; and Dakota Fire Protection District is looking to build a new station with the bells and whistles for a mere $575,000.
Contributing Writer Marianne L. Garvens is a Freeport resident.
From the Nov. 1-7, 2006, issue