Guest Column: Is William Charles special?

October 19, 2011

By Nichole Larison Sammon
Fox Ridge Subdivision resident

Winnebago County Board member Angie Goral (D-7) stated in the daily Oct. 12 regarding her voting for the special-use permit for William Charles’ proposed asphalt plant in its East State Street quarry that, “If it was in my back yard, I’d probably have an issue, too, but we have to take out the emotional part and really look at what the project involves.” From this statement, it appears Goral doesn’t want it in her back yard, but it is OK to be placed in yours.

In the same article, she stated, “Every time we bid a project, if that company has to go 20 miles to get asphalt or concrete, it’s costing taxpayers’ dollars.”

Goral’s taxpayer dollar argument doesn’t hold water. William Charles is looking to move one of their four asphalt plants from the upper middle of the county to the farthest east edge of Winnebago County. In fact, the quarry William Charles has chosen is split right in the middle by the Winnebago and Boone County lines. If, for example, a job was needed in downtown Rockford, the asphalt from Nimtz Quarry would be closer to the job than the East State Street quarry. If a job was needed on the far west side of Winnebago County, the asphalt from Nimtz Quarry would be miles closer than asphalt from the East State Street quarry. Goral’s statement refers to a 20-mile delivery. Since Winnebago County is only 21 miles wide, the only way the asphalt would travel 20 miles for a job in Winnebago County is if, in fact, it was moved to the East State Street quarry.

I am concerned about taxpayer dollars, Winnebago County tax dollars, and I would like the asphalt plant to stay in a location more strategic for delivery costs within Winnebago County, the Nimtz quarry. The only people who would benefit from the asphalt plant moving to the farthest point in Winnebago County would, in fact, be William Charles.

65XX Rock Valley Pkwy. — tax due $28.46

As far as tax dollars, William Charles or Winnebago County has found many creative ways to limit property taxes to Winnebago County. Let’s look at just a few properties, for example. In information obtained from the Rockford Township Property Search, found on the internet, William Charles purchased property in May 1997 located at 65XX (sic) Rock Valley Pkwy. for $1,626,748. That property, according to the Winnebago County Treasurer’s online records, Parcel No. 12-02-251-001 now has a Fair Market Value of $966 and the TOTAL TAX DUE on this property is $28.46 and the Land Use is “Commercial Preferential.”

5731 Charles St. — taxed single family

Another property located at 5731 Charles St. Parcel No. 12-33-401-001, Land Use “Improved Industrial” is being taxed as a “single family,” which just happens to have a gravel quarry and a monopole cell tower in the back yard. This aforementioned property just happens to be the Mulford/Harrison quarry, which is currently in litigation with the City of Rockford over the last special-use permit William Charles applied for.

5300 Nimtz Road — tax due $44,306.28

William Charles states that they are going to close the Nimtz Quarry located at 5300 Nimtz Road in Loves Park. The total tax bill for parcel Nos. 08-33-326-005 and 08-33-401-002 is $44,306.28.

East State Street Quarry — $17,739.76

The East State Street quarry, parcel nos. 12-24-276-001, 12-24-226-002, and 12-24-226-003, have a total tax bill of $17,739.76. Is this one of the real reasons they want to operate an asphalt plant at the East State Street quarry and close the one on Nimtz Road?

Our property values continue to depreciate, yet our property taxes stay inflated. As shown by many facts found in our public databases, there is no “benefit” to the taxpayers of Winnebago County for this asphalt plant to be placed in the East State Street quarry.

The effects on adjacent property

Even with the arguments that this will not benefit Winnebago County, the only thing that should be considered for a special-use permit, according to Winnebago County Ordinance, our laws, is the effect of such use on the adjacent property; the neighbors of the special use. Please read the ordinance yourself. Call your Winnebago County Board member and ask them to re-read the Zoning Ordinance for special-use permits. Ask them to understand it before they vote.

We are a country of laws. I am asking as a resident of this county, for the Winnebago County Board to follow those laws. If you support only this point, please come to the Oct. 27 Winnebago County Board meeting and show your support.

From the Oct. 19-26, 2011, issue

One Comment

  1. Whatever

    October 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    There is so much misinformation in this guest column, it is ridiculous. Do you really think the little strip of useless land on Rock Valley Parkway was purchased for that much? I looked at the assessor file. There is a “parent” property code. Meaning, the small, relatively worthless strip of land was separated from a larger parcel. If you would drive a few miles north out of your neighborhood and exit Riverside Blvd. toward the west, some development has been happening over the years since 1997. Farm and Fleet, a couple of gas stations, factories, hotels, and on and on. These are all good because they employ people and provide sales taxes to Loves Park (which, by the way has no property tax levy).

    As far as the Nimtz Road property, yes, they are going to stop mining because they have “hit bottom.” However,could the higher value of the Nimtz properties be attributed to the fact that the headquarters of the construction company and mining operations (formerly known as Rockford Blacktop) are located there? This property contains engineering, quarry operations and mechanical operations, along with storage of equipment. There hasn’t been any breaking news that the remainder of William Charles’ businesses are leaving that property. It think it’s still pretty valuable and the tax bill shows it.

    Next: The property on Charles Street is not “taxed as a single family.” The assessor’s site simply lists a single family home exists on the property.

    You sound slightly hysterical to people who have lived next to the company’s other operations for many years. I do not work for them, but their property is visible from my front door. They provide jobs and are good neighbors. As far as the asphalt plant and quarry operations, over the many years I have lived next to it, the very few problems we have had are with the dust from the mining, and the few instances there was a minor problem they took care of it after a simple phone call. They have shown that they want to be the best neighbors they can be with what goes on at that property.

    I don’t mean to defend them (well, I guess I do), but every time a William Charles – associated company is mentioned, the conspiracy theories abound. I am tired of it. They employ probably thousands of people. Frankly, whenever I see them doing road work, I am proud a local company won the bid and locals are WORKING.

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