The better botheration with Illinois’ nearly 7,000 units of bounded government, far added than any added state, was illustrated altogether by Isaac Guerrero’s Sunday story about Winnebago County’s alone backdrop and how difficult it is to put some of them aback on the tax rolls.
The affliction of the affliction are on Rockford’s west, southwest and southeast sides.
What we accept actuality is abortion to acquaint amid governments — and we accept about 85 of them in this county. What a decay of shrinking tax dollars.
Guerrero’s piece declared the abounding entanglements that accomplish it about absurd to aish some of these backdrop from abeyant animation, area they’re trapped in a web of contributed taxes owed to the nine or 10 demanding districts in which they are located, not to acknowledgment tax liens, acreage liens, fines, cipher violations, you name it.
Worse, the backdrop are in the affliction of a “trustee,” address of a accomplished bearing of canton leaders who in 1997 accustomed this adjustment with Dennis Ballinger Real Estate of Decatur to try to find investors to pay the aback taxes or buy the properties.
In May, about 200 of these lots were awash at an bargain abiding by Ballinger’s firm. Obviously, the buyers saw abeyant in them.
But there are added backdrop that, let’s face it, no one is anytime activity to buy, and best of those are in Rockford.
While they abide in limbo — a abode that the Roman Catholic Church decided in 2007 does not abide — Rockford taxpayers are on the angle for about $200,000 a year for mowing the weeds and removing the debris that accumulates.
There’s a bigger problem, however. When one abode or abandoned acreage avalanche into a action of squalor, it affects the absolute block. Responsible acreage owners adjacent get angry, and if they don’t see that acreage bankrupt up, they move.
And that makes the city, county, academy commune and all the added demanding districts poorer.
Mayor Tom McNamara wants to assignment with Winnebago Canton Chairman Frank Haney to break this problem. He offered Haney several options, including designating Rockford as the trustee for tax behind backdrop instead of advantageous Ballinger to be the trustee.
Haney, though, declared this as a “city” problem, not a “county” problem. In Guerrero’s story, Haney said, the affluence of drop lots throughout the canton is “not an unimportant issue, but it hasn’t been a antecedence for us.” He additionally said canton government has no albatross to pay to advance backdrop so they accommodated Rockford’s standards.
I’m afraid at the chairman’s “silo” attitude because he talks so generally about his charge to intergovernmental cooperation in all things.
Compartmentalized cerebration and a abridgement of accepted vision has impeded advance about actuality back the city’s co-founder Germanicus Kent said goodbye to Rockford in 1843 and confused to Virginia.
Here’s what needs to be done. The burghal and the county should accede that austere backdrop will break that way if the accepted bearings continues. That will abide to annoyance bottomward adjacent backdrop until they, too, are austere and derelict.
The burghal and county should anatomy a bunch of bounded governments to whom taxes from behind backdrop are owed, and advance a accommodating action for proceeding.
The top antecedence charge be to at atomic accomplish these backdrop accurate and tidy. Alone homes that are above adjustment charge be removed.
A aliment armamentarium charge be established, with all demanding bodies chipping in their share, to get this assignment done.
The bunch should assignment with all accessible ally — YouthBuild, Habitat for Humanity and added such organizations appear to apperception — to body new homes on residential lots.
The affairs charge be countywide so that there’s accepted buy-in.
Finally, is there some absolutely important acumen that we accept to pay an alfresco close to be the trustee? Can’t bounded governments do that job and save some money, which could be acclimated to advance behind properties?
This ain’t rocket science, folks, aloof authority gone mad.
Chuck Sweeny: 815-987-1366; [email protected]; @chucksweeny
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