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Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010 01:30 pm

Letters to the Editor 2/18/10

Lincoln Library, Turbine Turmoil and District 186 Schools

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LIBRARY LOVE

So we raise the city sales tax and lay off employees at Lincoln Library? Furlough days for everybody.

Can someone explain to me why our city fathers forgo sales tax revenues from multi-billion dollar corporations, as well as allowing city and library property taxes to slip through their fingers when these loopholes could easily be closed?

Specifically, they allow companies to develop properties outside the city limits, but still provide controlled water privileges when these buildings are constructed or go through major renovations.

Why don’t we require these businesses to build on property within the city, or somewhere that can and will be annexed, so that we can collect the city’s share of the sales and property taxes in order to obtain water service? The city’s library is broke, laying off employees and closing branches. Why don’t we require these businesses to pay the property taxes to support this and other tax supported operations?

Multi-billion dollar international oil companies, fast food chains and even locally owned service chains all get to pocket our sales taxes. In doing so, they gain an unfair edge over their competition who must comply and collect and pay sales and property taxes to the city and library.

I studied the intersection of Dirksen and Sangamon and found that $5 million in fair market value (according the county tax assessor’s Web site) receive city services while not paying a penny in city sales tax or city property and library tax. All built within my memory. The lost revenues just in sales taxes alone must be staggering.

I would bet that if Royal Dutch Shell or British Petroleum were told that their gas stations could not have city water unless they annexed, their lawyers could figure out a way to get the property annexed. Why don’t we stop this practice, and either make them build within the city, our tax base, or haul water?

Alan E. Kirby
Springfield


TURBINE TURMOIL

Is the county board in the hip pockets of the oil and coal interests, or are they just cowards? Their ridiculous attempts to rewrite the county zoning laws to get rid of wind turbines at the “insistence” of Cathy Bomke and a whopping 450 signatories to a petition is a paper-thin excuse. They have a history of standing in the road of individual efforts to generate electricity by wind when they wrote new restrictive zoning ordinances to prevent residential turbines from being used in an economically effective way in Sangamon County. They said it was for safety reasons, though no one had “brought” the issue to them. But that was just a practice run to tune up for blocking out the big babies. Think about what that means.

At the beginning of a huge recession, when we needed all the tax revenue and all the jobs we could get, Andy Van Meter and company virtually banned any access to individual residential wind turbines. Then, at the height of the recession with cuts to the county sheriff’s department, the Springfield police department and the Springfield fire department now plan to block more local jobs and more local tax revenue by making it impossible to build a wind farm here. No other county in the state of Illinois has ever done that.

So I must repeat, now when we need jobs and tax revenues the most, why is the county board willing to throw away both? I think it is time for a change.

Doug Nicodemus
Riverton


DISTRICT 186 ADMINISTRATION

I don’t have a problem with supporting and helping with funding for District 186 schools; I have a problem with the school board [see “High price for high schools” by Amanda Robert, Feb. 11]. I have had problems with their decision-making over the years. Our school district in Springfield has been a mess for decades, not just the last two or three years. So many promises made by our school board administration, and nothing as a result.

Dr. Milton himself states, “If the school board members stay the course and show the community strong, consistent decision-making they will convince the community that Option B is in their children’s best interest.” Obviously Dr. Milton sees the poor decision-making our school board members make on a daily basis for him to make a statement like that.  

Why is this year any different? This school district has had plenty of money over the years to do something with our debilitating schools. Now it’s 2010 and the schools are still depleted, and they want sales and property tax increases for what? To line administration pockets?

This school board administration has lost my trust. Until I start seeing concrete decision-making coming from them, I will support nothing. Just like they’ve supported nothing when it comes to making a better place for our children.

LaDonna McClanahan
Springfield

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