29th Matthew Barton, Robert Hevia-Carter, Chad Elder, Russ Osbun 30th Courtney Corvers, Joanne Polasek 31st Paul Bartlett Sr., Rob Brinkman, Scot Hay, Kelly McLellan, Michael Reeds, Ken Rowley, Bob Tidey SEPTEMBER 1st Millie Groen, Sarah McLellan, Scott Pratt 2nd Wanette Abshire, Brad Des Noyers, John Hone, Robby Kuntz, John Winks, Marilyn Ziomkowske 3rd Anna Ellen 4th Judy Baer, Doug Behnke, Rose Doering, Travis Fase
The Good News With all the bad news in the world, I’m happy to see that we’re getting off the gasoline kick. Crude oil was formed from living things buried under prehistoric seas, and eventually it will all be used up. The automobile made use of cheap petroleum but, a century later, it’s not so cheap anymore. One look at the Interstate and you can see the results of supply and demand. Transportation has drastically changed our lives and we can’t easily give it up. But it looks like the human race is getting serious about exchanging gasoline for renewable-source electricity. (Thank you, Thomas Edison!) We’re on our way to an oil-free future. That’s good news! Extinction Not us! Charles Darwin, in postulating the theory of evolution, noted that plants and animals best adapted to the environment were the ones who survived. He never figured on the changes humans could make on the environment. We have species disappearing because humans are taking away their habitat. You know what happened to the passenger pigeon, the bison, the great auk, and many others too small to notice. Humans are the worst enemy of lots of plants, birds and animals. We hunt them, eat them and change them by breeding. We have to live, too. About all we can do is keep a few samples around to remind us. I guess that’s what zoos are for. Health Insurance Confusion There’s too much misinformation floating around to figure out what’s going on with the 3-5 bills in Congress. It’s too much to cover in one fell swoop. Medicare has been a successful program, although expensive. It can be expanded and made less expensive. Congress should concentrate on “Medicare for all.” Frankly, I trust the government more than the competing, for-profit insurance companies. Abby Strikes Out Dear Abby admitted she was at a loss to answer the following: “Dear Abby, “A couple of women moved in across the hall from me. One is a middle-aged gym teacher and the other is a social worker in her mid twenties. These two women go everywhere together and I’ve never seen a man go into or leave their apartment. Do you think they could be Lebanese?” “Dear Abby, “What can I do about […]
Should government be involved in health care? The bill before Congress is entitled “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.” When all is said and done, the final version of the bill that President Obama signs will influence the health care of all of us, our children, and our children’s children. I believe it’s that big of a deal. It’s an emotional topic. From what we see on the television, people are not afraid to voice their opinions about government’s further involvement in health care. I say “further” involvement because we do have the Medicare and Medicaid programs that are currently administered by the government. Is there waste in these programs? Yes. Is there a bureaucracy in these programs that makes it difficult to deal with at times? Yes. However, do the programs run as they are advertised? I would say yes. When a taxpayer turns 65, he/she enrolls in Medicare and usually ceases to be covered by normal health insurance. This happens every day, all day long, and usually happens without a glitch. Many taxpayers, however, do purchase a supplemental policy because of the shortcomings of Medicare. When an elderly person in a nursing home runs out of money and is no longer able to pay for care, Medicaid somewhat seamlessly picks up the paying of the nursing home. This also happens all day long, usually without a glitch. So, let’s start with the assumption that our federal government is already involved in the health care business, but currently it is limited to the 65-and-over crowd. They now want to get involved in the under-65 crowd. Perhaps we should be reviewing the Medicare and Medicaid programs to see if the federal government is worthy of expanding their involvement. Are they controlling their costs or do they have the same problems the private sector has with wildly increasing costs? How is the health care for the participants compared to the private sector? Just because the federal government can get involved in the under-65 crowd’s insurance doesn’t mean they should. Of course, the federal government’s motivation for this involvement comes from two items. First, there are approximately 47 million Americans who are not covered by health insurance of any type. More people every day are joining […]
After reading last week’s article in the Rockford Squire, I thought it would be helpful to provide additional information on the City’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the proposal to extend the term of the DDA for an additional thirty (30) years. As reported in the Squire the original DDA was formed in 1984. At the time a DDA is created, a base SEV is established, which represents the assessed value of all properties within the district. At the time Rockford’s DDA District was established, the total value was $2,679,400. The taxes generated from this value continue to go to the various taxing jurisdictions such as the County, Community College, Intermediate School District, Kent District Library and the City. Over time, as the value of the district increases, the new taxes generated above the base value are “captured” by the DDA and reinvested within the District, according to the Development Plan. Through this mechanism the taxes paid by the business/property owners within the District are reinvested in the form of capital projects to improve the overall business climate within the District. In my opinion, DDAs are one of the most effective economic development tools a small community has at its disposal. Overtime as the City and DDA continues to make public improvements within the District, private investment also accelerates. We have seen over the years the wonderful investment our business owners have made throughout the downtown area. This public/private partnership only serves to continue investment throughout the entire district. The chart below identifies the various taxing jurisdictions that are subject to capture within the DDA. Through this capture, the DDA collects approximately $192,000 for reinvestment within the District. Of the $192,000, shown in the chart, the City of Rockford is the largest capture of over $110,000. It is important to note that the City does not capture taxes from the Rockford Public Schools either for debt, operations or their special recreation millage. Of this capture, approximately $95,000 goes towards paying off the downtown streetscape bond issue, with another $25,000 going each year towards the Peppler Park Renovation project. The City and DDA are also splitting the cost of the Northland Pontiac purchase and renovation to the parking lots. The remaining money, about $60,000 per year […]
Kent County Administrator Daryl Delabbio said he thought the Squire’s article last week on DDAs did not make clear that DDAs can last forever if not allowed to expire. He offered this comment for clarification for our readers. In effect, DDAs can last “forever” if the city, township, or village extends them by amending their development and financing plans and time frame while they currently exist. So, if Rockford extends the existing DDA for another 10, 15, 20, 25 years, it can at any time continually amend its plan and extend the DDA’s life. If the City wants to amend the plan and extend the time in 2009, the DDA would exist for however long the plan called for (up to 30 years or until 2039). Then in 2015, the City wants to amend the plan again and extend the time, it can do so (for up to 30 years or until 2045). The County could not “opt out” of having it’s taxes captured by the DDA. If, however, the Rockford DDA ended based on its current development and financing plan and the City took no action to amend or extend it, then the DDA would end. At that point, if Rockford wanted to have a DDA, it would have to create a new one. At this point, the County could opt out, because state law (which was changed in 1995) allows it to. A 30-year time span is not required, but seems to be common to many DDAs.