Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Transparency bill would put earmarks, FOIA results online

bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, (D-Chicago), March 25, would increase the public’s ability to access information about lobbyists, Congressional committees and executive agencies

federal agencies to post on the Internet their responses to public requests for information filed under the Freedom of Information Act.

Congressional committees would be required to post votes, hearing transcripts and video online. In addition Congressional earmark requests would be posted in a public database. All legislation would need to be made available to the public at least 72 hours prior to consideration by the House of Representatives. And lobbyists would need to disclose the names of legislators and officials with whom they met.

Click on the following for more details:   Transparency bill would put earmarks, FOIA results online

State pension funds could be insolvent in a decade, biz leaders

  That's the claim of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club [Chicago]

The funds or the state could borrow again, "but that will just make the problem worse," with the state now without a way to make up an estimated $80-billion-plus in unfunded liability in the pension funds.

Click on the following for more details:  State pension funds could be insolvent in a decade, biz leaders say | Greg Hinz | Crain's Chicago Business

10 percent of Ill. gov leases are expired 5 years

the state rented office space in 116 locations where its leases had expired. That's 22 percent of its 525 leases. Ten percent have been "holdovers" for five years or more.

Procurement reform that took effect Jan. 1 prohibits any holdover lease of more than six months. Beginning July 1, the comptroller begins withholding payment for any rented space where the lease has been expired that long.

Click on the following for more details:  Pantagraph.com | News from Associated Press

Stimulus bonds for sport complexes take step forward

McHenry County may have allocated all of its bonds and Boone County has not allocated a single dollar.  Look at the final paragraph—the Northwest Herald believes all the unused funds will go back to the State.  Boone County Board could do nothing until Growth Dimension passed judgment on the stimulus bonds—perhaps Growth Dimension can see to it that the stimulus bonds are allocated locally before the June cutoff.

allocate the last of McHenry County's economic stimulus bonding authority to two sports ventures are now on their way to the McHenry County Board.
Its Finance and Audit Committee voted Tuesday, 6-1, to recommend giving the proposed Lakewood Sportsplex $18 million of its bonding authority from the 2009 economic stimulus bill. The remaining $3.57 million will go to the proposed McHenry County K-Nines baseball stadium in Woodstock, far short of the $15 million asked for by its developer, EquityOne Sports Development.

McHenry County received $27.5 million in bonding authority for private projects under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The bonds are meant to encourage lending for ready projects by giving investors a 45 percent refund of the federal taxes payable on them. The county only grants the ability to borrow and not the bonds themselves.

The state likely will collect the unused bonding authority in June from county and municipal governments, and authorize the Illinois Finance Authority, a self-financed state bonding and loan agency, to disburse it to shovel-ready projects. The state’s 102 counties and eight of its largest cities divided up $1.67 billion in stimulus bonding authority.


For the next seven days you may read the rest of the story by clicking on the following:  Northwest Herald | Stimulus bonds for sport complexes take step forward

Look for McHenry Co. tax rates to rise as property values decline

Take a look at the community college increases—McHenry County College is up only 2% but Harper and Elgin CC are up 20%

….economy that continues to hammer the housing industry. But another factor appears to be a growing number of property owners challenging their assessments and, far more often than not, winning.  Last year, the county's Board of Review heard a record 4,328 challenges and, Mayberry estimates, about 90 percent of them succeeded.

By levying the same or more, the taxing bodies force the county clerk to set a higher tax rate, allowing them to come up with the chosen amount amid declining assessed valuations.

Daily Herald | Look for McHenry Co. tax rates to rise as property values decline

DeKalb County Counsel's landfill recommendation unknown

Democracy in action—legal opinion is not available to the public until after the public comment period.  Can’t argue the legal options without knowing them.  Also Boone County readers, remember the large $’s Boone County received from DeKalb to house their over log of prisoners.

Legal counsel for the DeKalb County Board[Renee Cipriano, a former director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency] filed a recommendation Monday on whether to approve a proposal to expand the county landfill, but the contents of that recommendation were not yet available to The Daily Chronicle.

The revenue generated from the landfill expansion has been targeted to help pay bonds to expand and renovate the county jail and courthouse.

Monday was the deadline Cipriano set to close the public record regarding the proposal.  The record consists of transcriptions of a 50-hour hearing on the matter, closing briefs from public participants and Waste Management, any comments entered by residents in the month after the hearing, and the recommendation from legal counsel, she has said.

Click on the following for more details[this is available for seven days free of cost]:  Counsel's landfill recommendation unknown | Daily Chronicle