Freeport holds line on property taxes, eye fireplace detection system

Jodi Miller
| Especially for the journal standard

Towards the end of the year, the city is diligently pushing to start the New Year with full agendas, balanced budgets, and an effort to provide exceptional service to our constituents. At the last Council meeting, the Funding Ordinance and the Tax Levy were passed and I am pleased to inform you that the city's property tax rate has not increased.

There is also an ordinance before the city council that slightly restructures the fire brigade. This positive change brings more efficiency to the department and savings of approximately $ 10,000 in budget. You may recall that two years ago the city reorganized the department's administrative structure and saved over $ 300,000 on the budget. Big or small, the city continues to strive to consistently provide efficient services at a responsible cost.

The city council also approved a resolution authorizing ShotSpotter Detection Equipment to report shots fired. This technology promotes the secure community component of our strategic plan. ShotSpotter quickly detects shots in a given area and alerts law enforcement agencies of the location of the incident. This quick detection, which depends neither on a citizen's report of shots fired nor on an officer already nearby, enables officers to arrive at the scene more efficiently. Other communities that have used this technology have greatly improved their ability to track gun violence in their communities and better protect their community's citizens.

The Salvation Army announced the winner of the battle for the badge that rang between our police and the fire department. The traditional trophy was awarded to the fire brigade, and I thank our fire and police authorities for their time to support this good cause. The Salvation Army has raised approximately $ 100,000 to date for its $ 175,000 goal. Thank you to those who donated!

We welcome our youngest member of the fire department, Cameron Wawczak, who was sworn in last week, and we also welcome Ron Kane, who has been appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeal. Thank you, Cameron and Ron, for your willingness to serve the citizens of Freeport.

In addition, the recommendations of the Social Justice Committee were forwarded to the Council. This document consisted of 240 pages. It included the application of Freeport's policy of violence. Tactics of the training institute; mandatory checklist for police training; Presentation and statistics of the Freeport Police Department as well as final reports of the subcommittees; Employee demographics; various metrics and much more than can be covered in a weekly article. This document serves as a roadmap for improvement as the city seeks to more accurately reflect the community we serve and to improve communication, education, and responsiveness between the city and the constituents we serve. It is a stated goal to increase the employment rate of minorities and women in our departments by 5% by October 2021. Employee of a social worker in the police; continue holding events as best we can; promote citizen engagement; Increase the number of inspections by 5% and repair and destroy buildings to further reduce pollution in the neighborhoods. It is also a desire to increase the diversity of our boards of directors and commissions and to hire a marketing director. With goals comes accountability. Progress on these metrics is reviewed quarterly in the Council Committee meetings of the whole, starting with the January meeting. I applaud all committee members and their efforts. I am grateful for the representation and continued commitment to this community. I thank both Chief Summers and Chief Liggett for their transparency and for their efforts to swiftly implement hiring plans. I also look forward to all areas of the community self-investigating to see how we can all help make this a better community for everyone.

Festively enjoy the soft glow of the lights with the annual tradition of Freeport Community Luminaria Night by cruising down Stephenson Street and Lincoln Boulevard at dusk on Sunday, December 20, with the theme “Kindness is like snow; it beautifies everything that is covered. “The trees have been decorated by local service organizations, clubs and church groups and will remain on display during business hours through Saturday, December 26th.

Let love and kindness be your motivation in everything you do and together we can show the world that Freeport is a great place to live, work and play. Thanks for being part of it!

Jodi Miller is the Mayor of Freeport.