Saturday, June 25, 2005

Sandburg's Questions - My Answers

Had to take a few days off to finish some good books, play some tennis, continue my physical therapy and conduct some Peoria County business, attend some meeting and let my heart continue to heal without too much stress.

Now back to answer some of my friend Gary Sandburg’s comments that he has asked me to explain. (I was the only person to ask Ex-Mayor Jim Maloof to post Gary’s campaign sign on his business on Pioneer Parkway; Jim said no.) I’ll do the best I can with the information available because some of Gary’s complaints go way back before my time.

1. “Why the County of Peoria only charges the City of Peoria a “booking fee” and not other incorporated or unincorporated areas of the County”. According to our capable County Administrator, this is not a true statement. “We charge every municipality that has a police department and with who we do not have a contract”. Gary can also read the joint agreement covering fees at the County jail plus other agreements, signed on 10/11/1977 by Ray Neumann, Chairman of the County Board and Robert McKnight, City Manager. Gary should also refer to a letter from the City manager to the county Administrator regarding a“1977 Intergovernmental Agreement - “Jail Booking Fee” dated 1/10/05, telephone calls between both parties, a letter dated 4/19/05 from the City Manager to the County Administrator, a meeting with Mayor Ardis, County Board Chairman David William, Sheriff McCoy, Randy Oliver and Patrick Urich on June 14, 2005. He should also refer to a letter dated 6/15 from Randy Oliver to Patrick Urich and a letter to City Manager Randy Oliver from County Administrator Patrick Urich dated 6/24/05. My readers should watch to see how Gary’s charge plays out in the local paper media. I think you will find it more than interesting. I least I believe that the JS gets most of what they print right and I will always subscribe to the JS because they are the only paper media that covers most central Illinois communities.
2. On the rat abatement in the early 1990” approximately 12-15 years ago, no one seems to remember, but maybe Gary can give me a clue as to who were the principles involved? This should have been handled by the City-County Health Department who gets most of their funding from the State. All Peoria knows it that it is not the County Health Department as Gary says unless it was at some time way past – it is known as the City-County Health Department for as long as I can remember. If the name was changed in later years and the two entities were combined, surely the problem has been taken care of. A check of the records will show that the city has a greater rat problem than the county.
3. “Piss poor animal control services ands high taxes blamed on the county”. Again no one remembers but maybe Gary can give me the date in the 1980’s and who was involved.
4. “Why does the County have the City pay directly for two sheriff deputies”. Gary, these are court security officers. Due to the fact that the MAJORITY OF CRIME occurs in the City, the City agreed to pay for two officers. The City DOES NOT CURRENTLY pay the full cost of these two officers. (Written statement by County Administrator Patrick Urich).
5. “County apparently isn’t providing enough of its basic services to the city who already provides 2/3 of the revenues (and the city) is expected to ante up more.” My County Administrator says “because the City agreed to by contract”.
I do not work on the County Board as a “Lone Ranger”. I work with all County Board Members, elected officials and Administrators. We as a group have indicated we wish to work more closely with the city for the benefit of all the people who live in the County of Peoria. I am not going to carry on this debate with you on a one on one basis. I did own a company with yearly sales of $11 million dollars and my peers on the heavily Democrat County Board elected me, a Republican, Vice- Chairman of the Peoria County Board. I have a long time record of working with other people who are fair minded. That’s probably why my name still appears on the masthead of Widmer Interiors thirteen years after I sold the company. Have I never misprinted or misspoke a word, of course I have. As soon as facts are presented to me to show me I am wrong, I will correct it on this blog site. Do you now wish to prove I am wrong when I say the RiverPlex lost $7 million dollars in its first 40 months of operation (I had to send 16 pages of documentation to Mike Bailey before he would print my “Letter to the Editors)” revealing this fact. Didn’t the City Council invest approximately $5 million in its infrastructure? I have also been told that the City of Peoria has the third highest salaries and benefits for police officers in the nation. Is that correct?? Yet my friend Jim Ardis ran on a platform of too much crime in the City of Peoria??

Let’s try to work together but I can only work with those that have the overall wellbeing of this community at heart. Gary, I have always believed you do.


Merle Widmer said...

Watch city council meeting tonight. MAYBE some truths about the 1997 agreement between the city and county will come out and I beleive there are enough of us on the County Board who want to stop grinding axes and I believe Ardis and company want a better relationship with the county with everybody in Peoria County as beneficiares.

Gary Sandberg said...

Full circle on your comments Merle.............
You seem to totally rely on the "CONTRACT" and / or "CONTRACTS" and the City should honor them into perpetuity, apparently. The "CONTRACT" between Peoria Water Co, sucessor , RWE affords the City the ability and right to re-purchase the public asset and natural resource, WATER. I hopped into your monologue as you try and portay the City's CONTRACT OPPORTUNITY as something else.

I do NOT dispute the fact that the City has the majority of "crime", I only point out that the City has the "majority of People" and provides the "majority of the tax revenues" and shouldn't be required by "contract" or otherwise to pay for the "basic service of security", IT's IN WHAT OUR CITY TAXPAYERS PAY IN REAL ESTATE TAXES and in as much as the MAJORITY of COMMERCE IS CONDUCTED IN THE CITY OF PEORIA, WE ALSO PROVIDE THE MAJORITY OF THE SAFETY TAX on RETAIL PURCHASES.