Letters to the Editor

BND readers sound-off on schools consolidation, junky art, sales tax

Consolidate schools

I don’t buy that the penny tax will solve the budget problem. School districts need to be consolidated to reduce taxes. The Regional Office of Education should be leading the charge for consolidation. The salaries and benefits of most government workers (federal, state, county, city) is way out of line with the private sector and needs to be adjusted accordingly.

Enough sculptures, already

Enough already. No more sculptures from Art on the Square, even if they’re nice ones. The city of Belleville is beginning to look junky and cluttered.

Lessons of protest

I hope OTHS disciplines those students who walked out of school in protest. If they don’t, they are setting a bad precedent. Be ready for more walkouts.

‘No’ on police penny tax

The Belleville police department should be doing their job and not knocking on doors advocating for a tax increase. Very poor judgment on the mayor and chief of police. If the police department can’t live within their budget, it’s time for a leadership change. Tax increases are not the answer. Vote no for the penny tax increase and ditto for the school districts. It’s time for a change with government employee salaries and benefits. Their expectations are totally unrealistic compared to the private sector.

Sales taxes for signs

Every time the subject of increased crime in Belleville comes up, I like to ask, what is the most common sign seen in Belleville neighborhoods? It’s the “Neighborhood Watch” sign on every street. Recent comments by BND readers indicate Belleville Chief Clay is missing in action, when it comes to stopping the increase of neighborhood crime in Belleville. Evidently, neither Neighborhood Watch signage nor Chief Clay do much to deter residential crime. I know, Belleville needs more money to buy more signs and for Clay to spend. Property tax increases will remedy that? Right.

Show us police blotter

Chief Clay says that Belleville is so safe. What about the three sexual assaults that happened last year and the more recent one? Where’s the police blotter? We need to know what’s going on and not just take Clay’s word for it.

East St. Louis Township toodle-oo

Oliver Hamilton received just a slap on the wrist for his misuse of public funds. This is ridiculous.

Money for nothing at MidAmerica

St. Clair County has spent millions of dollars on Mid-America Airport and it sits empty most of the time. We approved a bonus for the director to sit and watch an empty building. We approved money to expand the parking lot for an empty building. This is a joke and an absolute waste of taxpayer money.

Athletics make the school

I recently attended a Collinsville Unit 10 school board meeting, and was embarrassed for our town. As topics were discussed, board members would look over to the bully in the room, waiting for his negative input. There are seven members on the board. A majority of our tax dollars, 63 percent, go to the school district. Any discussions on athletics are of no interest. Who is responsible for investing in the success of the athletic programs; board members, administration, athletic director? The argument is the focus should be on the students. Many studies point to the fact that successful athletic programs encourage success in the classroom, better graduation rates, less disciplinary issues, and school and community spirit.

Ready for township trough

Apparently, Richard Donovan has not had his appetite satisfied for eating at the taxpayer-funded public trough. For most of his adult life he has had politically-appointed jobs — first at the jail, then transferred over to the Court House, and then finally demoted out to St. Clair County Animal Control until his retirement. Now, he wants to run for Caseyville Township supervisor. Spare us his arrogance and know-it-all attitude.

Crockett’s criminal charges?

What ever happened to the Board of Review member, Micheal Crockett Jr., who allegedly took the bribe? Is he still doing tax corrections? If so who’s watching him?

You get what you pay for

It was disappointing to read the recent Sound-off potshot taken at O’Fallon School District 203 Superintendent Darcy Benway for her perceived hefty salary. You can’t fault Benway, who doesn’t determine her pay, and she has financial wants and needs just like everyone else. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for, and her position being one of Illinois’ top 100 highest-paid high school administrators helps to ensure that O’Fallon students continue to get a top notch educational experience.

No state budget, no lawmaker pay

I am so sick and tired of this Illinois budget stand off. I know there was a time when elected officials weren’t supposed to be paid until a budget was passed. Let’s have Sen. Tom Cullerton live on my income of less than $900 a month and on my insurance. Trade salary for salary, benefits for benefits.

Cook clueless on crime

In Dallas Cook’s candidate profile, he suggests the best way to fight crime is to have an officer sit in their car in locations of high crime. Does no one else think this is ridiculous? The MotoMart at Sixth and Main is notorious for shady people and activity. The police station is literally across the street, and its presence has done nothing to deter these people. Come on Dallas, get a clue.

Elephant in donkey clothing

Warning to all St. Clair County Democrats: Who is Dean Hardt? Dean Hardt has lied to the taxpayers. Dean Hardt has never attended a St. Clair County Democrat function. Dean Hardt has never paid for lug tickets. Now the St. Clair County Democrats are including his literature with theirs and even passing it out for him. Dean Hardt is a big Republican. He may tell you to look at his voting records but dig a little deeper. This St. Clair County Democrat is outraged.

Laughing it up on my dime

I was at the health department the other day to take care of some restaurant business. When I arrived, there were four employees gathered around the receptionist desk laughing and having a good time. I figured they would clear out when I got to the desk, but no way. They stayed there having a good time while I conducted my business. I considered it rude. But more to the point, I am a St. Clair County taxpayer. My tax dollars help pay those employees’ salaries. I think I am getting a raw deal. If this is all they have to do, maybe Chairman Kern should make some cuts.

TIF taken from taxpayers

When Mayor Eckert gives TIFs to millionaires, it is not the city that does this. It is money taken from hard-working taxpayers and given to businesses. The taxpayers are being forced to give this money away, not the city of Belleville.

Property tax smarts

If what Mayor Eckert is doing is such smart business, then why does everyone in Belleville have to pay 4 and a half percent more this year in property taxes?

TIF for that?

Mayor Eckert is touting his Walmart project as a good investment. He fails to mention the old Walmart on Carlyle Avenue and the old Kmart out on Illinois 13. These are now derelict projects that received city money. Mayor, you are out of line and lying when you say that we can get our money back.

Potshots at distracted lawmakers

I agree with the BND editorial on Costello and FOID card. First it was the bobcats, then the color of hunters’ clothing, and now the FOID card. What is with this guy? Also, let’s add Bill Haine to the list with his gun silencer bill. If a hunter has a noise problem how about ear protection? With all the problems in Chicago with guns, this is what they come up with. Neither one will get my vote as they are unqualified to lead.

Losing our appetite

Big Mama’s, Pigs In A Poke, Maxwell’s, and now Fischer’s. Nothing left in Belleville but chains and franchises that are everywhere. No need to come to Belleville anymore. This is what high property taxes and high business taxes and insurance has caused. Ten more years and Main Street will just be an extension of State Street.

Freeburg school board politics

Freeburg Community High School District 77 voters, get involved and spread the word. Don’t give away control of your school to the group of four running as a slate.

Write-in for Freeburg High board

Gary Henning was removed from the April election ballot for Freeburg High School District 77 School Board by his opposition. Don’t let them control who we elect on our school board. Write in Gary “Hendog” Henning on your ballot.

Mistrusting sales taxes

Does anybody really believe that this tax increase is going to go to the schools and police department instead of into somebody’s pocket?

Need there, trust missing

I’m having a hard time supporting the tax increase in St. Clair County. I understand that emergency service and law enforcement needs money. Many times, the money from these new taxes doesn’t go where it needs to go.

$400,000 head start

Collinsville has cut back it’s closing time for bars by requiring them to close an hour earlier than they had been to bring them more in line with surrounding communities, yet Sloan’s Pub House has complained at the last two city council meetings. This is the same bar that the city gave $400,000 in TIF funds and they are still begging the city for privileges to help them turn a profit when they have a $400,000 head start on any competition.