Boone County Watchdog tipped me off about a new revenue source for the blog’s home county: transporting and housing federal prisoners. The full story comes from the Register Star:

BELVIDERE — A negotiating firm plans to generate tens of thousands of dollars in new revenue for the Boone County jail without changing day-to-day operations.

The Summerill Group, LLC will negotiate with the U.S. Marshals Service the amount that the Boone County Sheriff’s Office is paid for housing and transporting federal prisoners. Joseph Summerill, managing principal of the agency, said in a contract a preliminary analysis indicated that the county could increase its per diem from $65 per inmate per day to $79.12.

If the average daily federal prisoner count remains at 18, the new rate would generate an additional $92,000 in revenue annually, boosting the county’s total revenue from federal prisoner housing to $519,000.

Yes, and if that happens, Boone County will be able to hire a new public defender and buy a squad car or two. Read the rest of this entry

WATB alert!

BELVIDERE — Belvidere Township’s legal fees have skyrocketed 383 percent from five years ago.

The township has been scrutinized for months with residents filing lengthy Freedom of Information Act requests and writing memos that require legal responses. People have questioned the township’s budget, public comment process and whether the government body should even exist.

Township Supervisor Patrick Murphy said his board has now asked [contracted township attorney Keri-Lyn] Krafthefer to attend each township meeting. He said officials are being “picked on” and must consult an attorney before taking any action.

City of DeKalb administrations also depend on lawyers to guide their every move at meetings and to keep the public out of their beeswax, but you don’t hear them crying about it! Read the rest of this entry

Boone County Watchdog has published a proposed ordinance addressing registration of landlords of residential rentals in Belvidere.

Landlords and rental properties would be registered annually at $25 per unit under the proposal.

In comparison, DeKalb has a one-time registration of landlords and rental properties with a fee of $3 per unit, and from there it is up to the landlord to keep registration information current.

Illinois cities use Home Rule authority for this. Belvidere automatically gained Home Rule status when its population was certified at more than 25,000 residents according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

According to the draft ordinance, the Census also showed that more than 30% of all residential housing in Belvidere is rental housing, and “City Council further recognizes that rental housing represents a disproportionate share of the residential housing that has fallen into a state of disrepair within the City,” according to the proposal.

For more information about housing in either community, use the U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts.

Good sense rules in Belvidere.

Check out this local issues blog synergy. Boone County Watchdog took my December 31 post, “Bank Troubles 2010″, spotlighted Castle Bank (which has a presence in Boone County) and put it into the big picture with “Bank Issues which Received Little News Coverage”. Some of it was news to me, so thought I’d share. Thanks BCW!

Rockford Register Star:

BELVIDERE — Boone County will begin publishing minutes from board meetings on its website, but officials say the action isn’t the result of a Dec. 1 letter from the Illinois attorney general’s office.

Bill Pysson, a 22-year county resident, filed a “request for review” with Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office in April because the county failed to address his request for meeting minutes after numerous inquiries at meetings, he said.

“There was some consideration when the new website went online they would do it, but they haven’t,” he said.

Pysson runs the site Boone County Watchdog, which CB has linked to for some months now. Go here for more on the story.

Rockford Register Star reports that Chrysler intends to expand its Belvidere plant by 500,000 square feet to accommodate a larger body shop. Building might begin as early as this summer, and require 20,000 or more construction work hours. How many manufacturing jobs the expansion might ultimately create is not yet known.

This must be really good news for our neighbors employed at Johnson Controls, too. Bless.

This does not affect the plant’s annual 2-week summer shutdown, which begins July 12.

Boone County Watchdog

Citybarbs is fixing to say goodbye to the Wogen Watch blog and wouldn’t you know it, here’s another to take its place on the blogroll.

Check out the Boone County Watchdog run by Bill Pysson, who also has an interesting story to tell as a former District 100 School Board candidate. Pysson is prolific, mixing in-depth articles on Boone County government with summaries and links to stories of regional and statewide interest daily.

Boone County is where the idea for the water authority referendum came from, isn’t it? And I believe they have a stake in whether or not DeKalb County expands/builds a jail? We ought to be keeping an eye on them anyway, then. *wink*