Take A Closer Look 
At Your 2017 Real Estate Tax Bill

   The City of Decatur is usually the object of wrath when local homeowners talk about high real estate taxes but Decatur’s share of the taxes is actually fairly small compared to what’s allocated to other taxing bodies in Macon County.
    I have a copy of my property tax bill for 2017 and, as I look over it, I again realize that the amount of taxes that I actually pay to the City of Decatur is not that much.
    I don’t know about all the taxes listed on your real estate tax bill, but my bill has 23 lines listing how much goes to each taxing body.
    Actually, only 21 entries are “active” because there is no tax listed for the Mahomet Aquifer or South Wheatland Cemetery. 
    Macon County takes a sizeable chunk, but the largest amount is the school district, regardless of which district your property is located.
    Since I live in South Wheatland Township, a chunk of the tax bill goes to the township.  
    Actually, the Decatur Public Library receives a greater amount of tax revenue out of the tax bill than does the City of Decatur.
    A sizeable amount of the real estate tax bill goes for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund and Social Security.
    The Decatur Park District receives a greater percentage of the tax bill than the City of Decatur, but in all fairness, for many of the taxing bodies on the real estate tax list, this is about the only funding they receive from local taxpayers.
    Obviously, the City of Decatur has sales tax, gas tax, etc., and fees paid to it in various ways.
    The smallest percentage of the real estate tax bill goes to the Cooperative Extension.
    Some of the others on the list who receive tax revenue from the property owners are Richland Community College, the Conservation District, Decatur Sanitary District and Macon County Mosquito Abatement.
    I agree that real estate taxes in our community are high.
    However, if you check your real estate tax bill for where the money goes, the City of Decatur receives a small part for all of the services it provides to residents.
    By the way, the first installment on your property tax payment is due June 15, 2018, and the second installment is due Sept. 5, 2018.
    Just be thankful the state isn’t taxing your property -- but know for sure they are working on a way to do just that! 

 • ONE of the most important Macon County races is the one between Democrat Amy Rueff and Republican Josh Tanner to see who will replace retiring Macon County Clerk Steve Bean who has been in office for a couple of decades after winning election when Bill Tangney decided to retire.
    Although its been over a month since both candidates filed their D-2 Quarterly Report with the Illinois State Board of Elections, there hasn’t been much financial activity in terms of major donations.
    Friends of Amy Rueff reported funds available at the beginning of the reporting period (Jan. 1) as $10,578.04, with total receipts of $450.00.  Expenditures during the quarter totalled 
$7,948.52, with about half that amount for yard signs, etc.
    Funds available at the close of the reporting period were $3,079.52.
    On May 10, the Illinois AFL-CIO COPE in Springfield donated $1,000 to Rueff’s campaign.
    Smaller contributions are not required to be reported until the next D-2 is filed in July, so there could be a lot more received than the $1,000 donation.
    Josh Tanner filed his D-2 on April 16th and reported cash available at the beginning of the reporting period as $1,007.89. He received $479.07 during the quarter and had total expenditures of $1,224.57.  Tanner ended the first quarter with funds available of $262.39.
    As in the case of Rueff, Tanner could have received many smaller donations since March 31 and those won’t be reported until July.  Smaller donations are grouped under a general heading, so individual names of the donors are not listed.
    It’s no secret that a Democrat has held the Macon County Clerk’s office for a long, long time, when considering the multiple terms of Laurence Tangney, Bill Tangney and Steve Bean.
    Rueff has a long history of being active locally, especially with labor organizations and the Democrat Party.
    She is bound to have a lot of financial contributions from those organizations as the campaign heads for the voters’ choice in November.
    Tanner scored a big win against a strong opponent, Samantha Murray, in the Republican Primary.
    Can he do the same in November’s General Election?
    It is an interesting race to watch as we head towards the finish line.

    • REGARDING last week’s article about the Decatur Park District deciding to close the gas dock on Lake Decatur, Dave Wilhour sent me a message: “If there were $$$ to be made there would be a long line of folks wanting that business. There’s not much profit in gas. As I tell the Billingsleys, they are ‘tax collectors’ for the government!” 

    • THE CITY Council agreed Monday night to spend up to $750,000 from the motor fuel tax for an agreement with Love’s Travel Stop & Country Store for an 18,000 square-foot facility just off Illinois 121 near Interstate 72 on the city’s northwest side.
    From all appearances, it looks to be a great deal for the city.

     • THE Community Revitalization status update study session scheduled for the city council meeting of Monday, May 21 was pulled from the agenda.
   The plan is to tentatively hold the study session as part of the Monday, June 4 regular city council meeting.

     Not sure why it was pulled, but it could have been because two council members were not at Monday's meeting.

    • REMEMBER, my City Hall Insider hour on WSOY’s Byers & Co. is on Wednesday mornings at 7:00, instead of Thursday. for the month of May only,
    There’s a lot going on in May!


  UPDATE on the Central Park fountain that was sent to me Tuesday afternoon by Billy Tyus, Deputy City Manager of Decatur: "There was a delay in the parts arriving for the fountain. We checked today and expect that, barring another delay, they will arrive by Thursday. If this happens, it would be our goal to have the fountain running by the end of the week."

    Thanks, Billy.

​    Earlier article can be found below:

Why Isn't Central Park Fountain Operating?

    The Central Park Fountain is still not operational as of today (May 17) and I've been asked several times by people I talk with on the street and in the hallway of our building why it is not running.

      Usually it is on in April and I think this is the latest we've gone without seeing it alive and gushing water.

        I contacted Deputy City Manager Billy Tyus today about the silent fountain and he responded:​​  "I checked and the fountain was being prepared to be turned on when it was discovered that one of the controllers had gone bad. The part has been ordered and was projected to be here either today or tomorrow and once we receive (the part) it shouldn’t take long to get the fountain up and running barring any other problems.

    "Just to be safe I’d say by early next week but could be sooner."

​     Thanks for the fountain update, Billy.

Who Controls What? Is Important Factor 
In Lake Decatur Gas Dock Feedback

     I’m not sure that I’ve ever received as many negative comments on a local decision in all of the years that I’ve been editor of this newspaper -- than what I received from the Decatur Park District’s decision to close the gas dock on Lake Decatur.
    As the article on the front page of this week's print edition (and elsewhere on this site) explains, the Park District Board of Commissioners made the decision to close the gas dock on Lake Decatur because “operating expenses significantly exceed fuel revenue, and it is no longer possible to maintain the building and provide this service”.
    The phone calls, emails and on-the-street conversations I’ve had with our readers are about all negative regarding the closing -- and some downright angry.
    I’ve reprinted some of the comments from our Facebook site in this week's print edition to indicate how the majority of people who commented on the closing, feel about it.  There was hardly a positive comment.  (You can check them out on our Facebook Page)
    As is usually the case, when a lot of people angrily comment on any subject, especially on Facebook, there is a lot of misinformation included.     
    A few comments indicate the writers feel that City Manager Tim Gleason’s recent raise should have been dedicated to the gas dock, instead of to him.     It should be remembered that the City of Decatur, Decatur Park District, Decatur School District and Macon County Board are all separate public bodies, and all members are selected by voters.
    The City of Decatur controls the lake.  The Decatur Park District controls Nelson Park next to it. 
    Blaming the city manager for something another other elected board did, is like blaming the Supt. of Schools for a decision the city council made.
 • KUDOS to Decatur Park Board Commissioners Stacey Young and Chris Harrison for responding to some of the Tribune Facebook comments with a few facts about the decision.    
    Christal Little asked: “How can the park district afford to renovate the entire park, but ignore existing structures? Why not lease out the fuel pumps to someone that would want to make money?” 
    Park Commissioner Stacey Young responded that “Lake Decatur is an asset/revenue for City and not Park District. We explored private ownership but the volume of gas sales are low and not appealing to private owners. If you used this service, I apologize for inconvenience; I would suggest expressing concerns to City.”
     Greg Mason asked:  “Why do we pay launch fees, dock fees, and pay for boat stickers? Terrible business decision made by those not qualified to do so. Did notice the top level managers all got raises recently. Residents are being used and abused.”
    Park Commissioner Chris Harrison responded: “Launch fees, dock fees and boat stickers are not paid to the park district. Just to clarify.”
    When Tom McGarry asked “Why did they let the SNACK SHACK deteriorate to this level?” Park Commissioner Stacy Young responded: “The lake is asset/revenue for City not park district. We were providing this service with no revenue and no reimbursement. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
    There may have been other clarifications made by Young and Harrison by the time this is in print, but I appreciate the effort they made to clarify a few points.
    Other comments by residents (and non residents) show the degree of anger some have over the closing and, to a certain degree, it is understandable.

• ALTHOUGH we no longer have a boat, during the years that we used Lake Decatur for relaxing and water skiing, I used the gas dock most of the time and really appreciated it being there.
    If I still had a boat, I would miss the gas dock. 
    However, as a taxpayer, I am concerned the dock is an expense, instead of a plus and can understand why the decision was made.
    Having stated that, I also see the facility (with improvements made) as part of a growing appeal of the area as the new projects are completed and more people will be visiting the area. Many will bring their boat to Lake Decatur as part of their complete day in and around Nelson Park.
    While the gas dock may not have enough customers now, I see the presence of an updated facility as being another plus to the Lake Decatur/Nelson Park complex.
    The absence of that service will likely not create a good feeling for boaters who bring their crafts to Decatur to enjoy a day on the water and entertainment on land.
    It would be great if something could be worked out to make that service available -- even on a trial basis once the attractions in the park are nearing completion.

 •  HERE’S a look at the D-2 reports filed last month for the first quarter of the year involving candidates who serve parts of Decatur.
    In the 48th Senate District, incumbent Democrat Andy Manar has an impressive campaign fund balance.
    Funds available at the beginning of the reporting period were $392,519.49 with total contributions during the quarter of $166,844.58.  After reported expenses, Manar had funds available at the close of the reporting period of $481,071.66.
    That’s not too shabby!
    Manar’s opponent in the November General Election is Republican Seth McMillan and his D-2 reported funds available at the beginning of the period of $3,030.78, with total receipts during the period of $7,885.00.  Deducting expenses during the period, McMillan had funds available at the close of the reporting period of $4,398.60. 

 • IN THE 51ST Senate District, the other senate seat representing some of Decatur, incumbent Republican Chapin Rose of Mahomet had a fund balance of  $157,098.60 as of March 31, including over $9,000 raised during the quarter.
    Rose has no opponent in the Nov. 6th General Election.

Decatur Tribune Offices Are Located At:
132 South Water Street 
Suite 424
P. O. Box 1490
Decatur, Illinois 62523

Mon.-Thurs. 9:00-4:30
Phone: 217/422-9702
Fax: 217/422-7320

Submit your news 
to the editor at:
or to: Decatur Tribune, 
P. O. Box 1490, 
Decatur, IL 62525-1490.



Decatur Tribune Online


Paul Osborne's



​​Central Park Fountain in Downtown Decatur


Osborne Online

Flying Mattress, Sleeping Fountain And Mobile Panhandling 


DECATUR, IL – On May 10, the Park District announced that it would cease gas sales on Lake Decatur because of low sales volume, deterioration of the gas dock, and costly repairs needed at the Snack Shack building in Nelson Park. Since that time, a number of community members have weighed in, saying that gas service is critical if the lake is to become a destination point. 

In response to these concerns and to better serve our boating population, the Park Board and City have agreed to investigate possibilities for future gas sales, and the service will resume at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 26 at the Snack Shack. 

“Since 2009, the Park Board and City Council have partnered in the development of Lakeshore Landing, a long-term strategic plan designed to provide unique recreational amenities for Decatur residents, attract visitors, and improve our community’s quality of life,” said Chris Harrison, Park Board President. “Following discussion, we were able to agree upon a workable, temporary option for gas sales on the lake. Moving forward, both organizations will continue to seek a permanent solution for 2019 and beyond.”

Memorial Day Weekend Gas Dock Hours 
Saturday, May 26 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
Sunday, May 27 noon – 5 p.m. 
Monday, May 28 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Regular Summer Hours
Tuesday/Thursday 5 – 7 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Decatur Police Investigating Double Shooting On East Main Street

  On May 24th at approximately 7:30 pm, Decatur Police Patrol Officers responded to the area of 1100 E. Main Street in reference to shots fired at this location.  Upon arrival officers located evidence that a shooting had taken place in the area.  A short time later two victims, suffering from apparent gunshot wounds arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital.  The victims were a 25 year old female and a 41 year old male.  Both of the victims were transported from St. Mary’s hospital to St. John’s hospital in Springfield for further treatment of their injuries.  
     Decatur Police Department Patrol Officers and Detectives continue to work on the crime scene and interviews of victims and witnesses.  
     At this time no arrests have been made, but the investigation is on-going.  The Decatur Police are asking anyone with information to call the Decatur Police Department at 424-2711, the Investigations Division at 424-2734, or if they would like to remain anonymous they can call Crime Stoppers at 423-TIPS(8477).

Decatur Police Showing Zero Tolerance 
For Seat Belt Violations 

'Look, Stop & Lock' Calls Upon Public to 
Help Prevent Property Crime

Decatur Celebration Announces The Headliners For 33rd Annual Street Festival 

​Mac On Sports
Forsyth Classic Is Alive And Well...
And Less Than A Month Away!

Millikin University breaks ground on 
new Center for Theatre and Dance

Mac on Sports
Saunches Retires as Bombers Baseball Coach


    With more than 30 decades in the third base coaches box at Argenta-Oreana diamond and around other fields in central Illinois, Tom Saunches is retiring from the game.
    Saunches has told Argenta-Oreana officials that he will retire at the end of this season as the Bombers boys baseball coach.
    I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune, including an in-depth interview with him following completion of the Argenta-Oreana baseball season.
    He is also the Decatur LSA boys basketball head coach which he will remain doing.   

Mac On Sports
Riebock Returns Home to Coach Lady Dawgs

   She's coached college basketball at different levels, she came highly recommended by the recently-retired Millikin women's basketball head coach, Lori Kerans, and she was among those who led former coach Bill Ipsen's St. Teresa women's team to a state championship in 2003-04.
   And the next year she played point guard on Kerans' 2004-05 Millikin national championship team.
   Riebock-Dorsey is excited about returning home to coach the lady Bulldogs during this transition time that involves some healing of open wounds on how former coach Ashley VanEtten resigned.
   "She's a great choice and I was afraid she wouldn't accept," exclaimed Daly in his chat with the Decatur Tribune late this morning (Thursday, May 3rd).
   She was one of three Daly and his search committee interviewed.
   Her brother, Bill, also played athletics and graduated from St. Teresa and her father, Jim, was instrumental in building the Jonathan Madding softball field south of the school.  Father Riebock also coached the lady Dawgs softball team for years before retiring from the coaches box and dugouts.
   I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.  

Letters To The Editor


Macon County Environmental Management Announces Dates For Unwanted Household Paint Collection

    Unwanted household paint may be dropped off during collection events operated by Macon County Environmental Management.             Residents who register for an event may drop off up to twenty containers of paint at no charge during their appointment time.
    Latex-paint, oil-based paint and most stains and varnishes in originally labeled containers will be accepted. Due to regulatory directives, specialty paints and paints other than those generated from a household cannot be accepted. Residents are reminded to dispose of dry paint and empty cans in the trash rather than bringing these items to the collection.
    Six collection events are scheduled for the 2018 spring season. The collections are by appointment at Macon County Environmental Man-agement’s Recycling Center at 1750 N. 21st Street, Decatur, Illinois
    Tuesday, April 10
    Tuesday, April 24 
    Tuesday, May 8     
    Tuesday, May 29 
    Saturday, June 9 
    Tuesday, June 26
    Residents may register for an appointment by clicking on the “Register for Collection Events” button on Macon County Environmental Management’s website at www.MaconGreen.com or by calling the department at 217-425-4505.

The Weather Channel​