Boone County

The Winnebago County Board unanimously approved a resolution Thursday opposing the construction of the Great Lakes Basin Railroad.

The 261-mile railroad would pass through six Illinois counties and into Rock County, Wisconsin, to bypass congested Chicago freight lines. .  However, opposition groups have formed in many of the affected counties, including a group which claims more than 14,000 members in Winnebago County. 

Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc.

Hundreds of Winnebago Township residents protested the latest proposal for the Great Lakes Basin Railroad.

The 260-mile route would pass through several parts of Winnebago County in order to bypass Chicago freight traffic.  However, the Rockford Register-Star reports residents are concerned the route could pass through their farmland or have a negative effect on wildlife. 

Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc.

Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc. unveiled a proposal for an alternative rail route that wouldn't run through Boone County.  

The company originally proposed a 281-mile railway that would bypass Chicago's congested freight lines.  However, this plan faced opposition from Boone County residents.  A letter opposing the project cited loss of livability, land, and water quality, as well as an increase in noise and insurance costs. 

  Boone County’s Health and Human Services Committee tabled a resolution to change the food service code.  

Under the current code, nonprofit organizations don’t have to pay fees for food service permits.  The Register-Star reports the change would have removed this exemption, and given the health department about $22,000 per year. 

The Boone County Board will discuss whether local nonprofits should be charged for food service permits. 

Fees are expected to bring in $25,000 for the Health Department, but the idea was criticized by some, including local VFW Commander Greg Kelm and County Board member Cathy Ward. 

In a Facebook post, Ward challenged the Health Department’s insistence that it needed the fees, saying the department’s budget is 88% salary and benefits.  

The Board meeting begins tomorrow at 6:00.    

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