Spray paint on wall

Spray paint on wall


By Bob Balgemann


BELVIDERE – Graffiti means different things to different people.

It can be an outlet for the so-called “street art” of sometimes talented individuals, and it can be a form of communication among gangs.

When graffiti was applied to stop signs at the intersection of Beloit and Squaw Prairie Roads, near Belvidere North High School, resident Dan Snow considered it to be something else: a safety hazard to motorists.

He said part of the problem was compromise of the reflective quality on the signs. So, he recently set out to have it removed.

In addition to contacting Belvidere Township, in which the intersection is located, he said he also called dispatchers at the 9-1-1 center in Belvidere about sending out a deputy to document the vandalism.

The township ultimately responded to his request.

Now, the question remains as to how can it be controlled in the county?

Snow initially contacted Boone County State’s Attorney Michelle Courier about who had the authority to deal with graffiti. She responded in an email dated April 13 that the county had no jurisdiction in the matter.

“While the city (of Belvidere) has a graffiti abatement ordinance, the county does not,” she wrote. “That is because the state gave municipalities and not counties the ability to create the graffiti abatement ordinance. The only ability the county has is to cite the perpetrator, if known.”

Snow’s correspondence was included as an informational item for the April 20 county board meeting.

He also addressed the board that night, during the public comments portion of the meeting. He said he was “trying to get this moving,” and asked about going through the state legislature in order to give such control to counties.

Without being able to control graffiti in the unincorporated area, he said, “It indicates that we’re all right with gangs coming into town and advertising” their presence.

He said he copied Boone County Sheriff Dave Ernest with the same packet of correspondence.

Usually public comments don’t bring any response from board members. In this case, District III member Sherry Branson asked for the location of the intersection.

More road money

In another informational matter at the April 20 board meeting, there was an update on a legislative request that was pending during the current session of the General Assembly in Springfield.

State Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Sycamore filed House Bill 4368. If it’s passed and becomes a law, then it will give Boone County authority to impose a tax on those selling motor fuel.

Currently, only McHenry, Kane, and DuPage counties are able tax motor fuel sellers.

The purpose of the tax would be to raise additional money for road improvements.

The bill, filed Dec. 23, most recently was re-referred to the House Rules Committee. An aide to Rep. Pritchard said lack of sufficient support for the measure meant it would not be taken up during the current session, which ends May 31.

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