Stephenson County Board Meetings Cost Taxpayers Thousands

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STEPHENSON COUNTY (WIFR) – The Stephenson County Board rescinds a controversial ordinance that says anyone should be allowed to carry any type of gun including machine guns. The vote came after a delay. Many people feel this gun debate is a perfect example of the board’s dysfunction costing taxpayer’s money.

Sandra Mellen says she’s fed up with the Stephenson County Board. She’s been going to meetings for many years and says since the new board took over in December, meetings have been taking longer than ever before.

“To me it’s just another waste of my tax dollars and everybody else’s tax dollars,” said Mellen. “To have meetings go on to 1am or past that is utterly ridiculous.”

The board voted to rescind a gun ordinance today only after putting the vote off for a full week.

“Large board meetings are like 4, 5, 6, sometimes 7 hours,” says board member Dan Neal. “I don’t think it’s fair to the public because I think we spend an awful lot of time on these maneuvers. The people want us to the work of the county.”

Stephenson County Sheriff Dave Snyders says long meetings are costing taxpayers thousands of dollars because of overtime for deputies who serve as security at the meetings.

“The taxpayer is not being served,” said Sheriff Snyders. “These lengthy board meetings are not good for the county; they’re not good for the taxpayers. These meetings are way too long and I think part of it is a deliberate attempt to lengthen these meetings to drag them out to cause as much discomfort to other board members as possible.”

Snyders says his office usually gets 11-thousand dollars each year for deputy overtime and that budget was almost depleted by April because of meetings going as late as midnight. Sheriff Snyders says he thinks he’ll end up paying his deputies more than double the overtime they usually get this year mostly for security detail at the county board meetings.