How to Pay for the Police Station?

Asks Ivan, our go-to guy on the citizens’ committee charged with figuring out how we get a new city police station:

The more I think about the police station, the more I believe that a implementing a vehicle sticker program within the City of DeKalb is the way to go. Somehow we must get our police the most important tool they need in order to keep our families safe and to serve our community in the many ways they do today.

I would be interested to see this actually become its own topic and have our bloggers, old and new, suggest other ideas if they do not favor this one. I do fully realize the burden that we have today to finance our local, state, and federal governments but I’ve tried to think of ways that we could postpone the building of this station. I cannot. I sat in the lobby the other while paying several water bills and just watched the traffic in and out of the police station itself. The variety of people in and out, going to court and other offices, and the detectives walking back and forth through the main City Hall lobby from their offices to the station.

I just cannot imagine how they continue to do the quality work that they do day in and day out. So, I am asking you to help with ideas as to where we do not necessarily fund based on real estate but on vehicles that use our roads. Our next meeting is June 11, 2008 and it would be nice to have a feeling on what is acceptable or not.

OK, there you go.

Ivan, please give us a time and place on that meeting, in case some of us can fit it in. [Update: the meeting is Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Council chambers. If the Assistant City Manager is present, the committee will talk financing.]

56 thoughts on “How to Pay for the Police Station?”

  1. No it didn’t Kay. It’s not a good thing counting on new construction. I have and it’s not helping my budget in any way this year.

    The bar and restaurant tax is really the most logical way to go. It is considered a luxury tax and doesn’t put a burden on the homeowner’s real estate taxes. Raising 2 percent would come in somewhere around $1.5 million dollars. We can’t spend $12 million for the police station, we have to design efficiently and use precast where ever possible. If we wait a few more years, we will be looking at over $15 million easy.

    If we were to raise the bar and restaurant tax, the increased fees for licenses must drop back to original fee structure. No zones for license owners either. This would be fairer and the penalties to bars not obeying the ordinances needs to be looked at and increased. Those not playing right need to pay.

    You can do a water meter fee for X amount of years just to help reduce the 20 years and save on interest. Increase in some tickets and fines would help pay down quicker and yes, some of the money already collected in the way of impact fees could be used also.

    These monies are to be used for public buildings, not just any one type of a building. I still think that instead of impact fees, developers and city should would out an annexation agreement prior to developer being able to start and money would be then earmarked as agreed. Unfortunately, I do not see even the chance of this happening in the too near future.

  2. How do we convert NO CHANCE into a GOOD CHANCE? I don’t know but I think the first step is not to give up.

    NIU PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program:

    1) DeKalb taxpayers can’t make NIU do anything but Illinois taxpayers can and last time I checked DeKalb is in Illinois, so maybe we just need to start griping with another of those pockets we pay taxes from.

    2) DeKalb’s mayor and aldermen can’t make NIU do anything but Illinois legislators and the Governor can so maybe we should use the political capital provided by the next two elections to apply pressure. Maybe some letters/phone calls/f2f opportunities with NIU Board of Trustees would have some impact.

    3) Maybe we should vote yes to the Illinois constitution convention question and make PILOT for all those who take property off of the taxrolls an amendment.

    4) Maybe next time NIU athletics, foundation, alumni, etc., assocations ask for a donation we should tell them not until a PILOT program is adopted.

    “Some people look at things and ask, ‘why?’ I look at things and ask, ‘why not?'” — RFK (paraphrased)

  3. Lots of good responses but I will clarify a few points I was making. ( or trying to make)

    No matter what hapens if money is borrowed to build anything in the city it has to be backed by a property tax levy. Yes that can be done by the council because we are Home Rule. I am not suggesting that this debt be paid for with a property tax increase. Other ways exist to pay the debt and abate the property tax that would ordinarily be used to make the payments. This is what the city is already doing with the Apporx 17.5 million in debt it is now carrying.

    Kay and Ivan As far as the cost I was just using some estimates and plugging in some date. IE a 55,000 sq ft facility at constrction costs of $300.00 per square foot is 16.5 million. Using a 50k sg foot facility at $250.00 per square foot comes to 12.5 million. The size of the faciltiy has yet to be determined and I can assure you, Ivan will keep an eye on the construction costs.

    My ” proposal” was just a rough draft to gather additonal information and input. Whatever the dollar costs gomes to I was trying to figure out 2 things. What percentage of the costs sould be attributed to current residents and what costs for future residents. If we are building a facilty to meet the growth needs of the next 20 years then maybe ,those that cause that growth should contribute.

    The second point I was driving was to see what interest there is in a tax increase to pay for this thing. The idea I floated only called for 20% of the facility being paid for with a tax increase ( the water meter plan, or R & B plan whatever we want.) The rest using existing funds and potential impact fees. Not so sure that was well recieved.

    Allot of work still needs to be done but I do feel the more input from others the better off we may be.

    I cannot compete with Mac and his quotes of our most beloved politicians.

    But I can offer suggestions from my favorite musician

    “Living is easy with eyes closed
    Misunderstandings all you see”
    John Lennon


  4. I personally think the $300.00 Ed is a feeler from the architect. It’s a game they play when getting ready to start drawing. They will tell you know but many know differently.

    I just want to let our readers know that the difficult task we have on the committee is not whether we need a station. Just take a tour and you’ll agree, like all of us, there is no doubt a need. The problem we have is that our city fathers have done NO planning for the past 7 plus years to even budget for this station. Yes, this goes back to Greg’s reign but that’s water under the bridge.

    How do we build the building for 20 years (actually being built for 40) and give our police officers the tools they need to “serve and protect” our community properly and with some pride. We are trying to base revenue sources on the percentage of the police calls. We do know that NIU has a high amount of calls and many have to do with weekends, partying, and the bars. This is why we are addressing restaurants and bars for a higher sales tax. Last years R and B tax (2%) brought the city $1.5million. Do we add 1% for $750,000.00 or 2% for whatever and pay down early?

    We want to make sure that all are paying an equal share. The current city homeowners do have to pay something for this station and the thought came up that hitting the water meters and importantly the water meter size for a yearly fee for the station. The current city hall was financed this way. Another revenue source could be a vehicle tax and thus vehicles licensed in DeKalb would pay a fee to use the city roads. We could add a small increase to the home real estate tax to pay for it but we are looking to not do that.

    Other ideas were, increasing the many low fines for nuisances in DeKalb. Reallocating revenues that the city police department has that is going back into general fund and use those moneys. We talked about selling off properties that the city has but much of that money would have to be allocated to remodel the current city hall and recombine all the city offices into one building again, selling off the annex buildings across the street from city hall. Annexation agreements with future subdivision specifically for the police station and the current use of $200,000.00 sitting for the use of a public building. Shodeen is projected to bring in $500,000.00.

    These are some ideas. What we need is your help to figure out how do we do it.

    Also, I need to point out. The current station utilizes 17,500 square ft. The city manager wants a recommendation and price for a 35,000 square ft. building and a 58,000 square ft building. The courts will not be in the new police station and that means a deduction of 3,000 square ft. which now makes it 55,000. A police station is a difficult animal to add on to. When a police station needs more room, you can’t just add another room on, it all has to be expanded. At 35,000 square ft, we would already be too small based on needs today. We surpassed the 35,000 mark in early 2006.

    The recommendation of the board, I believe I can say, is to build for the future and go with the 55,000 square ft building. The chief and architect are going over the final needs for each part of the department this week and next and we should have some final numbers shortly. We do not want to be rehashing an expansion 5 or 10 years from now, do we?

    Thanks for all of your help on this. It is much easier discussing matters when you have a feel of what the community is feeling.

  5. Yes! I too agree there is a need here to do something about the aging police station and to increase the capacity for our Police to do their jobs …but why all the discussion of More taxes and fees? I cannot support another tax (eg city sticker and/or property taxes).

    I would suggest having the City of DeKalb sell off land that it ALREADY owns to pay for this. Why is this not being discussed? The money generated from this would be two fold :

    1. The City gets the money from the sale of the land
    2. The Land would then generate Tax revenue for the city in PRIVATE hands

    I would be interested to hear other thoughts on this idea

    Additionally, I agree with KAY…let’s raise fees on Fines….Excellent Idea. Those who are utilizing the services of the police (on the wrong side of the law) should pay MORE!

  6. Boy, another week has gone by. Tonight at city hall the police advisory committee meets again. I believe Rudy Espiritu will have the numbers that the committee asked for with regards to possible revenue streams. Some good ideas but not as many as I had hoped for.

    I do know that whatever the recommendation may be, it will not meet total approval from our community members. However, I do feel that the bigger picture is that our police department does need the police station and this council will have to bite the bullet realizing that the future of the community is being weighed by todays actions. This is why I wish they would make more cuts on this budget and focus on this station.

    I don’t know if it is political bickering, the push to fund pet projects, inept government from both council and staff or whatever you maybe feel towards being in this predicament but for no council or no staff over the period of 7 plus years to even set aside monies for this station is just plain unnerving to me. If this budget passes without a plan to fund and start this station and many more of the recommendations that came from the FAC during the budget talks aren’t accepted, every council member should not be returned to their seat upon their next election. I would consider it detrimental to this community, now and the future.

    EXAMPLE: Approving $75,000.00 for an ice skating rink. How fiscally irresponsible can a council get?

    Sorry about my little tirade but this community really needs to wake up and now. I would say “before it’s too late” but unfortunately, I think we are fast approaching that point.

Leave a Reply