Mutiny

Of course I will check it out for myself when the agenda for next Monday’s meeting is finally uploaded but meantime somebody explain this to me:

A few changes were made to amendments. An amendment that calls for a 10 percent cut to the Administrative Services Department is unlikely to happen, according to a memo from city officials, because they want to avoid cutting personnel. The city will most likely only be able to reduce administrative services by 1.2 percent, or $31,000, according to a memo from city staff.

I attended the June 10 meeting when the original amendments were made. I will attend the June 23 meeting when the final decisions are made. But I somehow missed the very important meeting during which the amendments were amended. Especially the one where the Refuse Fund gets pitched into the General Fund after all.

23 thoughts on “Mutiny”

  1. I’m with you, yinn. It was apparent on June 9 and 10 that city staff did not want to consider any changes to their well-crafted (ha!) budget document. I take this and Espiritu’s comments as quoted in the Chronicle as rejection of the direction they were given by the Council. I think both Biernacki and Espiritu should be fired for insubordination and malfeasance, a position I’ve taken before. Just who can decide to amend the amendments without direction? And I think the aldermen and mayor will look befuddled, posture for a couple of hours and without much complaint approve what they are presented with on Monday. I think there should be a motion to change the name of the community from “City of DeKalb” to “People’s Republic of DeKalb”.

  2. Mac got hold of a memo that in some ways contradicts the Chronicle story–especially as concerns the Refuse Fund. Guess we will have to see what happens Monday; I still can’t download anything from the city website and it’s too late for me to go up there myself.

  3. Can someone please advise the status of the recently passed increase in the home rule sales tax. Was it 1/4 or 1/2 cent increase.

    Has that been approved and when was it approved. I also remember that it was to be brought up in Oct or Nov on whether to repeal this.

    I know you guys are on top of these issues so could someone please point me to where I can get the history on this issue.

    Pevo

  4. Maybe THIS is why they haven’t released the Agenda. Although the City Managers could only manage to cut a fraction of the Administration cost, against the Council’s wishes…. they WERE able to give themselves a raise (if this passes). A raise big enough to not only cover the furloughs they agreed to, but to end up still costing us more. Yinn? How many times did you say “NO RAISES”!? Read this:

    J. ORDINANCES – FIRST READING

    1) ORDINANCE AMENDING THE MUNICIPAL CODE OF THE CITY OF DEKALB, ILLINOIS, CHAPTER 3, “CITY ADMINISTRATION,” SECTION 3.43, “MANAGEMENT PAY PLAN,” BY PROVIDING FOR AN ANNUAL COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT.

    As part of the annual budget process, the City Manager recommends to City Council an appropriate cost-of-living increase prior to the start of each fiscal year. This Ordinance amends Chapter 3 of the Municipal Code to update the Management Employee Pay Plan with a cost-of-living adjustment for FY2009. If approved, and after subtracting the wage reduction due to the upcoming furlough, management employees would see a net 1.83% wage increase for FY2009.

  5. Please define cost of living.

    Lets say that the Consumer Price Index says the cost of living increased 04% last year. What the City has always done to the unions and themselves is then give 04% increase to everyone.

    BUT IN REALITY if the CPI also says that health care accounted for 75% of the increase in the cost of living and the employer picks up the entire tab for that increase why should the employee still get the entire 04% . Their increaase should only be 01%.

    This is just one example of what has driven the salaries way out of range.

    Pevo

  6. Or maybe it’s THIS last minute ‘we have to have this approved NOW’ Resolution approving money for a study entirely OUTSIDE of DeKalb city limits:

    RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR OF DEKALB, ILLINOIS TO EXECUTE AN ENGINEERING AGREEMENT WITH BAXTER & WOODMAN, INC., FOR DESIGN FEASIBILITY STUDY OF THE EASTERN DSATS CORRIDOR ROADWAY ALIGNMENT BETWEEN PLANK ROAD AND GURLER AND HINCKLEY ROADS.

    As part of its FY08 budget, the DeKalb Sycamore Area Transportation Study agreed to perform a transportation corridor study of the Eastern DSATS region. The project is a transportation corridor study of the approximately seven and a half mile stretch from Plank Road in north Sycamore to Gurler and Hinckley Roads southeast of Cortland, to identify three (3) possible corridor roadway alignments, of which the local municipalities and county could select one (1) alternative for future development. IDOT requires that studies such as this, be bid as a Request For Qualifications (RFQ) to identify the most qualified firm to perform the project, rather than as a Request For Proposal (RFP) where the lowest bidder is selected. Per requirements, an RFQ was issued for the project, and from fourteen proposals submitted, Baxter and Woodman was selected by the DSATS Policy Committee as the most qualified firm to perform the corridor study. Baxter & Woodman Inc. has provided an engineering service agreement for the corridor study, which will identify three possible new transportation corridors in the Easter DSATS region, forming the basis for a possible new future transportation corridor, similar to the Peace Road corridor between DeKalb and Sycamore. The staff recommends this agreement with Baxter & Woodman Inc. Be approved in the amount not to exceed $58,250 for the study of a new transportation corridor. In order to be able to use any remaining FY08 Federal Transportation Funds towards this project, the contract must be signed before June 30, 2008.
    Please direct question to Transportation Planner Brian Dickson.

  7. PS: Obviously this transportation study thing has some history that I don’t know about. I just have a particular offense after the recent bombs we’ve been given… to money for ANY study that has to be approved THIS MEETING. Especially right now….

  8. I suspect that at this point the mayor and city council will do their best “deer in the headlights” act and pass whatever the administration puts in front of them. But, it will be interesting to see what sort of rabbit gets pulled out of the hat for next year’s budget when the financial climate is even worse. The city staff are gambling that the current recession is to be mild and of short duration. Judging from what is going on in the circles of high finance, this is not going to be the case. Eventually, local governments are going to have to learn to live within their means. The debt load that our area governments are piling up on a rather modest population base is simply insane. Last year I finally came to the realization that while I love this city, and have had many good years here, the local empire builders were going to tax me to death, and in the process of making it just like any other yuppie suburb, destroy most of what I most like about DeKalb. I bought some rural acreage in another state, where I can afford to retire and live modestly and with far fewer hassles than I would face here.

  9. Thanks

    Do you know was the entire 50% approved or was it reduced to 25%.

    PS. The increase in the FY 09 budget for this increase amounted to $1,350,000.00. I just need to be sure on whether it was the 50% increase or was it reduced in any way.

    Pevo

  10. Gracie, as you well know I believe raises are obscene at this point in time. But I suspect Steve is right; they will pass this and they will pass all the other spending bills including the two taxes appearing for second reading.

    That is not OK. It will leave us to pick up some mighty big pieces this time next year. I was hoping Council could change direction in view of the current economic picture but observe no sense of urgency to do so. All the urgency lies with us taxpayers. If our representatives will not represent us, we have to create the change ourselves.

  11. Wink, Wink, Wink and Nod. ( to all employees)

    1. Note at the next meeting the City will be proposing cost of living increases for adimistration and non union staff. To all others be advised although small they will be increases so you can count on yours too. WINK

    2. Note the City is not proposing any changes in the employees contributions towards health coverage or other benefits. Although the FAC strongly suggests we ask employees to contribute more we are not going to propose that for administration and satff so you should also feel safe. WINK

    3. We soon have to set the salaries and benefits for the Consolidated Elections in 2009 ( Mayor and 3 council seats). Again salaries and health benefits will be an issue. We will coninue to provide health benefits at the current rate so you all can feel at easy. Remember we can accomplish this be doing nothing. WINK

    4. We have some that think the tax increases that have been passed are not needed and will move to have them repealed. They will make very strong arguments. But why cut taxes when we are faced with so many challenges. WINK

    Now the NOD. I do not have the courage yet to explain the NOD but he NOD will be used to elect the next mayor in DeKalb.

    Pevo

  12. Mr Berg.

    Next years “rabbit” is the most risky of all. Businees, both public and private follow this course. Government has followed their lead.

    The next step is to refinance all existing debt. Of course this will be done at a lower rate but for a longer period of time. This will free up needed cash.

    It is the path that so many others follow that eventually leads to failure.

    You cannot outrun expenses with increased taxes. It is a race that no one has ever won.

    We need to change the basic principle. The budget must drive the expenses instead of having the expenses drive the budget.

    Pevo

  13. I think that Ed is correct in what they are going to do. The fly in the ointment for this is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to refinance local government bonds. Most of the companies that used to “insure” municipal bond issues, in order to hopefully guarantee repayment are currently insolvent and have been downgraded substantially by the rating entities. Do your own due diligence. Would you invest your hard earned money into the bonds of some local governments who are as highly leveraged as the City of DeKalb and District 428? Return of capital is going to be a greater concern of investors than return on capital. Personal and family expenses keep rising, yet most incomes are flat to declining. As Mac’s map shows, foreclosures are increasing here, and the eventual result is that property values will drop, and so then will be the ability to repay these bonds. The TIF increment is the collateral for those bonds. What is going to happen when the increment goes negative? There is a Willy and Ethel cartoon that sums up well, the upcoming crisis. Willy is paying the family bills and looks up at Ethel and says, “I’m sure glad that we are not in our creditors’ shoes this month.” The NIU Political Science Department used to have a state governmental simulation program. You could set various tax rates and then run the program. What I soon learned is that it is incredibly easy to run a government into insolvency via excessive taxation and spending. My prediction is that our local governments are going to learn this the hard way in the next few years. Business as usual is not going to be usual for much longer.

  14. I’m proud to be associated with this group.

    Sorry to see you move Steve but I understand. I’m sure you’ll come back and visit Parking Lot 4 in the future. It’s the new focal point and identity of the Barb City, errr, Communiversity of DeKalb. I always thought it (identity) should be the people who live here but I guess we just didn’t meet the grade. We shoulda got higher paying jobs so City Hall didn’t have to import higher median income statistics to make their reports look good. But we can all come back and visit Parking Lot 4, take a skateboard ride down the new Palmer Court Walkway, maybe do some ice skating and remember the good ol’ days when we once could afford to live in DeKalb.

    I’m not be sarcastic, am I?

  15. I won’t be moving for a while. I have my parents living with me and as long as they are on this mortal coil, I will be here in Tilton Park. I just realized that I was not going to be able to afford to stay here on a greatly reduced income, and had the cash in hand from a leveraged buyout of some of my stock investments. When I bought my humble abode in 1987, my taxes here were under a thousand dollars. Now, they are approaching four thousand. The perceived quality of services has not improved much if at all. Instead, I see my taxes used to fund extravagant projects not benefiting me much, if at all, and in the process what made DeKalb a unique and joyous place to live is being demolished. If I wanted to live in Naperville, I would move there. Instead I fled from the greedy hordes destroying Lake County back in the early 1970’s, and the same sorts of SOB’s are now wrecking this place. The governmental extravagance in place here is unsustainable. Salaries and wages in the private sector are not enough to keep the tax revenue gravy train going for much longer. People have been surviving on credit, and now that is shaky. So, we will see a return to some semblance of sanity in our local governments, but all will be much better off if these are dragged kicking screaming now, by groups such as this, instead of having events force them a bit later on.

  16. Pevo–

    The budget must drive the expenses instead of having the expenses drive the budget.

    I am so-o-o-o stealing that quote for future use, ‘less you’ve got a problem with that.

  17. DON’T OPPOSE THE PAY RAISES JUST CHANGE THE WAY THE ARE GIVEN.
    I am just using some rough numbers here but lets say the Admin budget is 1.5 million for salaries. Staff will want 02% for cost of living increases paid at the start of the year. That will be about 30k. Oppose that move.

    Instead tell them that the City will make available 40k in bonus money paid at the end of the year if the following measurable goals are met.

    10% overall reduction in overtime from 1.6 M to 1.4 M

    ensure a 02% contribution to the capitol fund

    10 reduction in the work comp fund deficit.

    These are just examples but lets move towards pay for performance.

    Hey if they can save 160k in overtime give them the 40k in bonus we all win. Don’t just give automatic COL increase without any performance

    Pevo

  18. Pevo–Those points looked good. Ordinance 08-43 went through first reading and obviously will be revisited (unlike 08-44 and 08-45 which received waived second readings). I have in my notes that there are already merit increases in there somewhere, and those are separate from COLA.

    It seems as though most of the proposed cuts went through.

    I do want to point out that when Alderman Gorski encouraged ReNew DeKalb to do their own fund-raising because it is a non-profit, Jennifer Groce came up and said how they met their targeted fund-raising in the past. She used the word “goals.” Well, I heard zip, nada, nothing on those amounts or the goals. What were those fund-raising goals? $10,000? $100,000? $10????

    Inquiring minds may ask again later. ;-)

    I spent most of last week in a city in Wyoming of about 10,000. Their police station was larger and newer (go figure). The county officers wore blue jeans, red shirts, and cowboy hats. The hats and shirts matched but not the blue jeans. I bet the officers purchased their own jeans.

    I have not a clue what the hotel tax rate was in that city and I could not do anything about it anyway (other than choosing a cheaper hotel to save on overall costs). Staying in a hotel is a luxury so I have no problem with the hotel tax being raised for DeKalb. If there were not instances when people had car repairs which necessitated the need for a rental car, I might consider that a luxury that could come with a high tax rate.

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