Council Agenda 7/14/08

The agenda packet is another 200+ pager due to sketches of the downtown ShoDeen plan and East Corridor work along with a number of proposed revisions to the liquor code. Consider this an open thread on any part of the agenda; however, I will confine myself for the moment to comment on a couple of inconsistencies that IMO are somewhat telling of the power relationships involved.

  • Council may cut its salaries by 10%, but give 34 managers COLA adjustments (pp. 89-94; 129-143).
  • The city may approve changes to the liquor code to force bar managers to live within city boundaries (p. 195), yet its own firefighters are allowed to live up to 18 miles from town.
  • The proposed liquor license fee hikes are ridiculous (p. 212). Will next up be the landlords, or will they hike the property tax first?

    30 thoughts on “Council Agenda 7/14/08”

    1. Say what you want about Shodeen, I do like this plan they have put together. It’s a good use of space and looks to be a good anchor for additional downtown redevelopment.

      However since this is DeKalb I am already worried that the Council will give away our firstborn children, free water/sewer, sales tax moratoriums, no impact fees, and balloons and lollipops for the kids forever. Shodeen has deep enough pockets that they don’t need any incentives and we really need to hold the line on this. So long as the project is based on private money then by all means, full speed ahead.

      Also, cost estimate of 50M to 120M? seriously? Are they planning on building two of them and just haven’t made up their minds yet?

      The manager’s COLA will pass without any discussion or critical thinking and WE ALL KNOW IT so I don’t see any reason to type up how ridiculous it is. Sorry, I’m jaded.

      Overall I don’t mind most of the liquor changes being proposed except for the “campus zone” area. That is just begging for the “border syndrome” where new student bars will set up shop just outside of the boundaries to escape the elevated fees. Then the city will turn around and change the borders to include the new bars and the process repeats. It would be nice if some of the increased fees would go directly to the construction of the police sta… ah hell who am I kidding it’s going to go to the airport slush fund.

      If anybody complains about how long the meetings are and how they just want to go home I think I’m going to pop an artery. If they are so put off by the idea of doing the public business then they can just resign and let somebody else do it. With the amount of stuff that has been steamrolled through the system in the past few months they have no excuse for complaining.

    2. ANON

      The managers COLA may pass without any thinking but I don’t think it will pass without comment. Remember the mayors election is right around the corner and those on the council who are running will not pass on the opportunity to comment.

      Of course they will comment and then act in thier own interests.


      Why not consider a merit increase or set amount for a raise instead of a COLA increase. Remember when they grant a COLA increase it also increase the salary scales and ranges for all future raises. When you increase these scales and ranges you are actually giving a pay raise to people that do not even work here yet.

      As an example: Lets say there are people on a police / fire hiring list. When you adjust salaries with a COLA you also increase the salary ranges. You are, in effect, giving a raise to someone that is waiting to come to work for you.


    3. Anon, I have the same hopes & worries about ShoDeen.

      Pevo, I’m with you in general but NOT in a budget crisis year. The Council is taking a cut & that should be a model for everyone else this year.

    4. “If anybody complains about how long the meetings are and how they just want to go home I think I’m going to pop an artery. If they are so put off by the idea of doing the public business then they can just resign and let somebody else do it. ”

      HERE HERE!!!! These statements from the Mayor and others lately are infuriating me!! If they don’t want the meetings to last so long then perhaps they need to quit making so many new ordinances and new taxes that hurt the already troubled local economy. Perhaps if they represented their constituents instead of their staff, less of us would feel the need to speak up for ourselves at the meetings and they could go home earlier ;)

    5. Pevo: If I remember correctly, it was said during the last meeting that the manager already has the discretion to give out 2% merit raises on top of the COLA (or even if it didn’t exist). However, if I start thinking about how they are going to be both put on furlough and given COLA at the same time… sorry I can’t do it. My brain stops me so that I don’t do any permanent damage.

      ANYBODY could run against the present mayor at this point and have a decent chance. Any takers?

    6. I can think of several people who may want to run for mayor but there would be no bigger waste than to get somebody good in there without replacing 2,4,6 with people who are on the same page.

    7. I try mightily to not let my distaste for things yuppie to color my judgement. But, before signing on to the Sho-deen “development” I would really like to know who is going to be holding the bag for the financing, should things not work out? This sort of building project is all the rage in more affluent areas, but we are not all that prosperous out here. How much high end retail is supportable? What happens when the young professionals who are supposed to want to live in the condos, stays put in more hospitable environs like Evanston, Naperville and Chicago? Do we wind up with more Section 8 residential in this project if that is the case? The young professionals I work with tend to live in the previously mentioned places. They like to take classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music, or associate and party with their peers, unmolested by their students. The only reason I can see for any of them living here is the increased cost of commuting. But, that increased cost is going to knock most of the rest of our growth into the toilet as people who commute from here to the Fox Valley find that is no longer affordable. The simple facts of the situation here are that we are not a very wealthy community, and there is not a lot of good paying work here. Despite the dreams of the city administration that we become a slightly lower end version of Buffalo Grove or Naperville, it simply is not going to happen. So, with that being the case, what sort of renovation might be done that is more practical and consistent with the unique character of this wonderful town?

    8. I published a survey on the proposaed rental inspection program at

      Please take time to provide your input. If you fill out the optional field for your email address, I’ll email you aggregate results.

      The item is on the agenda, sorta, for Monday night’s meeting, item J-1.

      If the Mayor and council reduce their pay/benefits there cannot be any admin raises. Shouldn’t be anyways.

      Anyone who wants to invest millions and millions of dollars into my community is a good joe in my book. I welcome Shodeen and hope his plans are wildly successful. I am an anti-suitcase mentality type though. New people should not be granted anything that existing people can’t get. They should pay the same fees as everyone else, etc.

      I do take note of a $6 million line item in the new and extended TIF District that is earmarked for reimbursement for developer interest. All things transparent.

    9. Tried to scan through the agenda and would point out what I feel is a major inconsistency. In the Sunday Chronicle there were articles about the staffing of the Police / Fire Departments. Of course they used comparable Cities of Illinois towns with major universities. These comparisons made DeKalb look very bad.

      In the Council agenda they again used comparable cities but it was like reading from a differant book. There are a whole new list of comparable ciites. Which list do we use? The list used for staffing or the list used for comparable wages.

      Rereading the news articles they looks more like a union press release than a unbiased news report.


    10. How about thinking about the park district band shell at Hopkins Park. That is why the shell is designed for outdoor venues. It would be great. We can also continue to look for indoor venues. Maybe Ms. Nelson should work on going into the private business and instruct students on the side. I know it may cut into the school programs but the kids really seem to like what she is doing. She has a fantastic way to grab the kids attention and make them want to play. She is truly a real gem.

    11. Without knowing why she was allowed to be let go, I can only think that someone was getting jealous of her approach with her music students. She is definitely doing something right and you sure would think that maybe someone in the administration would like to incorporate her techiques into the other studies.

    12. Two things:
      1.) The Egyptian Theater is a wonderful idea!!!
      2.) Mrs. Nelson is a beloved teacher who is dedicated to her profession. Not just her teaching profession but her own orchestra profession. She is an accomplished chello player and a member of the Kishwaukee Symphany Orchestra. The students are getting a bonus with her as their teacher. The school board has really stepped in it this time. I can only hope that this dirty deed will haunt them for a very long time. These kids are just amazing. They are a must hear to believe group. The time has come for the voting community to step forward and let the board know just how wrong they were at letting her go.

    13. So is there a ‘hat’ going around to collect donations for Mrs. Nelson yet?

      This is such an incredible story. Did anyone sell the movie rights to ‘Mrs. Nelson’s Orchestra’ to Hollywood yet? ;-)

    14. Has she applied to other schools? If she hasn’t, why not? An individual with this much talent to instruct students the way she does must be able to make contact with as many students interested in music as possible and not let go from her position.

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