4th Street TIF? Not on Your Life

Chronicle: “Fourth Street plans continue at monthly meetings”:

[Brian] Scholle, an insurance agent whose office is on South Fourth Street, is spearheading the initiative to redevelop South Fourth Street, which he stressed will require a lot of patience.

“South Fourth Street has to be the next area that’s on the city’s radar,” Scholle said.

Creating a tax increment financing [TIF] district would be a necessary step, Scholle said, especially if the vision includes fixing infrastructure problems and blighted building facades.

Let’s start with the City of DeKalb’s meeting calendar for November. You see an Economic Development Committee (EDC) meeting posted there? How about October? Me neither. So much for upholding the spirit of the Open Meetings Act.

Econ Dev is another of those city committees, like the Citizens Community Enhancement Commission (CCEC), that pretty much does whatever the heck it wants. As far back as I could find online agendas, which was about two years (this was before the latest city website update), EDC has not turned in meeting minutes to be approved by Council. It’s also nigh near impossible to figure out when they are actually going to meet, not just because the meetings aren’t properly posted but also because they change frequency a lot — down to twice per year at times — even though EDC is supposed to have regular, ongoing responsibilities.

As for starting another TIF: Are they crazy?! There is NO WAY the residents of this town can support another TIF. There is NO WAY residents can afford to pay more to the Park District, Library District, Sanitary District, etc., to make up for the giant TIF flexi-straw. Do they not understand the unemployment and foreclosure rates down here? Do they not understand the profound and deserved notoriety of the downtown slush fund TIF?

Start with better code enforcement and a few more trees; we already have the resources for that. And if the 4th Street businesses want to, let them petition to start an SSA.

Next meeting: December 8, 3 p.m., Council Chambers.

6 thoughts on “4th Street TIF? Not on Your Life”

  1. Lynn: I really value your scrutiny of city affairs. However, it is essential that you become a more accurate reporter of information if your blog is going to maintain credibility. The Open Meetings Act does NOT require subsidiaries of the public body to post their notices electronically and I know for a fact that the EDC meeting was posted on a timely basis on the bulletin boards at City Hall.

    Is staff’s failure to post this meeting notice ANNOYING? You bet it is! An OMA violation, it is not.

    This is another in a long line of examples of how staff treats public notification as an afterthought. Until we get aldermen and a mayor committed to transparency this will continue to be an organizational culture problem.

    However, the city’s failure to post the special joint meeting of the city council (and the FAC) on November 16 MAY be a violation of the OMA. The principal public body is required to electronically post the meeting notification when the entity maintains its own website (which DeKalb does). Since this is the usual and customary place that such notices are posted, it SHOULD HAVE BEEN added here. (I understand Mr. Biernacki’s administrative support dropped the ball here. Not the first time either.)

    Unfortunately for those wishing to file charges, the city manager did post the agenda — and supporting materials — elsewhere on the city’s website. So it could be argued that electronic notification was made.

    Anyway, keep up the good fight, but please be careful when you make accusations. I don’t want to see the credibility of your other efforts undermined by inaccuracies.

  2. Anson, please read it again. I looked it up before I posted — which is why it is worded as it is.

    If I had thought the EDC failure was an outright violation of OMA, I’d be reporting on the reporting of it.

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