Between the TIF corporate welfare and a new parking lot for NIU, the City of DeKalb will be paying out somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million to put Olive Garden on oh-so-blighted Sycamore Road if the deal the city council voted for last night is finalized to the satisfaction of all parties.

Assuming the population of DeKalb is still 43,900 (I have my doubts) and using the $1 mil figure, it comes to $22.78 that must be paid by each resident and does not include bread sticks; this is what we must pay merely to get local access to bread sticks.

I don’t know about you, but I’d have a hard time spending money in a joint that I felt already owed me a meal.

In general, I support infill redevelopment over tearing up agricultural land and I know sometimes it takes a bit of sweetener. An offer to knock down the old building might have been OK, but that’s not what this is. This is a subsidy necessitated by a) council’s eagerness to please 300 people who participated in a non-scientific marketing poll, and b) the fact that we don’t actually have enough inhabitants to support OG in the manner to which it is accustomed.

The kicker is that we won’t even be privy to much information about “payback” of the “loan” because the sales tax take for an individual store is treated as confidential.

However, the deal would constitute a nice routine in budget gymnastics if it goes through because it would guarantee that TIF money turns into a few years’ worth of General Fund revenue. Arrangements like this will become important when city hiring and raises being approved this year bump up against the reality of flat GF revenues overall.