Archive for January 17th, 2013

DeKalb TIF Absurdity

Wow, today’s Chronicle article about TIF seems very one-sided and in need of additional viewpoints.

That’s what blogs are for!

Let’s start with the statement about Sycamore Road.

DeKalb’s districts helped revitalize Sycamore Road with the additions of Target, Walmart and major shopping corridors.

Revitalize? Do they think Sycamore Road was full of slums? It was mostly farmland. Last I checked, farmland was an asset in DeKalb County. But, to start a TIF district you need to declare the area you want to develop as a sort of disaster area known as “blight.” In Illinois TIF parlance, “blight” is anything a municipality needs it to be, as long as it can persuade the General Assembly and governor to buy in. So…corn fields equal blight in DeKalb.

Yes, it’s a corruption of TIF; and the most amazing part, to me, is how a publication can write about Illinois corruption on a regular basis and yet not recognize local examples of it.

Back to the article. How about this:

“We’re blessed to have the working relationship we do with the taxing districts,” [DeKalb city manager Mark] Biernacki said. “We work to make that longer term more short-term by ending TIF districts in less than 23 years.”

DeKalb’s largest TIF district was amended, expanded and renewed for an additional 11 years in 2008. This assertion of Biernacki’s that DeKalb closes TIFs early should not have gone unchallenged, yet it totally did.

Also going unchallenged is the notion of opening new TIFs in town AT THIS TIME. I can’t believe we are going there and will spend the rest of the post explaining why it we shouldn’t. Read the rest of this entry

**Update: You may have noticed we were offline most of the day yesterday, due to the host’s making a change in server hardware. The last step, restoration of data via a backup, left a draft version of this post that I’ve tinkered with and republished.

Winnebago County has opened up its board committee meetings to public comment, according to an RRStar.com article.

There’s a federal lawsuit involved and the judge in the case has confirmed the requirement for public comment, though the county claims it has always planned to comply with the new provision of the Open Meetings Act anyhow. The Open Meetings Act is a state law.

The county began to allow public comment at committee meetings after the newly elected board organized on Dec. 3. The move was needed to comply with a 2011 change to the Open Meetings Act.

Mike “C” Castronovo filed the lawsuit Feb. 23, 2011 in part because he was denied the ability to speak at a May 2009 Public Works Committee meeting.

Castronovo’s lawsuit stems from a time before the change to the Open Meetings Act, said Deputy State’s Attorney Dave Kurlinkus. The decision to open meetings for public comment was not a response to Castronovo’s lawsuit, “but it certainly was called to our attention through it,” Kurlinkus said.

Maybe it wasn’t a response to the lawsuit, and maybe it was. But hearing from a federal judge on the matter must be somewhat reinforcing, yes? Read the rest of this entry