DeKalb’s city council met again with DeKalb’s financial consultants, EPI/Crowe, to consider the latter’s latest report and recommendations.
The most important information to pass on to you is that the consultants told the council, at least twice AND in so many words, that the city will enter another financial crisis within five years if it doesn’t drastically change its operating model.
Yes, this concern has been a recurring topic at City Barbs since at least the time of the analysis of the Reduction in Force of 2010. Maybe they’ll listen now that they’ve paid someone to tell them these things. We’ll see.
Key to change, said the consultants, is strategy. Laying off people when you get into financial trouble is not strategic, it’s tactical. Strategic means planning for fulfilling needs 3-5 years out. Tactical is doing whatever it takes to get through the next year. One way is sustainable, the other a grubby little bandage giving temporary relief.
Bottom line, in my words alone: Getting rid of 30-plus employees is a desperate act borne of failure to recognize changing realities, and those responsible should not be allowed to pretend they are financial geniuses.
OK, let’s move on to the zombie I promised. As reported here in late May, TIF Fund voluntary transfers into the General Fund for administrative operations are now approaching $1 million a year. TIF (Tax Increment Financing) districts are established to generate capital for infrastructure projects to fight blight, encourage private development and improve neighborhoods. TIFs are temporary and therefore this GF revenue is temporary and therefore the talk has been about a plan to start weaning ourselves off the money. Until now. “Reestablishing TIF 1” (AKA Central Area TIF) has suddenly taken first place on the list of “revenue opportunities” (see PDF p. 106). Get that? It is now being suggested that DeKalb might reanimate this TIF district after it expires in 2020, in order to keep its revenues flowing for general operating expenses.
More random observations and opinions:
Let’s stop here for now. More later.