Archive for the ‘ Growth ’ Category

The Manning Numbers

A request made by Brad Manning Ford came up in the last DeKalb council meeting agenda:

The dealership says it can get $400,000 from Ford to put towards the [$2.3 million expansion] project, but that it still can’t foot the rest of the bill. The $110,000 that it is requesting from the city represents about 4.7 percent of the total cost – below the city’s traditional maximum project cost-sharing percentage of 20 percent.

The requested rebate would come from new sales taxes generated over and above the existing taxes that the dealership generates now, according to city documents. The program would end after seven years, or whenever the $110,000 mark is met using a 50-50 split – whichever happens first.

According to documents that the dealership provided to the city, it expects to generate a total of $110,000 in sales taxes in 2014 and more than $170,000 per year by the year 2020.

I left a comment with the story:

I like Manning Ford a lot and have had great experiences with their sales, service and rental departments. However, I note that the City of DeKalb purchased a $29,350 Ford Explorer from them in June, and I wonder which dealer ended up supplying the new squad cars totaling $151,700? In other words, maybe Manning is already getting enough help from the city?

Read the rest of this entry

Of course I’m talking about the grand opening of the Nippon Sharyo railcar manufacturing plant and the potential birth of a supply chain cluster.

And they don’t even have Home Rule!

Let’s treat this as an open thread.

Traffic Studies

A new police station on Route 38 is in the works, and a proposed expansion of the DeKalb Public Library would involve closing a portion of North Third Street.

Clearly, each of these projects/proposals if built would impact traffic patterns at their respective locations.

Mac McIntyre brought up the need for a traffic study at the police station site a few months ago so I’ve been doing some research into the requirements as time allows.

Communications with the state Department of Transportation have convinced me that it would likely not be possible for the City of DeKalb to obtain a permit for the police station construction without a traffic study. Indeed, ComEd will have to obtain a permit to dig a hole for a pole before it begins utility work at the site.

Additionally, I just found out that the city approved “administratively” a traffic study, now in progress, for the police station site.

All’s well then, right? NO. My reading of the Municipal Code does not allow for an “administrative” decision on traffic studies. The procedure is for the director of Public Works to make a recommendation and for the city council to vote on the recommendation.

I’ve put the applicable section of Chapter 23, Article 7 after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

Redistricting Clock is Ticking

Recently while doing some lookups in Chapter 3 of the Municipal Code, I came across this:


The wards of the City of DeKalb as heretofore established and as may hereafter be established shall be reapportioned according to population. In the formation of the reapportioned wards the population of each shall be as nearly equal as possible, and the wards shall be of as compact and contiguous territory, as possible.

The method for reapportionment shall be as follows:

That whenever pursuant to Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, there shall be taken an actual Enumeration within every ten years in such manner as the Congress of the United States shall by law direct, the City Council shall, by using the census tracts derived from said Enumeration, apportion the population among the wards accordingly. Said reapportionment of population shall be completed within two years following the Federal decennial year and no later than October 1 of the current year (1972) and by that day and month every subsequent ten years hereafter.

Yesterday John Acardo, DeKalb County Clerk, confirmed that the city must have its redistricting done by October 2012. The Clerk’s office has a redistricting manual for municipalities available.

Let’s make this an open thread. Feel free to comment on yesterday’s elections, anything.

Survey for DeKalb Residents

Have fun with this . . .

Rochelle to Get 250+ New Jobs

[Update 10/21: Groundbreaking ceremony & more info on Nippon Sharyo.]

I haven’t seen this anywhere else but the Rockford Register Star so far.

Gov. Pat Quinn comes to Rochelle at 11 a.m. today to announce that a $35 million to $40 million railcar factory, expected to employ 250 to 350 people, will be built in the city.

…Nippon Sharyo, which will build and operate the plant, is the railcar building partner of Sumitomo Corp. of America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Corp., a Japanese trading company.

According to a Sept. 22 news release on the Sumitomo website, a $560 million contract has been awarded to Nippon Sharyo to build 160 electric bi-level commuter cars for Metra, the commuter railroad that serves Chicago’s suburbs…

The Rochelle plant will consist of a car shell assembly shop, a final assembly shop, a test track and offices.

There must be some mistake! Rochelle doesn’t even have Home Rule! /snark

Seriously, though, what Rochelle does have is the infrastructure; i.e. the rail port. So the real mistake being made is giving a multi-national company that doesn’t need it $12 million in EDGE and other tax credits that the state doesn’t have. When do we stop playing the game?

Also, anybody remember why DeKalb turned down the rail port? The hindsight view doesn’t look very pretty right now.

Overextended in Hampshire Via SSA

[Update 9/3: SSA bond owners have agreed to the buy-back plan.]

Courier News item, my emphasis:

HAMPSHIRE — Whether Crown Community Development will continue with plans to build 2,833 homes in three Hampshire developments, potentially tripling the village’s population, may depend on what six Wall Street firms decide between now and 5 p.m. Wednesday.

That’s the new deadline set for a bond sale that would reduce Crown’s yearly financing costs by millions of dollars per year, but would leave the bond holders with only about a third as much money as the face value of their bonds. The $75 million worth of bonds were sold in 2007 to raise money to build roads, expand wastewater and water treatment plants, and other infrastructure improvements to serve the planned Prairie Ridge, Oakstead and Tamms Farm subdivisions.

The bonds are being paid off over 30 to 40 years with money collected by a Special Service Area tax against each piece of land in the subdivisions. But so far, Crown has sold only 46 lots, and only three of those have had houses built on them. So Crown itself, rather than homeowners, has been paying the yearly SSA taxes.

Here we have, imo, yet another example of a financing mechanism that started out as a good idea but got warped by Illinois’ penchant for “work-arounds.” Read the rest of this entry

Taj Mah-Library

[Updated 7/18 with links to more coverage, at bottom.]

Dimensions, features and amenities planned for the new DeKalb Public Library have been lifted from “A Building Program for the DeKalb Public Library,” September 19, 2009. The plan is to build an 89,000 square foot facility that serves 70,000 people, based on projections of 2% growth per year out to 2030. Building and participant details come after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

Route 23

There was a transportation meeting at Kishwaukee College on Tuesday. It reminded me of an idea I’d heard and would like to throw out to you.

At the meeting, they remarked that non-local truck traffic was decreasing on Route 38 and holding steady on Route 23 so there is no reason to pursue costly bypasses. Well, there is one road in DeKalb where truck traffic must be increasing and that is Peace Road.

The county maintains Peace Road but building proper roads for heavy truck traffic is much more expensive than for regular roads. Should this perhaps be a job for IDOT? What if the part of Gurler that runs east from 4th to Peace (which eventually will be inhabited by industrial and commercial interests), then Peace Road all the way north to Plank Road in Sycamore, were designated Route 23?

It’s true that the city wants to tackle the South 4th Street revitalization with the help of IDOT, but the other idea clearly has merit as well. I thank M. for bringing it up.

Ethics & Downtown Revitalization

All we know for sure is this: DeKalb Mayor Frank Van Buer cast a vote against Gavin Wilson’s candidacy as 5th Ward alderman. The mayor is now found to have close political relationships with Wilson’s opponent in the race and with the man who challenged Wilson’s ballot petition.

Van Buer’s campaign manager, Don Floyd, says that the mayor did disclose, by way of filing electronically with the Illinois State Board of Elections (btw, the irony has not escaped me). He’s got a point. How is it that the opposition party–in this case the Republicans–didn’t dig up that nugget? How did the Daily Chronicle miss it? As for myself, I didn’t blink or think twice at the time, when Van Buer said “We were advised that that was a mandatory.” That’s ’cause I trusted him.

I assume that when Van Buer sought legal advice, it was from the city attorney. Perhaps he should also have visited with the city manager, who is the designated ethics advisor for the city. That way the mayor’s men maybe wouldn’t have to be engaged right now in a flurry of damage control activity because the ethics of the situation called for recusal. Recusal would have saved the day.

At any rate let’s pursue a big-picture hypothesis brought to the fore by Gavin Wilson:

The Mayor and I were not strangers. He had just recently sent me a letter asking me not to write any more letters to the Chronicle, or it would undo all the things he was trying to accomplish, (for instance, removing the only viable parking in the downtown). I did write more, and I know this was not an action that would endear me to him.

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