The Illinois Policy Institute recently re-tested government website transparency in DuPage County’s York Township and released results last week.
Dubbed “The Local Transparency Project,” grades are based on the availability to the public of vital community information such as public meeting schedules, government employee salaries and tax rates. Since the project was launched by the Institute in February 2010, more than 160 government entities have been graded.
The government entities that scored above 80 percent were: DuPage County, Elmhurst School District 205, DuPage High School District 88 and the municipalities of Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Downers Grove and Lombard. The village of Lombard, in fact, maintained a score of 100 percent that initially awarded in May 2012.
Almost all of the websites gained points the second time around, and the top sites made such improvement as to suggest conscious responses to the first test.
And it’s not just about uploading content, but organizing it in such a way that it is easy to find.
The Village of Lombard website is tops for several reasons. Redundancy is one. For example, you can get to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) information and forms from both the “How Do I…?” menu on the front page, and via the “Online Forms by Department” menu. An “A-Z” index is also available, which is how I found out the village offers extra goodies for residents, such as a directory of local contractors who meet village requirements for insurance and so on. Read the rest of this entry
DeKalb Corn Fest was lucky to have funds in reserve when it moved from the downtown to DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport in 2008.
Except for the “Lady Antebellum boost” in 2009, revenues have been trending downward. Revenues are no longer itemized on the tax forms, so we don’t know which categories have gotten hit.
The expense story is not so mysterious: expenses jumped with the move to the airport because site costs rose from $20,000 to $38,000.
It will be interesting to get last year’s numbers to see what effect, if any, the new parking fees had on the bottom line. You will recall that the City of DeKalb, not Corn Fest, benefits from the parking fees; nevertheless they could still affect attendance and spending.
Source: Foundation Center 990 Finder
The meeting is Tuesday, June 26, 6 p.m. in DeKalb council chambers.
The joint meeting is a signal that the work of the Safe/Quality Housing Task Force is almost done and that proposals will come up for votes at council soon.
The city’s agenda does not list specific items, so I got mine from the DeKalb Area Rental Association. The issues include discussion of:
Three different mandatory inspection ordinances
Licensing and fee requirements for rental housing
A new Vacant Housing ordinance with possible $500 fees
Increased registration requirements and fees for rental housing
A Disorderly House ordinance
I’ve attended several Task Force meetings. In my view, this whole exercise was started as another attempt by administrators to latch onto the teats of a new cash cow, aka DeKalb landlords. However, to my utter delight I have become a fan of the Task Force. This is no puppet committee.
Meanwhile, the cow in the form of DARA obviously is going to kick and kick hard; but please do not make the mistake of believing these ordinance proposals only affect landlords. Come for the potential fireworks but stay for a conversation that ultimately will involve all of us.
[Updated with Deposit Insurance Fund info @ 1:40 p.m.]
…and one of its former officers is a DeKalb County official.
From an FDIC release yesterday:
Farmers and Traders State Bank, Shabbona, Illinois, was closed today by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with First State Bank, Mendota, Illinois, to assume all of the deposits of Farmers and Traders State Bank.
The two branches of Farmers and Traders State Bank will reopen on Saturday as branches of First State Bank. Depositors of Farmers and Traders State Bank will automatically become depositors of First State Bank. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage up to applicable limits.
The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $8.9 million. Compared to other alternatives, First State Bank’s acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC’s DIF.
You heard it here (and perhaps only here) that FTSB accepted a consent order from FDIC last summer in response to charges of “unsafe or unsound banking practices and violations of law, rule, or regulation related to its Compliance Management System alleged to have been committed by the Bank.”
Yes, the Chronicle published from the same release this morning, but what they missed — and what I missed before — was Mark Todd. The Mark Todd who was appointed last year and has been serving as DeKalb County treasurer is the same Mark Todd who left his position as vice-president of Farmers and Traders State Bank just a few months before the bank got into trouble with regulators.
And the same Mark Todd is now running for a term as county treasurer, and so far is running unopposed. Terrific.
The 162nd annual town hall meeting of DeKalb Township begins tonight at 7 p.m. at the township offices, 2323 South 4th Street. The agenda is here.
DeKalb City Council Chambers will serve as the setting for a candidates’ night on Thursday evening involving some of the candidates City of DeKalb residents will vote on, and will include a telecast on Channel 14, the city’s public access channel.
The newly reconstituted League of Women Voters of DeKalb County (LWVDC) is hosting. Participating candidates of non-contested races will provide short presentations about themselves and their platforms, while contested races will involve questions from the audience as well.
Find more info at the Chronicle or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Full disclosure: I serve on the LWVDC board of directors.
The DeKalb Area Rental Association (DARA) formed last summer has recently launched its website, called daranow.com.
It’s probably safe to say it’s not a coincidence in timing that DARA was conceived just a few months after the mayor first appointed his Safe/Quality Housing Task Force, and easy to see DARA’s formation at least partly as a defensive measure against the suspected return of the Rental Inspection Program agenda.
However, DARA is already more than an “anti” group. The organization is establishing Building Watch on multi-unit properties, has recently hosted a public meeting about Building Watch with DeKalb police, and is aiming to dovetail these efforts with existing Neighborhood Watch activities.
DARA has also taken upon itself the task of video recording Task Force meetings. A member tells me the recordings will be uploaded to YouTube and linked to the DARA website for easy public access.
The Safe/Quality Housing Task Force will next meet February 28 from 4-6 p.m. in the Municipal Building, council chambers.
Want to know more about keeping chickens in the city? Join Hannah Dwyer at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship hall in DeKalb tonight.
Ms. Dwyer has been shepherding a proposal through the legislative process to allow City of DeKalb residents to keep up to five hens for their eggs. City council has so far assigned the draft ordinance to the Citizens’ Environmental Commission and the Planning & Zoning Commission for their recommendations, and these bodies are expected to consider the matter next month.
If the ordinance passes as written, each property owner with a hen permit and a lot size of 10,000 square feet or more will be allowed to keep hens on his or her property.
The UUF hall is on the southeast corner of Fourth and Locust. The informational program begins at 7 p.m.
Pretty soon, “Y” members who live on the south side of DeKalb may no longer have to travel to the YMCA’s Bethany Road facilities for lap swims and cardio workouts.
Our YMCA will be opening a NEW Y Site at the current Huntley Middle School location on at 1515 S. 4th Street in DeKalb! The Y will have use of the pool on certain days and also the lobby area for exercise equipment. In all, the site will feature 32 pieces of cardio equipment, a dumbbell and stretching area and 3 50″ TV’s.
The new facility is part of a larger program of improvements planned for 2012, which includes renovations to its multi-purpose room and expansion of parking area at the Bethany Road site.
For more info and to enter a naming contest, go here.