Some performances I liked real well, others I didn’t. Later, I realized the people who impressed me the least were the ones promising regular town hall meetings, ward coffee sessions, open-door policies, transparency!™ and citizen input up the wazoo. Read the rest of this entry
DeKalb city staff want to hire five people and buy four vehicles in their quest to a) ignore recommendations of the Safe/Quality Housing Task Force and b) implement the rental housing licensing and inspection program they’ve wanted all along.
According to the agenda backup, start-up costs would come to $135,000 and the annual outlay would be $454,000. Fees would cover only about half of the ongoing annual costs — but wait! They’ve already budgeted $150,000 – $196,000 in contingencies over the next five years so it’s mostly taken care of and the rest can be “absorbed by other General Fund sources” so it’s all good!
But, at least the latest staff nonsense might mean council has signaled a decision against a tax increase for the program.
Enjoy the latest performance of the “Cirque du DK” tonight in council chambers beginning 6 p.m.
DeKalb city manager Mark Biernacki entered into a contract agreement last fall with the firm Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins, using his ordinance-given spending authority (PDF p. 55).
A professional services contract had been entered into by the City Manager, on behalf of the City Council, with the firm Klein, Thorpe, and Jenkins to conduct research and to prepare recommendations on code enforcement strategies and practices. The City Manager is authorized to enter into contracts provided the cost to the City does not exceed $20,000.
The city manager is authorized to enter into these contracts but to be more precise, the services must already be authorized budgetary expenses. He is not allowed to start new projects without permission.
Regardless of budgetary legitimacy, Mr. Biernacki obtained the blessing of the city council via one-on-one communications — no formal vote was taken at the time — to bring in KTJ under his spending authority. Then it got a bit more complicated.
To date [January 2012] this hourly rate contract has incurred a cost of $17,828 (see attached invoices). Given the growing expectations the City and the Housing Task Force have had of the firm (additional research, attendance at additional meetings, etc.), it is clear that the total cost of this contract will exceed $20,000. It is estimated the total will be in the range of $30,000 to $35,000. The Municipal Code requires that the Council ratify a previously entered into hourly contract where subsequent circumstances lead to a total cost exceeding the $20,000 cap.
Council authorized expenses incurred by KTJ up to $40,000. Shall we take a peek at the final tally? Read the rest of this entry
[Updated with link 5:30 p.m.]
The DeKalb City Council is planning three special meetings on housing issues, scheduled as follows:
The meetings will not include Safe/Quality Housing Task Force members except as members of the audience who are invited only to “attend and observe,” according to a city e-mail that is making the rounds.
Count me among the Task Force members, landlords and others who are concerned the lack of public input will leave the administrators’ agenda inadequately challenged. For example, the city has included a $150,000 rental property licensing and inspection contingency in the FY2013 budget that was rejected as a Task Force recommendation yet continues to be pushed by city staff.
Soon the DeKalb city council will be deciding what steps to take, if any, in response to recommendations made by the Safe/Quality Housing Task Force and by its own staff. They include proposals for a “disorderly house” ordinance, issuance of Crime Free Lease addenda, and regulations for the registration, licensing and inspection of rental properties.
As longtime readers know, licensing and inspection of rental properties — and new revenues to pay for them — are dreams that have danced in the heads of city administrators for several years. The question is whether such initiatives would be worth the cost to residents, especially the group living here who’ve been walloped by the economy and made to watch the TIF boondoggle at the same time.
Obviously I’ve been suspicious from the get-go — and not buying the new crop of staff arguments for licensing and inspection, either. Read the rest of this entry
You’ve probably seen this e-mail wherein Mayor Povlsen scolds Mark Charvat for making plans to pack the house during the DeKalb Township Annual Meeting without telling him.
— On Mon, 3/19/12, Povlsen, Kris wrote:
From: Povlsen, Kris
Subject: So much for Transparency
Date: Monday, March 19, 2012, 2:30 PM
Guess this says a lot about your character and walking the talk! You are a hypocrite CITIZEN CHARVAT!
What’s even more hilarious is where the seed for this outburst came from. Read the rest of this entry
Behold my latest puzzle:
The Strategic Financial Evaluation Report by Executive Partners, Inc., known for short as the EPI report, was issued in May 2009. The consultants were called in because DeKalb had found itself in serious financial trouble beginning in late 2007.
The city tends to blame the economy, and it is true that the crash of the housing market and high unemployment have led to declining property and sales tax revenues. It’s also true that DeKalb has advanced spectacularly bad policies over the years — such as those allowing an accumulation of a $29 million liability for post-employment benefits — that will continue to cause pain over and above “the economy” for some time to come. Additionally, DeKalb’s adaptation to new financial realities has proven much less nimble than one might have hoped. Read the rest of this entry
On a tip, I sought and found these signs displayed May 11 at The Copy Service, Dollar Video, Lukulos, and Mason Properties. Information in the lower right corner identifies the business as The Copy Service, part of the local business empire of Alderman Dave Baker.
We know from a previous post that temporary signs in DeKalb require permits. A May 13 request of the city for a list of permits was misunderstood, and a list obtained early last week was incomplete. Finally on Friday arrived a document from which we can fairly confidently ascertain that Alderman Baker did not obtain permits for these signs.
That’s not all. Read the rest of this entry
|Revenue Projection||Actual Revenues||Expenditures||Shortfall|
|FY11||160,000||149,122 (estimate)||167,000||14,711 (estimate)|
Hotel/motel tax revenues used to go into the General Fund, but as of FY2009 were earmarked for an Economic Development Fund (Fund 46). According to the FY2012 budget,
[t]he Economic Development Fund accounts for our agreements with outside agencies that help provide various economic development functions on behalf of the City. These agencies are paid through the Hotel/Motel revenue the City receives.
That’s not entirely true. Read the rest of this entry