I Got My Water Bill Today

Dear City of DeKalb,

I would be OK with your raising my water bill $80 this year if it were going toward something water-related like paying Water Division personnel, replacing water mains or painting towers. Instead, I know much (if not all) of the increase is going — as $500,000 from Water already goes annually — to the General Fund for nonessential stuff you still insist on giving yourselves, such as magazine subscriptions, car allowances, and reimbursed “business” lunches in Opportunity/Innovation Central.

Blood. Turnip. Just sayin’. The borscht train is about to run off the track.

(Yeah, I know: mixed veggies. Long day. I’ll try to do better with the property tax bill.)

Voluntary Separation

The agenda packet for Monday’s special City Council meeting to discuss the Voluntary Separation Program (VSP) is missing a few things:

1) An analysis of how much this program could cost us. Surely the city must know how many of its employees are eligible, since only those with 20 or more full years of continuous service qualify. There must be a memo or some other backup material to show why this is such a good plan. To withhold it is either careless or naughty.

2) Some mention of where the money for the VSP would come from.

3) A provision for how long a separated employee must remain separated from the city. Otherwise, we could end up with some pretty interesting scenarios, and I mean “interesting” in the sense that we wouldn’t care for them.

Freshly published in the Daily Chronicle:

To the Editor:

During the March 8 DeKalb City Council meeting, 4th Ward Alderman Brendon Gallagher made a plea to the community for support during the upcoming budget preparation period. According to the meeting minutes, Ald. Gallagher “asked that the citizens be empathetic with the current financial situation facing the City. He stated that Council has delayed raising taxes, and are faced with a deficit and harsh realities.”

To my mind, most of the “harsh realities” are borne by DeKalb taxpayers whose city government still lives in 2005 when it comes to prioritizing spending.

I also question the ways this unit of government chooses to demonstrate empathy and support of its residents.

Allow me to illustrate. Read the rest of this entry

Your TIF Dollars at Work

cafe2
Michael “Max” Maxwell sent CB a few snapshots of two of the new outdoor cafes. Thanks, Max! Read the rest of this entry

This month’s Expenditures of Distinction are brought to you by the August 24 agenda packet except for one expenditure from July 27.

Expenditures of Distinction — Disdain Division

$353 for Blackberries for I&T (p. 99)
$17,000 to Re:New DeKalb (p. 154) in administrative fees for two Architectural Improvement projects Read the rest of this entry

The check register in the latest City Council agenda packet has inspired nominations for the first Monthly Expenditures of Distinction Award.

Expenditures of Distinction — Disdain Division

  • $48.60 for Yards of Distinction award covers (p. 73)
  • $584.00 for Yards of Distinction signs and frames (p. 79)
  • YoD is a very strong contender. Not only is the expense itself a breathtaking extension of city government’s middle finger to struggling families, it has already cost more than Genoa’s skating rink.

    Expenditures of Distinction — Hall of Shame Division Read the rest of this entry