A special meeting Monday of the DeKalb City Council and the Financial Advisory Committee is set to examine two Municipal Building remodeling/building options with emphases on police station space needs and improved access for people with disabilities.

The Good
One of the options presented includes a proposal to sell off city property worth $2.2 million to help finance a renovation and addition.

The Bad
We don’t know where the rest of the money will come from. Perhaps some bucks have been “freed up” by the debt restructuring. After paying some employees twice for not working and having the General Fund balance dip to $22,000 recently, it’s uncertain whether they can make a solid case for it, though. Read the rest of this entry

Comments on 4/12 Meeting

I jumped in about 7:30 last night, in the midst of citizens’ comments so the proclamations must have taken a long time! Here’s my assessment of what I saw.

The Bad

The saddest part, of course, was Council’s approval of almost all of ReNew DeKalb’s wish list. With that they closed the door on the possibility of using TIF funding for the badly-needed police station expansion for the next 10 years; an option that, in light of our poor financial position, we should have held onto.

Also, the city left out something important in its repayment calculations. It’s all well and good to ask whether we can repay the $12 million if EAV within the TIF drops another 5% or 10%, but nobody mentioned what the threshold is for real trouble. Why is a 10% drop the arbitrary worst-case scenario? Is it because we’d hit trouble at 11%? 15%? Holy cow, I can’t believe nobody asked. This is a failure of imagination that could really end up biting us.

The Good Read the rest of this entry

One Hundred Fifty-Four

DeKalb City Council members will soon be looking at city-owned real estate, 154 parcels in all, possibly with an eye to selling off some of these assets. But you, Dear CB Reader, do not have to wait for city staff’s compilation to get a sneak peek at the totality. After the jump, I have listed the properties using identifying info found online via the Tax Payment & Assessment Search at dekalbcounty.org. Read the rest of this entry

You May Raise My Taxes When…

Is it wrong to prefer a Council meeting without Wogen and Simpson? I’ve decided there’s no immediate need to get rid of Wogen unless he starts showing up again, or if the 3rd Ward wants the mayor to appoint somebody to the spot. And Simpson can take as much time off as he likes unless the 1st puts up a fuss.

Four hundred ninety-six days and counting

In other news, I’ve decided it’s A-OK with me for Council to raise my taxes — as soon as the following conditions are met: Read the rest of this entry

When people say, “I am not making this up,” as the public works director did last night in explaining the lack of competitive bids for waste pickup, I begin to wonder about the occasions when they don’t say it. You?

*****

Mayor Povlsen is still calling comments he disagrees with “misinformation” based on a continued presumption of residents’ ignorance of Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Here is a challenge. I’ll put together a quiz team of eight citizens from last night’s audience to compete with City Council in an exercise to test TIF knowledge. We could call it the TIF Olympics. Let’s hold it on Halloween — I think the results would be pretty scary from the residents’ point of view, if Mr. Baker’s confession is any indication. Read the rest of this entry

Police Station Letter

An LTE sent to the Chronicle last week made it in today:

To the editor:

During the municipal election campaign I remarked publicly that DeKalb’s Police Facility Advisory Committee (FAC) was not allowed to consider any police station options other than a brand-new station built on the Lincoln Highway commercial site that had already been purchased. Then-alderman and FAC member Donna Gorski took issue with my statement in a letter to the editor. Read the rest of this entry