Too often bloggers complain a lot but offer little in the way of solutions. Not me. Here are my proposed budget amendments for FY2016 City of DeKalb.
Mission: To provide excellent service efficiently and eliminate the $450,000 operating deficit as defined by Tom Teresinski, City of DeKalb Finance Advisory Committee. To increase revenue for city coffers through the growth of sales and service in the City of DeKalb. To not increase taxes or fees at a time when doing so is punitive to the residents living here.
Budget Amendment One: Restore the City Clerk position to its full duties and responsibilities prior to Steve Kapitan taking office and resigning. Revenue neutral, best practice solution.
Revenue Source: Fund transfers. Transfer one full time employee and the existing funds to cover those costs from the City Manager’s budget. 2) Transfer $60,000 from the Legal Dept.’s budget currently used to cover FOIA responsibilities. Assign the City Clerk with the title and responsibilities of FOIA Officer. The Office of City Clerk would work directly with the DeKalb County States Attorney and the Illinois Attorney General PAC offices to maintain compliance with FOIA and OMA.
Impact: DeKalb will soon be seen as a friendly town among those searching for investment opportunities. Local residents and business operators will be provided with immediate relief from alleged red tape and contentious communication with the city. FOIA and OMA will be treated with respect for its spirit and intent as opposed to a nuisance assigned to an attorney to get around. Trust would become possible again.
Financial Considerations: The funding would be revenue neutral as it would simply come from transfers from the City Manager and Legal Dept funds.
Budget Amendment Two: Regionalize DeKalb Taylor-Municipal Airport on a voluntary basis. Get more people involved and therefore a broader spectrum of ideas for adding value in the airport services for users and taxpayers alike.
Revenue Source: A membership organization with structure similar to the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation would be formed with membership dues devoted to administration costs, user fees devoted to maintenance and fundraising along with state and federal grants used for projects,
Impact: Users of DCTMA services will increase if as stakeholders they’re given more input on the services provided. Retailers, industry and institutions will perceive more value from the airport if the are actively pursued to get involved.
Financial Considerations: Aggressive pursuit of a voluntary regionalized airport organization could reduce or eliminate the $200,000 operating deficit proposed in the FY2016 budget.
Final Analysis: The euphoria created by the city council’s recognition and respect of the voters wishes — who three times have voted to keep the office elected — by full restoration of the Office of City Clerk and the excitement of regionalizing the airport without yet another tax created would restore confidence in the City’s direction and become a catalyst in boosting sales and services. Investment in DeKalb would become a favorable discussion again.
The airport deficit would be reduced and combined with increased revenue from growth the $450,000 shortfall eliminated.