4th Street TIF? Not on Your Life

Chronicle: “Fourth Street plans continue at monthly meetings”:

[Brian] Scholle, an insurance agent whose office is on South Fourth Street, is spearheading the initiative to redevelop South Fourth Street, which he stressed will require a lot of patience.

“South Fourth Street has to be the next area that’s on the city’s radar,” Scholle said.

Creating a tax increment financing [TIF] district would be a necessary step, Scholle said, especially if the vision includes fixing infrastructure problems and blighted building facades.

Let’s start with the City of DeKalb’s meeting calendar for November. You see an Economic Development Committee (EDC) meeting posted there? How about October? Me neither. So much for upholding the spirit of the Open Meetings Act.

Econ Dev is another of those city committees, like the Citizens Community Enhancement Commission (CCEC), that pretty much does whatever the heck it wants. As far back as I could find online agendas, which was about two years (this was before the latest city website update), EDC has not turned in meeting minutes to be approved by Council. It’s also nigh near impossible to figure out when they are actually going to meet, not just because the meetings aren’t properly posted but also because they change frequency a lot — down to twice per year at times — even though EDC is supposed to have regular, ongoing responsibilities.

As for starting another TIF: Are they crazy?! There is NO WAY the residents of this town can support another TIF. There is NO WAY residents can afford to pay more to the Park District, Library District, Sanitary District, etc., to make up for the giant TIF flexi-straw. Do they not understand the unemployment and foreclosure rates down here? Do they not understand the profound and deserved notoriety of the downtown slush fund TIF?

Start with better code enforcement and a few more trees; we already have the resources for that. And if the 4th Street businesses want to, let them petition to start an SSA.

Next meeting: December 8, 3 p.m., Council Chambers.