Council Watch, January 25 Meetings

Committee of the Whole meeting agenda includes a discussion of establishing a line of credit (PDF p. 3).

Staff contacted eight banks located in DeKalb about submitting their terms and rates for a $2.5M line of credit for the City. We have received four quotes, of which Castle Bank had the lowest fixed rate at 4.95%, while Fifth Third Bank had the lowest variable rate at 1.75% + .25% of any unused principal. This line of credit will be necessary to maintain City operations while revenues continue to decline.

Um, no, I think rather the idea is to maintain cash flow for operations while the city is waiting for revenues to come in, not to make up for declining revenues. The wording here is a little troubling.

Where’s that debt policy?!

Regular Meeting (PDF p. 28):

Installing a new Third Ward alderman: There are at least two fully engaged, conflict-free residents of the Third Ward who are willing to serve. Instead, the mayor has selected a person who, if approved by Council, will come in under a cloud of conflicts of interest. By the way, why the secrecy about Pam Verbic’s involvement with Barb City Manor?

The mayor is also wrong not to release the names of the other Third Warders whom he interviewed for the job. Confidentiality is one thing, anonymity quite another. I wish the Chronicle staff all the best in pursuing the identities of these other candidates. Fortunately for them, the new Freedom of Information Act rules are in effect, so appeals now go straight to the AG’s Public Access Office. I figure the only way we won’t get the names in the end is if there aren’t any.

CDBG 5-Year Plan, public hearing: It’s a shame they won’t try to go after other federal monies for the flood plain home buyouts and put more CDBG funding aside for housing rehab and a bit for employment training, childcare help, and loans to small businesses.

More Citizens Community Enhancement Commission fun (p. 48): CCEC switched from Yards of Distinction awards to Lights of Distinction over the holidays and actually awarded the First Ward alderman. This is not supposed to be about your little club, guys. On an even more hilarious note:

Chairman Matya addressed the Minutes of the September meeting which he said were accurate. He stated that he hasn’t set up a meeting with the Chronicle staff. He added if there is to be a meeting, it should be held with all official media groups that provide information to the citizens of DeKalb. The purpose of a meeting would be to discuss ways in which accurate City information can be Citizens’ Community Enhancement Commission Meeting disbursed to keep the citizens informed; it is not to eliminate blogging…Mr. Barnes stated no statement has been made about squashing comments, but getting another opinion out there.

If any of the CCEC members had quashed or denounced the idea to threaten to put pressure on Chronicle advertisers, I might believe them.

Ms. Tate asked if the Commission would consider an open forum and invite the community to attend. This would be a way, she said, for the community to understand what the Commission does. Mr. Matya added the Commission could summarize what has been done, and what is planned for the future, and have an open forum for additional ideas. Mr. Barnes stated that getting actual attendance at these forums is difficult.

Yes, it is true about poor attendance. Top-down organizations can’t attract bottoms-up crowds. The bottoms know it is a futile exercise.

If CCEC really wants to engage the community and turn around DeKalb’s image, it should get busy advocating on behalf of the aforementioned CDBG ideas.

December Expenditures of Distinction (p. 65): Spread across several funds, DeKalb paid about $20,000 for outside legal services last month even though the city has a Legal Services Department of 4.2 staff and an annual budget of nearly $473,000 (PDF p. 55).

Daley Policy Group was paid $30,000 for five months of “airport services.” City staff like to point out that Daley sometimes gets us money for roads and stuff but I think it’s been awhile. I like to point out that airport grants are famously easy to get. Let’s look at this from another perspective, shall we? As in: DUDES. $3 MILLION REVENUE SHORTFALL. BUDGET DEFICITS. MORATORIUM ON LAND ACQUISITION. STAT. Send Daley out for something we don’t have to match and that we all can use.