A Closer Look at DeKalb Per Capita Debt

This table was part of Friday’s long post, but deserves some attention of its own.

[table id=34 /]

You can find the breakdown of the FY2010 overlapping debt in this document, on p. 153.

FY2010 ended June 30, 2010. Let’s look at some of the GO bond issues since that date:

DeKalb County: $16,000,000, 10/14/2010

School District 428: $38,001,359.50, 8/4/2010

City of DeKalb: $9,320,000, 12/01/2010

City of DeKalb: $550,000, 10/5/2010

I haven’t looked at Kish College issues, nor at retired debt, so I can’t say how much translates into added per capita gross bonded debt for FY2011. I will say that some of my extreme ballpark, back-of-napkin scribbles place something approaching $1000 onto the total per capita figure. Is that so surprising? We were promised several hundred new homes every year to help us pay for the new schools.

It’s not over, either. In FY2012, the city will issue bonds to pay for the new police station and remodeling/upgrades to the Municipal Building. If we’re extremely unlucky, they’ll start an expansion of DeKalb Public Library. Taxes will continue to rise and, if the burden is one of the factors chasing people from our town, we could enter a vicious cycle.

On Friday, I was asked in an interview what I think DeKalb’s biggest problem is right now. I said it is depopulation, because nobody in local government knows how to switch gears to fit the reality of flat or falling revenues. The mantra of city staff during our time of tremendous expansion was, “Grow or die.” Now we’re finding out it may be a slow and horrible death by a thousand bond issues.