EPI is Back

*Post corrected May 21*

Executive Partners, Inc. (EPI) was hired four years ago to help put the City of DeKalb on a more sustainable path financially.

The fix didn’t take, so they’re back. EPI met with city officials at an April 13 special meeting.

Mr. Nuehring stated he will discuss opportunities for revenues. He noted that there are approximately 375 fines and fees and enforcement can be a challenge. He added that a full review of all may be necessary. The question was asked of staff yesterday, he said, if fines and fees are viewed as revenue or used for public safety and compliance. Staff stated they are meant for public safety and compliance. Mayor Povlsen agreed.

DeKalb’s personnel expenses are going up $1 million in FY2014, but most of its core revenues are slipping. Property taxes are still flat, city sales tax has been reduced more than $100,000 in the past year and the utility tax revenue estimate for FY2013 is $320,000 less than the year before. Are we really supposed to believe the timings of the new rental housing registration program, towing/impounding regulations and steep increases in fines are coincidental and not responses to continuing revenue shrinkage?

The April workshop was used to consider EPI’s latest report and recommendations, which include a proposal to privatize DeKalb’s water utility to create a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) program (see more detailed correction here). The consultants are also recommending DeKalb centralize purchasing — which I thought we already did following the 2009 report, since we hired a finance/purchasing director and assistant finance/purchasing director thereafter; in a reasonable world there’d be some explaining to do.

Possibly EPI’s most important message is that DeKalb still needs to pick up the knack for long-range thinking and planning.

I’ve only described a fraction of the report. It is not yet available at the city’s website because it’s only a draft at this point (so is the FY2014 budget, but whatever) and will be finalized after further discussion between Executive Partners and DeKalb officials. I’ve obtained a PDF copy. The file exceeds the WordPress size limit for posting, but I’d be glad to send it to you via email. Request it by using the form below.

The report plus the meeting minutes will get you up to speed in no time.

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