November 25 Council Agenda


The city has put up another meeting agenda for tomorrow that’s a revision of the original, so all you early birds will have to read the new one. However, keep the old one handy because they didn’t include the rest of the packet with the revision.


Item 1: Another hit to the Public Safety Building Fund.

I. Summary:
With the Police Department having effected a move to the new Police Station on West Lincoln Highway, an unanticipated need has arisen for additional communications equipment to ensure officer and public safety within the Building.

II. Background:
The new police station was designed for a high degree of security, with extensive use of steel, concrete and concrete block. The qualities of those materials that make them strong and durable also make them resistant to radio wave transmission. In short, the design and construction of the building hampers the ability of police officers to utilize their two-way mobile radios when within the building, or to hear radio traffic and respond to public safety emergencies or request assistance when within the building.

The solution to this issue is to install a bi-directional antenna system within the building that will permit direct communications with officers. The cost of this system exceeds $20,000; however, it is an urgent public safety issue that requires an immediate response and the equipment required is from a sole-source provider that has been working on the balance of the radio communication system. For both of these reasons, staff requests that the Council waive competitive bidding and award a contract to Dixon Ottawa in an aggregate amount not to exceed $25,000.

How much did the first communications system cost? Can we get our money back? Could this problem have been anticipated? How many more errors will it take to annihilate the budget?

Item 2: Final approval of S. 4th Street TIF.

The South Fourth Street TIF feasibility study was reviewed by the Joint Review Board (JRB) at three meetings in June/July 2013 where it received a positive recommendation for approval. A copy of the JRB report is included with the backup. The public hearing for the proposed South Fourth Street TIF district was held on August 12, 2013 at the Regular City Council meeting. TIF statute requires that the Ordinance to approve the TIF district must be introduced to the City Council within 90 days of the public hearing date. This item was first
considered by City Council at their October 28, 2013 Regular Meeting. Staff is recommending to postpone approval of the TIF to the January 28, 2014 Regular Meeting to allow time to continue negotiations with the School District.

My emphasis above. The “positive recommendation” for approval means that the majority of the Joint Review Board doesn’t care about how this would hurt the school district, which rejected the plan. Good going, JRB! And, there’s not much to negotiate. This TIF would run in the red its whole life and never generate a penny of surplus for the operations of the schools. The only possible plum the city could offer would be to sink whatever the TIF generates into capital improvements of the school properties within the district: its admin building and Huntley Middle School. The neighborhood residents and businesses would really appreciate that, I’m sure.

Item 3: P.R.I.D.E Awards’ incestuousness.

Used to be we’d look for otherwise unrecognized residents and businesses to celebrate. Nowadays the city’s Environmental Commission can’t seem to find the gumption to look beyond the usual suspects for outstanding conservationists. This year’s winners include Cindy Capek, former executive director of DeKalb Park District who attended Enviro Commission meetings during her tenure, and the DeKalb District 428 for — I kid you not — “proactive decisions in the planning and construction of the DeKalb High School” that included energy conservation measures.

This completely ignores the fact that the biggest energy conservation measure of all is to resist the temptation to sprawl, and to make due with the smallest footprint you can, which doesn’t apply to DHS in any way.

Don’t worry about Capek, by the way. LinkedIn tells me she has landed a nice administrative job with DeKalb Health Department since her possibly-pressured resignation from the Park District. I would never have guessed that a person with a work history spent in parks would have the ideal resume for a new career in public health, but what do I know.