Did They Lie about How They Spent TIF?


City of DeKalb budgeted $1 million for street reconstruction out of its FY2016 Central Area TIF District 1 budget, but actually spent less than $75,000 that year for all street work in the district, even though one official budget document indicates much more spending than that.

Here are the facts:

FY2016 Adopted TIF 1 Budget:
Street improvements/maintenance budgeted: 0
Street construction/reconstruction budgeted: $1,000,000

What the FY2016.5* budget for TIF 1 says about the FY2016 TIF 1 budget:
Street improvements/maintenance budgeted: $570,000
Street improvements/maintenance estimation of spending: $31,684
Street construction/reconstruction budgeted: 0
Street construction/reconstruction estimation of spending: $1,000,000
List of “2016 Strategic Accomplishments” says: “Funded street improvements in the amount of $600,000.”

What the FY2017 budget says about the FY2016 TIF 1 budget:
Street improvements/maintenance, actual amount spent: $36,329
Street construction/reconstruction, actual amount spent: $38,587

The FY2016 TIF Annual Report, as reported to the Illinois Comptroller’s Office, agrees with the FY2017 budget report of actual spending.

They talked up the $1,000,000 a lot during budget time, because streets are a named strategic priority. And then in the FY2016.5 budget, they made it look like they spent $600,000 when actually less than $75,000 was spent. Is this a lie, or “just” a colossal error?

I have submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the budget changes that year, to see if they at least followed the procedures for making budget amendments.

At any rate, if the reallocation upsets you, please consider attending the TIF Annual Joint Review Board meeting, and let them know how you feel.

Find the budgets here if you’d like to see for yourself. The line items you are looking for end in the numbers 8632 and 8633.

And be careful who you vote for.

*FY2016.5 was the six-month budget that ran from July 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016 so DeKalb could synchronize its fiscal year with the calendar year. FY2017 began January 1.