County Budget Proposal Would Cost Us

According to the Daily Chronicle, last night the DeKalb County’s Finance Committee voted to send an FY2011 budget proposal to the full county board that contains cuts to the health department and sheriff’s office — as well as a property tax hike of about 2.4% for the average homeowner.

What’s the deal?

[Deputy County Administrator Gary] Hanson said the 2011 budget will be larger because of the courthouse expansion and installation of a county-wide, fiber-optic network.

“Overall the county budget will be up and it’s those two projects that will drive it,” Hanson said.

Beyond the bass-ackwardness of the budget priorities, what happened to the promises that the courthouse project would not raise our taxes?

2009 Population Estimates

From today’s Chicago Sun-Times comes population estimates for 2009. Click here to discover how the estimates were calculated, and here to make individual searches of cities, counties and other geographical divisions. The (incorporated) City of DeKalb is estimated thusly:

Census 2000 39,018
July 1, 2000 Estimate 39,196
July 1, 2001 Estimate 40,028
July 1, 2002 Estimate 40,807
July 1, 2003 Estimate 42,045
July 1, 2004 Estimate 42,823
July 1, 2005 Estimate 43,411
July 1, 2006 Estimate 44,392
July 1, 2007 Estimate 45,253
July 1, 2008 Estimate 45,444
July 1, 2009 Estimate 45,734

We’ll see.

Landfill Vote

The County Board members who voted “no” to the landfill expansion proposal are: Ken Andersen, Kevin Chambliss, Eileen Dubin, John Gudmundson, Pat LaVigne, Scott Newport, Mark Todd, and Derek Tyson.

The purported environmentalists on the Board who were outed last night as being nothing of the sort are: Julia Fauci, Paul Stoddard, Ruth Ann Tobias and Pat Vary.

The Board members who voted “yes” and are up for election this fall are: Michael Haines, John Hulseberg, Steve Walt, Sally DeFauw, Julia Fauci and Marlene Allen.

Group Urges Postponement of County Landfill Vote So Cortland Twp. Can Weigh In

The following is a (very slightly edited) press release sent by the Stop the Mega-Dump group.

The Stop the Mega-Dump citizens’ group is asking the DeKalb County Board not to turn their backs on the citizens of Cortland again. Citizens of Cortland Township have petitioned the Cortland Township Board of Trustees for a special meeting to vote on a resolution that would prevent any landfill expansion in their township. The special meeting will be held on the evening of Tuesday May 18th, the day before the DeKalb County regularly scheduled board meeting. However, the county has added an earlier meeting of May 10th at 7:30 to vote on the landfill expansion application by Waste Management Inc. Continue reading Group Urges Postponement of County Landfill Vote So Cortland Twp. Can Weigh In

More Mega-Dump News

DeKalb County Online has published two must-read articles on the latest Dump news today.

1) The Stop the Mega-Dump group asked a geologist to comment on the landfill expansion application. Geo-Hydro, Inc. (GHI) evaluated the areas of seismic stability, groundwater, and the monitoring system as laid out in the Waste Management design plan. They have recommendations in each area and in fact are urging the County Board to reject the design until certain corrections have been made.

2) The Mega-Dump was a big topic at the Cortland Township annual meeting last night. One attendee said that three townships have come out against the dump. How’d we miss that?!

Boone County Watchdog

Citybarbs is fixing to say goodbye to the Wogen Watch blog and wouldn’t you know it, here’s another to take its place on the blogroll.

Check out the Boone County Watchdog run by Bill Pysson, who also has an interesting story to tell as a former District 100 School Board candidate. Pysson is prolific, mixing in-depth articles on Boone County government with summaries and links to stories of regional and statewide interest daily.

Boone County is where the idea for the water authority referendum came from, isn’t it? And I believe they have a stake in whether or not DeKalb County expands/builds a jail? We ought to be keeping an eye on them anyway, then. *wink*

Transparency Checklist

It is hardly a piece of cake to be a member of the Sunlight Foundation‘s organization for state and local bloggers known as the Citizens for Open Government (COG) group. I kid you not. The number of e-mail messages can get crazy some days. Most of the group are “transparency professionals,” such as newspaper reporters and paid members of formalized goo-goo institutes, and it’s disappointing not to meet up with other regular josephines. Plus, I don’t have a lot of time for activities that do not produce direct results. I schedule a few hours a week for the cause, just as one handles any other volunteer commitment. When they solicited feedback on a new logo a couple weeks ago, it was a facepalm moment. This week they’re asking for a blogswarm of posts with the theme (roughly) “Why I Treasure Transparency” in honor of something called Sunshine Week and, as a result, I think I feel a tic beginning under my left eye.

Why stick with the COG, then, you ask? Well, beyond the fascination involved in surmising the particular degree of crankiness that would get me booted out, it’s indisputable that the Sunlight people come up with great tools for the amateur activist now and then. Continue reading Transparency Checklist

Two Mayors in the Paper Today

The mayors of DeKalb and Cortland each stood his ground on matters of conscience today in the Northern Star.

–In a letter to the editor, Mayor Povlsen defends his decision to keep applicants to the 3rd and 7th ward alderman positions secret, equating and applying a “code of ethics” he followed as a counselor at Ben Gordon to his current, public responsibilities.

Mayor Seyller frames the landfill as an either-or question — either the county approves the current expansion proposal or we have to truck our garbage out — and he bemoans the opposition’s having “tied kids to it.” Bonus quote: “I don’t know for a fact but I would think that there is another school somewhere on the face of the Earth that is within a mile away from a landfill.”

–What the heck. Let’s throw Pam Verbic in here, too. The new Third Ward alderman answers the Star‘s questions about her new job, noting that she also works full-time elsewhere but not sharing where that “elsewhere” is. If Ms. Verbic still works for Barb City Manor, a property owned by the City of DeKalb and funded by its TIF 2 District, we have a right to know.

A Second Reason to Leave the $45 Million Bond Issue to the Voters

When the airline fuel “order acceptance centers” settled in Sycamore (about 2004 give or take) it effectively doubled the County’s sales tax revenues to $4 million. Now the county will have money coming in from the County Home TIF that the City of DeKalb recently discontinued, and I was just reading in the Chicago Trib (thanks to Kay) that the wind turbines are expected to generate a cool $1.45 million. It’s a fair question to ask — if the current jail is truly a priority, due to life safety issues — why none of these significant jumps in revenues are ever earmarked for the jail expansion but rather just kind of “absorbed” by the budget as by an amoeba.

Future Local Golden Fleece Winner

We need a local Golden Fleece award, to recognize the ultimate in wasteful spending. My vote will be for the Roundabout, after the County Board approves the thing on Annie Glidden and Rich Road. We could have a regular four-way stop, well marked, with solar-powered flashers for under $13K. But, nooooo, the County Board wants to blow over a million dollars on a roundabout. Here are four pictures of a roundabout in Avon, Indiana.

When the Roundabout goes in, at a cost over a million dollars more than necessary to improve traffic safety, it will be my vote for a local Golden Fleece Award.