DeKalb’s housing rehab program is seriously underperforming

Last night, City of DeKalb held a public hearing and approved an annual budget for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). CDBD is a federal program administered by HUD that helps ensure viable communities, particularly in the area of decent and affordable housing for low- to moderate-income residents. The general public did not participate in…

Noreiko worries about frozen pipes, just not yours

I’m still digesting the DeKalb city council’s goal-setting session from earlier this week. The alderman from the Fifth Ward, Kate Noreiko, was pushing to build a new DeKalb Municipal Building instead of renovating the one we have. She says she thinks it’s unsafe, though she provided no foundation for this belief. Part of Noreiko’s argument…

A fresh look at “old” financial advice for DeKalb

At a recent budget meeting, DeKalb city manager Anne Marie Gaura (AMG) stated that she references the “EPI reports” frequently in financial planning. Because the city’s finance advisory committee might likewise like to revisit EPI findings when it (the committee) reconvenes in 2018, I’d like to introduce EPI to our newer readers (and help refresh…

Raise local fuel taxes? There are other moves DeKalb should make first

Does a drive around DeKalb feel like you’re continually crossing rough train tracks even where there aren’t any? Guess why. The above are actual expenditures for street maintenance. Shown are total expenditures from two primary sources for maintenance, the motor fuel tax (MFT) revenues that are shared with us by the state on a per…

DeKalb’s failure to fund capital projects looks familiar

Mulling over our current the lack of funding of capital projects and fleet needs, I ended up deciding to contrast the spending from three different time periods, as expressed by transfers (or in the case of 2018, expected transfers) out of the General Fund into the Capital Projects and Fleet funds. I’ve also placed rough…

More Reasons to Put the Brakes on the STEAM Center Project

Several of DeKalb’s city council members balked at making financial or other commitments to the STEAM center project until they have in hand a thorough analysis of its most important source of funding, the soon-to-be-retired Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts. Even the most worthy projects are subject to resource limitations, so a peek into the…

This Election, Let’s Discuss Remedial Action for DeKalb

The Chronicle has published a letter to the editor that caught my eye. It’s about local candidates and their positions on the issues. The words that they use may change, but the rhetoric is the same. The writer goes on to list the same old, same old: DeKalb-NIU relations, easing of the tax burden, and…

“Conversation with an Engineer” by Strong Towns

The following is a production of StrongTowns.org. Advisory: Note: Strong Towns is not responsible for any mental duress resulting from repeated watching of this video. We are also not responsible for angry reactions from planners and engineers confronted with the illogic of their world view. If watching as part of a group, we recommend having…