Water is the new TIF

This is second of a series. First one is here. For years, DeKalb bailed out its general operating budget with tax increment financing (TIF) funds. TIF administrative fees helped soften the blows following the 2008 market crashes and assisted the hiring spree after that. Now the enormous “TIF 1” district is gone, replaced by the…

DeKalb Township reports it’s inundated with FOIA requests

I’ve finished another section of video from last week’s regular meeting of DeKalb Township. This time, I watched the board moan its way through the latest report of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The township supervisor says they’re spending so much time responding to requests, there’s a possibility the township may have to hire…

Documents continue to suggest housing authority’s pattern of partiality toward its IT vendor

In June, the DeKalb Park District approved a contract with Sundog IT, the company owned by DeKalb’s mayor, Cohen Barnes. We opposed the deal for reasons of conflicts of interests, but the district did run a request for proposal (RFP) bidding process and the buck did stop with the park district board, as one would…

Eliminating Zoom option for city meetings is a terribly backwards thing to do

The Daily Chronicle reports that City of DeKalb is eliminating the remote public participation option for meetings because Illinois is entering Phase 4 of its reopening. First victim is Human Relations Commission, which during its last meeting enjoyed remote participation via the Zoom application by nearly 90 people. Since the meeting tonight also will not…

Charging the Water Fund for salaries in other departments is a masterpiece of nontransparency

*Note: “Departments” as used in this article should be read as shorthand for “departments, divisions, and offices.”* Take a look at this budget from DeKalb’s Finance Division: Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, it’s not. It does not show all the wages the Finance employees get paid. This is a budget that accounts only for the…

New Illinois Law for Local Gov Audits Is Doing the Trick

Here’s a new state law we can all get behind: Public Act 098-0738, which requires certain disclosures pertaining to city and county audits. Introduced by Rep. Tom Demmer, the law went into effect this month. Here’s another version with the deets. Of particular interest to me is the now-required sharing of the auditors’ letters to…

Documents: College Town Partners NFP

For all of NIU’s having publicly “backed away” from a partnership for redevelopment with City of DeKalb et al last spring, it seems the institution had already secretly created a “charity” with a local developer and a banker in December 2013 for similar purposes. The documents were Tweeted to me. @citybarb60115 @DC_Editor yes they are,…

DeKalb Taxpayers: Ready to Pony Up for a New Convention Center?

In July 2013, the city council of DeKalb approved the DeKalb City Center plan, an update of the 2007 Downtown Revitalization Plan. One of the key components of the plan is: Leverage TIF to study the feasibility of and potentially promote the development of additional City Center traffic generators, such as a hotel/conference center, children’s…

Latest on the College Town Partners FOIA Matter

Let’s start with a summary of events. — The group now known as Preserve Our Neighborhoods (PON) was formed last spring in response to concerns that residents were not being included in DeKalb-NIU redevelopment plans that would directly affect them. — Misty Haji-Sheikh of PON received unsigned documents from an anonymous sender regarding a corporation…