It’s been said that one person with courage and perseverance makes a majority, however this was not the case in Tuesday’s Naperville city council meeting when councilman Doug Krause was out voted by a margin of 8 to 1 on the issue of authorizing the city manager to recruit externally and fill one vacant transportation project manager and a public information coordinator.
Naperville Finance Director Karen DeAngelis forecast that the municipal deficit will approach $700,000 for the 2011/2012 year, and could reach $26 million by the year 2016. This is diametrically opposed to Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger’s comment that he is “confident” the 2012 fiscal year budget will be balanced. Somebody has this one wrong. If this were a horse race, I would put my money on the finance director that she has it right.
This is serious folks. These are not idle words; they are solemn words of warning. Yet the Naperville city council repeatedly appears to ignore the ominous ‘iceberg’ that lies ahead.
Some may argue that the council is composed of optimists or romanticists thinking that things will be OK in the near future. Maybe the Naperville city slogan should be “What could possibly go wrong” though I am not sure that would parallel their ‘oath’ to practice fiduciary responsibility. Maybe that’s the problem; eight of the Naperville city council members think they are practicing, while one (Councilman Doug Kruase) knows this is the real thing. This is not dress rehearsal, this is show time. It’s time to turn the wheel to avoid the iceberg and continue to cut expenses when and where they can.
To make the situation even more dire is the fact that state officials are talking about reducing or eliminating the local share of state income tax revenue it collects and shares with local municipalities including Naperville. Leaders from municipalities throughout Illinois have been to Springfield to voice their opposition and lobby for their cities to receive their fare share of those funds. When we contacted the mayor’s office to see what Naperville has done to ‘fight’ for those dollars, the answer was ‘we sent a letter’. Are you kidding me, the City of Naperville spent 44 cents and sent a letter. I suppose that’s an example of being expense conscious, but that’s like the owners of the Titanic not spending a couple of bucks for a set of binoculars.
Councilman Krause has it right. Watch and listen to his comment regarding his quest and awareness for cutting expense.
Newly elected Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel presented a four-point litmus test to the Chicago city council regarding the city budget and expense.
- Can we afford it?
- Is it worth it?
- Do we need it?
- Can we do it better?
Councilman Krause gets it. Maybe the other eight members of the Naperville city council need to either listen to their big city brother 35 miles to the east of Naperville or listen to Councilman Krause a few seats to the right of Mayor Pradel.