Aug 052015
 

Has anyone noticed that Naperville city manager, Doug Krieger, has all but disappeared during city council meetings. Whether he has decided to keep his foot out of his mouth by not talking as much, or he was encouraged to do so by the new administration is up for debate; either way it has been refreshing.

Krieger couldn’t blend into the woodwork when he was the lead participant in the recent workshop meeting. The workshop focused on a financial update regarding the city budget. Naperville city Finance Director, Rachel Mayer did a commendable job of presenting the state of financial affairs in Naperville, with what was supposed to be support from city manager Doug Krieger. However, in Krieger’s typical style, rather than clarifying he obfuscated.

The previous, well-seasoned, city council including Doug Krause, Bob Fieseler, Joe McElroy and Grant Wehrli would occasionally ‘call Krieger out’ for trying to bamboozle the council with non-sense. Most members of the current city council, other than council members Gallagher and Coyne, are allowing Krieger to skate without challenging him to be more clear and forthright.

Some things are so blatant, that they are screaming for someone to question “what’s going on with that”. Take a look at the following pie chart showing where budget dollars are being spent,, and see if you notice anything that seems out of balance:

Who didn’t notice the huge piece of pie that reflects 42% being spent on electric.

Now watch and listen to city manager Doug Krieger as he states that the city owned ‘electric utility provides a lot of electric’, as if it was something he should receive a standing ovation for:

Here is where it gets even better, when Krieger states, the utility “financially needs some fixing”, a hole was dug, and “the way you fix holes, is with more cash, the way you get more cash is from the rate payers” (residents and businesses). So Naperville’s highly paid city manager’s solution, for his terrible decision-making (long term electric contract), is to squeeze it out of the very people already affected by high electric rates.

Krieger is going for the ‘easy fix’ rather applying some creativity and sacrifice suggested by councilman Paul Hinterlong in the following clip:

The City of Naperville has a $6.8 million deficit, or about $50 person. Rather than jacking up the electric rates, adding a city sales tax, and slapping residents with a 617% increase in garbage pick-up, how about we all chip in $50 each and require city manger Doug Krieger to toss in a percentage of his salary to cover the deficit. Krieger can then go back to saying less at meetings, and making far fewer bad decisions that cost the City and residents more than they should have to pay.

  10 Responses to “Krieger Digs Hole, Wants Residents To Fill It With Cash”

  1. Put the electric company and the IMEA contract as a bundle up for sale to some company who knows how to run a cost effective utility. Naperville as a city does not have the talent, experience, expertise or council oversight much less a city manager who can do anything but double our electric cost through mismanagement, citizen abuse and counter productive policies and program. The core question should be are we an electric company or a city? The same is true about golf courses, ambulance services, SECA funds, bell towers, children’s museums etc. A city’s primary function should be citizen protection, reasonable order through codes and laws not competing with free market enterprises.

    • It’s all about power,we need to realize that they are smarter than us. Look at DC and Springfield

      • Government agencies (our city funds) should be treated as parasitic diseases impacting and negatively effecting the health and well being of the city as a whole. They feed and grow ever bigger spinning off babies while financially jeopardizing their very life blood the tax payers. Just as our state has 8,000 taxing agencies our city has at least twice as many as they need, maybe more, which serve no purpose but to house political hacks while disguising and obfuscating real costs from the citizens.

    • The problem with electrical costs stems form IMEA cost over runs for a new power generating facility. There was a lengthy discussion of this issue at a council meeting last year and how to make IMEA more accountable. As to what is and is not a city governments duties, that is defined in the city charter. The only “ambulances service” run by the city is the Fire Department Paramedic program, this service has become standard for every Fire Department in this country. The city of Naperville does not own or operate any golf courses. The Children’s Museum is an independent privately funded organization that gets most of it funding from government grants (fed, state, county) and is permitted to request city funding like any other such organization, but is not guaranteed any city funds. And your statement about SECA clearly indicate you know little if anything about the history of this organization, how it came into existence, how it is funded and how it serve the citizens of Naperville.

      • Jim your a true big government spender who believes in his heart that elitist like you know how best to spend other peoples money and resourses. The national, state and local arguments raging throughout our country was and is socialism versus free market capitalism and individual versus collectivism. The city’s charter is a reflection of these attitudes and the power structures who put these people (by their freeze out or support) into these positions. To dismiss out of hand other peoples knowledge about the history of the cities government or its evolution is condescending in the extreme. Speak for yourself and or your knowledge or lack thereof on these subjects.

        • First there is not, nor has there every existed free market capitalism, it is a theoretical model (like communism) that can not survive in the face of real world dynamics. As to individualism versus collectivism you made that decision when you moved to Naperville. If your were truly committed to individualism you would be living in a county rural area, but instead you have chosen to live in a city./municipal community (collective) and enjoy the amenities and benefits this collective provides its individual members. You just do not want to accept the responsibility of being a member of this collective (accepting majority decision/rule, paying for amenities/benefits you do not utilize, abide by rules that limit your choices but provide for safety/security of community).

          As to knowledge of the city, nothing in your reply revels any understanding of Naperville city government or its history. Despite my providing you an opportunity to show my ignorance of such things you chose instead to dismiss my claims out of hand by calling me condescending and extreme. The fact is the only point were I made reference to a lack of knowledge was in respect to the SECA fund and associated committee. I did this because your posted did not indicate any real familiarity with this subject and filling in all your blanks would make for a length post but since you insist here goes:

          First there is nothing being done now by the city with SECA that it had not been doing for decade before SECA was created (supporting Last Fling, Ribfest, Oktoberfest, Naper settlement, Riverwalk, the events and amenities springing from the efforts of Naperville’s large, supportive Volunteer community). During the 2002 and 2003 budget discussions the funding of the city’s support of these events and amenities was discussed. It was difficult to determine just how much was being spent by the city in this area because the funds were coming from multiple departmental budgets (police, fire, public works, city admin). Further since each of these departments have different funding sources (in addition taxes thru the general fund) there was no clear line of funding.

          The city held many meeting with representatives from the volunteer organizations in the community, staff and council members. It was decided the best way to improve transparency and actually establish some spending limit for the city on these events was to establish a new organization to oversee and recommend city funding in this area. The food and beverage tax was instituted to provide a clear funding source and an application & review process was established to provide transparency on how these funds were dispersed & spent. As the city grew, so did the revenue supporting SECA and concern that spending was becoming extravagant since the funding was so abundant was raised. This is when a review of SECA was conducted and some new guidelines on how the funds were to be spent as well as limits on spending were establish.

          The city council has always controlled how all city funds are spent including SECA (SECA committee recommends funding but council authorizes the funding). The council set a limit of $2 million for funding events and amenities and guidelines for how any funds generate over this are to be spent (presently this surplus is being spent to pay down city debt and reach full funding of the police and fire pensions).

          The above does leave out details of how SECA operates. Anyone interested in learning more about SECA need only spend sometime reviewing documents posted on the Naperville city website. Or you could apply with the city to be appointed to the SECA committee. If that request is not approved then you can go to whatever community volunteer organization you belong to and ask to be made their representative on this committee. Finally the SECA meetings are open to the public and you are welcome to attend and participate if you want. But be carefully, doing any of these recommendations could jeopardize your individualism and risk your participating in collectivism rather then sitting on the sidelines bitching about it.

          • Using your own convoluted logic if 50% of SECA funds come from non-residents that is taxation without representation. Taxing one segment of society to redistribute their wealth to people or organization you folks feel deserve it is socialism. Things like bell towers, museums, forts etc. were never part of our city’s charter nor are they legitimate city endeavors. I’ve lived in this city for 38 years and seen it grow from reasonable government providing basic safety and amenities into a behemoth consuming more and more wealth through ever increasing taxation, permit and inspection fees, red light cameras, unconstitutional road blocks, license requirements, crazy sustained community expenditures like smart meters, grass to oil conversion plants, electric car charging station etc. all to feed the beast.

            There is such a thing as free market capitalism which defined is government getting out of businesses which directly compete with the free market, don’t advantage one business over a competitor or start-up and not giving incentives to one or passing laws preventing entry from another.

            The reason free market capitalism barely survives is because people like you feel the need and believe you have the right to steal from the sheeple and redistribute the money to people and organizations that meet your needs and not theirs. On the positive side the sheared sheep are awakening and their anger will continue to be felt at election time. This country will not abide by the socialist or fascist models proffered by statist or big government goons and thugs.

          • SECA is, as I have already stated several times, funded by a Food & Beverage Tax, which is a sales tax. There will always be a percentage of any sales tax that come from people outside of a community who chose to shop within another community. The percentage of these people will depend on how attractive the goods & services provided by that community are to people outside of the community. In Naperville’s case, attractive enough for an estimated 50% of this sale tax revenue to come from non-residents. Put in words you can understand but not necessary agree with, these individuals find the benefit of using Naperville’s good & service beneficial enough to not care about taxation representation (if they did they would confine their shopping to their own community were they have such representation).

            The City funds the following amenities Riverwalk (SECA), Naper Settlement(General Fund), Safety Town(General Fund) and the Carillon (General Fund). The only one of these that makes your list regularly is the Carillon, which came into city possession by default. The private organization founded to collect funds, design, build and maintain the Carillon had gotten a loan from the city of $1million. When this organization went bankrupt the city, as its only creditor, took possession of its only asset, the Carillon. Not the best of situations, but it was never the intention of the city to ended up owning and maintaining this amenity.

            All the items you listed in the last sentence of your first paragraph are normal city functions being done by cities all over this country. Admittedly not all of these were normal functions of city government when the US Constitution was written, since then our society has evolved, meaning its needs have evolved and government must evolve with the society it represents to meet those needs. And example of this is the sustainability issue. A lots of cities in the US are pursuing these same goals because of the increasing cost of operations unsustainable systems. It is the responsibility of government to not only meet the present needs of it residents but to do it in a ways that makes meeting their future needs as cost effective as possible.

            Yes the city’s budget has grow, but not any faster then it’s population and housing. In the real world when a city grows it needs to build infrastructure to support that grow (more power lines, increase power supply, more roads, wider road, more traffic control and safety equipment, more sewer lines, increased sewer treatment capacity, better storm water systems, etc). This “behemoth” is the product of the increased desirability of living in Naperville, driven by having the quality and quantity of benefits and amenities people are looking for in their community available in our city, which comes from quality city leadership. This can, unfortunately, result in a community out growing some of it’s resident and leaving them feeling betrayed.

            Something you have failed to mention about the “behemoth consuming more and more wealth” is that over the last 5 years this “behemoth” has lowered property taxes by 5%. This during a time when every other taxing body in the area has been increasing property taxes (school district 15% increase, park district max allow by law each year without ballot referendum), while still maintain existing benefits and amenities at a level residents want.

            As to the illusion of free market capitalism, experts in capitalism and respected business leaders all agree that some government regulation of the market is needed to keep corruption (like trying to monopolize a market) in check. This corruption is driven by greed along with another aspect of human nature, the belief it is OK to exploit and manipulate people you see as inferior. Some markets have very limited resource that make them natural monopolies. By definition a free market system (open competition) can not exist were any monopoly exist. This is the reason free market capitalism exists only in theory and has never existed in the real world (and I challenge you to provide even one example of a community were it has).

          • It’s obvious your ideal existence is under a nanny state type of environment, regulating citizens from cradle to grave by know it all overseers who contest referendums, refuse to implement actual votes, use city money and attorneys to persecute and prosecute political opponents. This was not what our country’s founders envisioned nor what is contained in our Constitution with its Bill of Rights. This debate is going nowhere and you as well as I are entitled to our own opinions. Mine is life, liberty and pursuit of happiness without overbearing taxation and regulations by some group of political elitists.

          • Yes, we are both entitled to our opinions, but my posts contained more then opinions, accusations and speculations, they contained detailed verifiable facts. The political process in Naperville is easy to become a part of if one wishes to, and those that have chosen to are not elitists, simply citizens concerned enough to get involved (strength of character to put their time and resources were their mouths are). Trying to marginalize their efforts by calling them names will not change this reality.

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