It’s that time of the year again, when Naperville city department heads present their requests for capital expenditures to the Naperville city council. The process is very similar to kids standing in line waiting to tell Santa Claus what they want; not what they need but what they want.
This was the year that Santa was going to tell the kids, that needs are more important than wants, and it was time to get real and stop borrowing more and more, creating more and more debt.
That’s the song and dance that city officials gave to residents as they imposed a first time ever city sales tax, increased the fee for garbage pick-up by 617%, and are ready to slap a huge increase on electric rates to the residents and businesses of Naperville.
City officials vowed to cut expenses, thereby focusing on debt reduction, and replenishing cash reserves. The only noticeable cost-cutting measure is the elimination of bottled drinking water for council members during council meetings. However it was noticed at the last city council meeting, that councilwoman Patty Gustin had what appeared to be a bottle of water directly in front of her. Even that cut in expense didn’t last long.
The Naperville city council is addicted to borrowing, and then borrowing more and more. Spend to borrow, then borrow more to spend. More than 20% of the capital requests don’t have a funding source. The council says, no problem; we’ll borrow money and let somebody else worry about the future.
Only one council member, John Krummen, stood up for fiscal restraint, but ultimately was out-voted 8 to 1 by the other council members. Watch and listen to councilman Krummen as he speaks as a minority of one on the council, but part of the likely majority of Naperville residents:
Immediately afterwards, Mayor Steve Chirico disagreed with Krummen:
Later, councilman Krummen again attempts to make his point relating to his personal situation of needs versus wants, which is undoubtedly something that voters can relate to:
The debate refreshed councilman Kevin Gallaher’s memory when he follows-up with where are the cuts in expenses:
The Naperville city council was presented with three options: 1) borrow a little, 2) borrow more, or 3) borrow a lot more. Why was there not a fourth option of borrowing nothing for this year, and focusing totally on debt reduction and replenishment of capital reserves.
Councilman Krummen gave it one last shot with the same thought in mind:
This coming Tuesday night, the Naperville city council will vote to increase the burden of additional debt on the shoulders of current residents and those yet to be born. When it comes to fiscal restraint, spending and borrowing, every day is Christmas for the Naperville city council.