Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic

If Naperville was a corporation, and the city council was the board of directors, the corporation would be heading towards bankruptcy, and the board of directors would be replaced. It’s amazing how much time and effort is spent by the Naperville city council on minutia and how little time, and effort is invested in addressing major financial and leadership issues.

The city of Naperville is swimming in debt and the water level is quickly rising. In an effort to improve Naperville’s financial woes the city council is considering doubling pet license fees and hiking parking fines to help offset, in part, their ordinance authorizing a delegated sale of general obligation bonds for an amount not to exceed $19 million of which $6 million is directed towards the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative fiasco. The actions and decisions of the Naperville city council would be comparable to the crew of the Titanic rearranging the deck chairs prior to sinking. Rather than pulling the plug on needless expense (NSGI fiasco), they are taking on more water ($19 milllion)

The Naperville city council’s logic is tilted sideways. For example, City Manager Doug Krieger recommends the parking fines be increased because in fiscal year 2011 parking fines are projected to bring in $262,000, which exceeds the $355,000 spent annually on Community Service Officers who write the tickets. Does it ever cross their minds that rather than increasing fines to meet the expense, they could reduce the expense by eliminating community service officers and related department expenses that are incurred? The Naperville city council’s first thought is to take dollars from the citizens of Naperville, rather exercising their fiduciary responsibility and cutting expense.

The Naperville city council’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases that Ronald Reagan quoted about government in 1986,

“If it moves tax it (Naperville citizens).

If it keeps moving, regulate it. (Naperville business)

If it stops moving, subsidize it.” (SECA)

As Civil Libertarian P.J. O’Rourke said, ‘Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys” Giving more money to the Naperville city council in the form of higher taxes and fines, and giving power to the Naperville city council in the form of the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative fiasco is not a sustainable solution to the council’s mis-management.

It’s time for members of the city council to join councilman Doug Krause by stepping up to the challenge of demonstrating courage and supporting the citizens of Naperville. While councilmen Fieseler and Miller, along with Mayor Pradel are rearranging deck chairs, there is still a chance for the majority of the council to join councilman Doug Krause and steer the ship in the right direction.

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