Sometimes it happens after returning from vacation, or the month after Christmas, or even on a Monday morning after a great weekend of fun. It’s the awareness that too much money was going out without enough in reserve to cover it. You can do it for quite a while with the aid of credit cards, but sooner or later, without a doubt, it catches up to you, and you can’t outrun the inevitable.
That’s where the City of Naperville is now with a $6.8 million budget deficit. Something has to give. We either give up services which we are accustomed to, or we all pay more, or both. That’s what Naperville city officials will be looking at and deciding within a short period of time.
We can’t blame the current city council for Naperville’s deficit, since six of the nine are new in position. They didn’t start the financial fire; it’s been smoldering since 2000. Steve Chirico was elected as council member in 2011, and won election for Mayor in April of this year, though not taking office until May. However current council members Judith Brodhead and Paul Hinterlong have been on the council since 2009, and have participated in six years worth of over spending.
Naperville city manager Doug Krieger also had the opportunity to slow down the spending machine, by assertively encouraging the council to ‘pull it in’, but why should he slow the spending when the dollars were plentiful and spending is fun. What makes his situation even more interesting, is that prior to becoming the city manager, he was Naperville’s finance director. That was another lost opportunity by Krieger. Apparently he never read the book by Allan Cohen and David Bradford, titled “Influence Without Authority”.
Krieger’s quick solution is to “get it (cash) from the residents”. Unfortunately that is now one of the unpleasant options. Cutting services is another distasteful option. Doing both is is a one-two punch to residents and businesses alike.
Depending upon how two-year term council members (Brodhead, Coyne, Gallaher and Krummen) vote, it could determine which if any return for another term. People don’t like paying more and getting less. Council members Judy Brodhead and John Krummen appear to be the most vulnerable to losing their seats at the dais during the next election.
Amazingly, city manager Doug Krieger appears insulated from a pink-slip, but just like the over-extended credit card user, sooner or later, without a doubt, it will catch up to him, and he can’t outrun the inevitable.