It’s budget time in Naperville, which means it’s crunch time for the Naperville city council which means it’s time for residents to get crunched by city officials.
Naperville city manager, Doug Krieger, said Naperville has dug a financial hole, and the way to fill the hole is with cash, and the way to get cash is from Naperville residents and businesses. It always seems to be the same formula for government officials; squeeze it from the very people who did not dig the hole.
Watch and listen to Naperville mayor Steve Chirico, as he clearly states the challenge:
The City of Naperville currently finds itself with a $1.8 million budget deficit. This comes after city officials approved a first-time ever city sales tax, and raised the cost of trash pick-up by 617%. So what is the Naperville city council to do about this? Watch and listen as councilman Paul Hinterlong raises that question during the last council meeting:
One suggestion is to squeeze it out of groups wanting to use meeting rooms at the city municipal center. This would make it more difficult for individuals and groups wanting to help other individuals and groups, by charging them a fee to use the ‘peoples house’. At best that would bring in up to $38,000, and most likely far less, towards the $1.8 million deficit, which would be like trying to fill a crater on the moon with a couple of bags of sand.
The Naperville city council did make a huge effort to reduce expense by eliminating drinking water at the dais during meetings. At Costco’s current price for bottled water, that should save the city about $26.40 over the year. This definitely shows that council members are willing to sacrifice for the cause.
What the city council needs is some creative thinking for revenue and expense. Watch and listen to councilwoman Rebecca Obarski as she expresses this thought:
Considering that eliminating council-member drinking water during meetings is the best the council can do creatively thus far, and considering council members want to charge a fee for meeting rooms at the municipal center, and considering council members should lead by example, here is a short list of possible revenue sources:
- charge each council member $10 per seat at the dais for each council meeting.
- sell advertising space in front of each council member’s seat at the dais.
- sell advertising for a personal-injury attorney to be placed on each city owned ambulance.
- rent out office space for council members at the municipal center for $500 per month each.
- sell “Cops” TV show advertising space on each police vehicle, and replace sirens with theme song “Whatcha gonna do when they come for you, bad boy”.
- sell Tabasco advertising space on each fire department vehicle.
- issue each council member with a ‘NASCAR-like’ fire proof suit covered with local business advertising logos, for use during council meetings and special events.
The list of possibilities is endless.
I did speak at the last council meeting on the issue of charging groups to use these two meeting rooms. It is my belief that the decision last night to do this is an outrage. There were several speakers and a several comments by members of council on charging to use these two meeting rooms, but when it came time for the vote the Mayor quietly change the proposed policy to include all meeting rooms at all city facilities. I am not sure how much increased revenue this will generate by including all such rooms but it can not be taken seriously as a effort to address the 1.8 million ton elephant at city hall.