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.
It’s long been established policy of elected officials to promise fiscal restraint once tax increases to pay for past extravagancies are imposed. There has never been nor will there ever be a government or its agencies who will not grow, expand and spend beyond their current levels. It is the nature of the beast.
The only solution is and will always be to cut the legs off the beast and keep working upwards until it is slain. Annual zero based budgeting is the only solution to this problem combined with a clear understanding of what government’s role in society is.
It is not to be all things to all people but rather provide base line services primarily of safety and security. Mature, adult citizens are expected to have free choice and spend THEIR money as they see fit not as politicians act to steal it from them and make their decisions for them.
Actually, the Total Primary Government Debt of Naperville is $168,939,429 or 2.48% of our citizen’s personal income, or $1,156.11 per capita (family of four $4,624.44) This does not include the unfunded pension debt. Naperville’s share of Debt for other local government is $428,163,163.00 and does not include unfunded pension debt.
The Electric Company owes our water utility over $13M, the city’s cash reserves are depleted, the Council voted a 617% increase in garbage fees, soon a 7% increase in electric rates and a .5% sales tax.
The Council may be spending like it’s Christmas but the bills always come due in January. Illinois is on the road to bankruptcy and Naperville continues to follow along like morons.
Excellent perspective on the huge problem and our cities fiscal irresponsibility both past and present. Unfortunately, although we have eyes to see and brains to understand graft and corruption (aka uncontrolled spending) will always win out over common sense when it comes to politicians. Kudos to John Krummen for at least trying.
I was standing in line at Anderson’s this morning. A woman ahead of me was discussing her astonishment at the number of children in Naperville living in poverty (13.4% of District 203 live in low-income households.) Retired Naperville citizens received ZERO percent cost of living increase in their Social Security checks. Yet this Council raised the garbage fees over 600% and Electric soon to be raised 7%. Then they are tacking on another .5% sales tax for clothing, shoes and many other essentials. Our home assessment went up this year, which will mean even higher property taxes. Instead of paying off the debt, selling the nearly bankrupt Electric Company and cutting the deficit spending Council wants to borrow even more money! This is insanity. How many Council members run their own households in such a irresponsible manner? Do Council members, who find themselves spending more than they earn go out and open yet another VISA to solve their financial problems? Why would they over do the same for this great community? The financial wolf is at our door, and they are oblivious to the damage they are doing to our children, elderly and young families.
Chicago style government in Naperville