If you really want to understand how government works, all you have to do is watch and listen to Naperville city manager Doug Krieger.
It doesn’t matter what the issue is. If it involves money (and doesn’t everything) the answer is always the same; extract it from residents and taxpayers. It’s the simple solution. It doesn’t take any thought or creativity by city officials. They discuss the issue (problem), they then say why they don’t like the answer (taking it from residents), they then vote on it, it’s approved, then adjourn the meeting, and its off to a downtown pub to celebrate. It happens over and over again.
There are numerous issues the Naperville city council is facing including what to do with the old Nichols Library building, what to do with the Carillon and Moser Tower, what to do with lawsuits piling up at the doorstep, what to do with the 5th Avenue Development Project (Watchdog’s next posting), and what to do with the financial hole the City of Naperville finds itself in again.
Each time after extracting more money from taxpayers, city officials say their plan is working so residents should feel good, everything is under control, and all is good. Just keep moving on folks, there’s nothing to see here.
The current financial problem:
Money needs to be extracted from taxpayers to fund a $2 million increase in city contributions to the public safety pension program and to provide $2 million annually for road maintenance improvement so our roads can be kept in the same pristine condition they are in today. Additionally money is needed for personnel and health care increases.
The proposed solution by the City of Naperville’s Financial Advisory Board (FAB) as presented by the city’s finance director, Rachel Mayer:
Double the home rules sales tax and eliminate the $2 million property tax abatement which was approved last year. The municipal sales tax is currently .5% which was due to ‘sunset’ (stop) this year. The ‘solution’ is to not only keep the .5% tax, but to double it to 1%.
When city officials pushed through the .5% municipal sales tax last year, they tried to appease residents with a $2 million property tax abatement (reduction), knowing that would lessen resident push-back for the sales tax. Taxpayers reluctantly bought into the falsehood, the Naperville city council voted for the sales tax, and off they went to their favorite pub to celebrate another victory over residents.
Some council members, including mayor Chirico and councilman Kevin Coyne would like to see more of an effort to find ‘efficiencies’ (cost cutting measures) before reaching for the simple and quick solution of raising taxes. However two council members does not make a majority.
When the city council gets done bloviating at the dais, residents and taxpayers will again be on the hook to bail out city officials proving again that city manager Doug Krieger is correct.
Another person who truly understands Krieger and other city officials is Jean-Baptiste Colbert, French politician, (1619 – 1683) when he said, “The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to get the most feathers with least hissing.”