Tax, Spend and Undercut
The longer I sat and listened at the May 10 DeKalb City Council meeting, the more I wished I'd stayed home. It was a long, tortuous display of politics as usual.
I had actually been formally invited to come to the meeting, as a member of the Growth Summit committee, and to speak to the Council. Item number eight on the agenda was a consideration to add "ten points of consensus agreement" of Growth Summit members to the DeKalb Comprehensive Plan.
The fact of the matter is that only 1/3 of the participants in the Growth Summit turned in their survey. How can there be points of consensus agreement when 2/3 of the committee did not turn in their surveys? But the Comprehensive Plan will be modified to include unrealistic goals and mechanisms to further inflate housing costs.
Also on the agenda was consideration for an intergovernmental agreement between the City of DeKalb and the County of DeKalb for a continuation of the shared sales tax increase passed last year by the City Council. The Mayor and City Council had promised to review the tax increase in two or three years with an eye towards repealing the increase. It took less than a year for them to make it permanent.
Tax and spend.
But the worst was saved for last. New city manager, Mark Biernacki, made a bold proposal to reorganize city staff and privatize some of the city engineering services. His proposal would have saved taxpayers more than $200,000 per year in wages and who knows how many new truck purchases over the years.
The City Council commended Biernacki for making such a bold proposal and then proceeded to rip the guts out of it on a motion made by alderman James Barr.
Sitting directly in front of me at the council meeting was former city manager, Jim Connors. Directly to my right was former mayor Bessie Chronopolous.
Every time Mark Biernacki spoke, or an alderman spoke favorably to Biernacki, Connors would grumble his displeasure. Every time current mayor, Greg Sparrow, spoke or received support, Chronopolous would grumble.
The city has enough problems without former employees and former elected officials working to undercut the current administration. And it was embarrassing for me to sit there and witness their lack of professionalism.
Where's fresh blood when you need it?