DeKALB – The city of DeKalb will spend $1 million in tax increment financing funds to resurface eight city streets this year, but officials want to look at other ways to fund more street repairs.
During Monday’s DeKalb City Council meeting, aldermen discussed this year’s street maintenance program, which is funded entirely by TIF funds. Because of the funding, those street repairs are limited to the city’s two TIF districts, one located south of Lincoln Highway, stopping at Taylor Street. The other district encompasses areas between Sycamore Road and Lincoln Highway.
City Engineer John Laskowski explained only 24 percent of the city’s streets are in the two TIF districts, but on average these streets receive 84 percent of the funding. Further fueling the need to look at alternative funding sources, the city’s TIF districts will expire in 2018 and 2020.
“We should be searching for another way to fund street maintenance or we won’t have a lot of means,” Laskowski said after the meeting. “I think its very important that, come budget time, we look at other avenues.”
Aldermen echoed Laskowski’s sense of urgency to look at ways to fund road repairs outside of the two TIF districts.
“In my opinion, it’s a very serious consideration we need to start giving more funding, someway, somehow, come up with some plan to attack some of these streets out here,” 5th Ward Alderman Ron Naylor said.
When asked about what other ways the city could fund street maintenance, City Manager Anne Marie Gaura declined to specify what kind of funding is available in light of looming budget discussions.
In the meantime, alderman agreed to move forward with repairs to the eight street being paid for by TIF funds. The total amount projected for the repairs falls $78,000 higher than the $1 million – $500,000 for each TIF district – budgeted for street repairs.
“We’re asking you to consider these streets because we’re optimistic the bids will come in low,” Laskowski said, adding if the bids did not come in at or under budget, the plans would be adjusted.
The city also will use $40,600 from the local local gas tax to repair an alley from Wood Street to Bush Street in between Glidden and Ellwood, as well as spend $15,000 in motor fuel tax to study the subsurfaces of streets outside the TIF districts.