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Local

DeKalb goal-setting session yields multiple suggestions

Carol Zar (left), former executive director of the Illinois City/County Management Association examines the goals of the DeKalb City Council with 4th Ward Alderman Patrick Fagan during a special DeKalb City Council meeting Wednesday at the DeKalb Public Library.
Carol Zar (left), former executive director of the Illinois City/County Management Association examines the goals of the DeKalb City Council with 4th Ward Alderman Patrick Fagan during a special DeKalb City Council meeting Wednesday at the DeKalb Public Library.

DeKALB – A goal-setting session scheduled Wednesday as part of the fiscal 2019 budget process generated dozens of suggestions from DeKalb City Council members.

The meeting, which was held at the DeKalb Public Library, took an unorthodox format in that council members were seated at one table so they could more easily interact with each other.

In that same vein, DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith said he was planning to hold a special Committee of the Whole on council meeting logistics, covering subjects such as where and when meetings are held, which ones will be audio or video recorded and whether it makes sense to have meetings in places other than the council chambers.

“I’ve found that in many instances, it’s better to get a group around the table like this,” Smith said.

Carol Zar, former executive director of the Illinois City/County Management Association, moderated the meeting and had council members write down all of the things they would like to see executed in the next 12 to 18 months on sticky notes and place them on the meeting room wall.

Ideas then were divided into eight categories: transportation, community special events, city operations, crime, economic development, residential, Northern Illinois University and budget and finance.

Some of the ideas brought up included improved handicapped parking, the feasibility of a year-round farmers market or having one in the Annie Glidden North neighborhood, the installation of security cameras downtown, making the city more business-friendly, not transferring tax increment financing dollars into the general fund and focus on the city’s streets and fleet.

The ideas then were broken down into groups by whether they would be simple or complex to achieve.

“The simple things are those things that you can do with staff without any other involvement by outside groups, consultants or anything else. It’s simple because it can be handled internally,” Zar said. “Complex means you need to work with others: governmental bodies, other nonprofits, other consultants or whoever.”

This information now will be compiled to help determine what directions should be taken in fiscal 2019 budget talks.

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