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posted: 9/30/2012 4:40 AM

Say no to more debt in St. Charles

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The city council of St. Charles has created significant financial problems. The city's debt has risen from $46 million to $136 million in 10 years. Of this debt, $46 million has gone to private, not public, developments such as the failed First Street redevelopment project.

In this time of economic hardship the city has been spending $800,000 a year to build the Red Gate Bridge to nowhere. Now the city is issuing $6.6 million in bonds to finish the project.

Because of the $136 million in debt, the city has budgeted deficits for years to come; $725,000 in FY12/13 and $2,269,000 in FY15/16. You might think that sales tax receipts can help, but the city council is giving much of the sales tax receipts back to businesses. The city has long-term sales tax rebate agreements with St. Charles Chrysler Dodge Jeep, St. Charles Auto (a Toyota dealer), Fox Valley Buick-GMC, Steiner Electric and Sears. And $16 million of Costco sales taxes are going to pay for the bonds whose proceeds were used to subsidize the Costco facility.

The city has been raiding reserve funds in order to keep from raising taxes. This can only go on a few years and puts the city in a still weaker financial condition.

The city council members usually vote in unison, so they all need to be replaced. If you want to help, please come forward. Maybe you can even run for office. We need council members who can say no.

Gene Kalley

St. Charles

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