Council approves NIU agreement


Mike Mudge, consultant for Rock River Energy Services, Co., discusses DeKalb County residents seeking third-party energy suppliers at the city council meeting Monday night.

By Joe Palmer

The DeKalb City Council voted unanimously in favor of an agreement between the city and NIU’s Board of Trustees in a meeting Monday.

The agreement would allow DeKalb City Manager Mark Biernacki to enter into an agreement to begin work on the DeKalb Housing Information Project. This project is headed by the NIU Center for Governmental Studies, and plans to inventory all the housing stock available in the city and create a shared database as a reference for both parties.

“I support this plan, because I think it’s a great way to collect data,” said DeKalb Mayor Kris Povlsen. “Data drives knowledge, and knowledge drives good decisions.”

The council also voted to approve pay changes to city officials and funding for a DeKalb documentary.

DeKalb’s mayor will now receive $22,500 a year and will no longer receive health insurance benefits. Aldermen and women positions will receive $5,400 per year, which 2nd Ward Alderman Tom Teresinski said was a fair amount.

“It’s a hair higher than our comparable communities, but it is certainly not out of the ballpark,” Teresinski said.

The changes will take effect in May 2013

Both votes passed the council 7-0. The council also passed an ordinance to lower the salary of the city clerk to $5,000 a year, with which some officials disagreed.

“I would like to at least have $9,000 a year for the position,” said 3nd Ward Alderwoman Kristen Lash. “That would match comparable city clerk positions in other cities.”

The council also voted 7-0 in support of authorizing City Manager Mark Biernacki to contribute $20,000 to Feyt Productions for the funding of Wired, The DeKalb Documentary. The film will be produced by the company that recently put together a documentary on the history of Sycamore. Biernacki said the documentary would be a strong asset to the city.

“This contribution is consistent with other city marketing events,” Biernacki said. “It’s a great opportunity to show the history of DeKalb to potential developers and businesses.”

The documentary is already in the early stages of development and producer Shela Lahey said she was excited about the project.

“This will be an endless resource for the city towards promotion.” Lahey said. “The entire production crew for the film is from and based in DeKalb county, which is fantastic.”

The council also heard from several citizens regarding the location of a planned DeKalb police station.

“We are not against building a new station,” said Derrick Smith, advisor to the Black Student Union. “We are opposed to only the location of the building.”

Another comment regarding problems in DeKalb came from former NIU undergraduate student Kevin Chambliss.

“One of the reasons you have such high crimes in DeKalb is because the people don’t trust you,” Chambliss said. “They don’t trust their government.”

Fourth Ward Alderman Brendon Gallagher responded to comments which claimed DeKalb residents were not involved in the planning of the new station in his closing remarks.

“This has been in planning since at least 2002,” Gallagher said. “The information is out there, and there is no reason why anyone would not be informed of this process.”