Big increase, big questions

Is this a way of building up our downtrodden schools and making repairs or is it a way simply of making DeKalb a place to live for more wealthy individuals?

This is only one question that needs to be asked with regards to the 300-percent rise in impact fees proposed and passed into consideration Monday night at the DeKalb City Council meeting.

In Thursday’s issue of the Northern Star, this issue was placed on the front page and for good reason. How is this going to affect low-income residents looking to move in the area?

As stated in the article, “The consideration proposed for current impact fees on a four bedroom home to be increased from $4,800 to $18,330.” That is a huge sum of money; a massive change for those struggling to get by.

The hike in fees would change the funds provided to schools and municipalities, as well as people choosing to reside in the city. This seems like a plan to gentrify the population.

If low-income families that struggle to make payments move to our ever-growing city, how will a 300-percent hike impact them? Where will this take them? In one word: out.

This hike will help schools and likely improve the city. More money equals more possibility to spend, which also means more new or improved things for the this city. Yay! Where’s the confetti?

What it also means, however, is there likely will be a forced exodus from the city by many lower-income residents.

As stated in the same Star article, 7th Ward Alderman James Barr said, “The idea that an owner of a $200,000 home would pay the same as a $450,000 home concerns me.”

Is DeKalb ready to move to a town with only upper-middle-class citizens?

The social status implications of these new impact fees should leave many to wonder, where are we taking DeKalb?

Will the comfortable back-home feel of social and financial diversity be leaving DeKalb for the generic, manufactured feel of any other suburb?

There is an enormous amount of questions that need to be answered before a massive increase in impact fees can be administered, and the concerns of one alderman show there is a likelyhood they will at least be asked.

We at the Star see a need for these questions to be raised and the need for the people of DeKalb to be ready to fight for the feelings and comforts the sweet City of DeKalb may be in line to forfeit.

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