Dollars and Sense                   by Fred J. Paul

 City’s Debt Burden Significantly Reduced

Steady progress has been made in reducing the City’s debt burden. As of December 31, 2010, the total obligation of the city for principal and interest stood at $53,585,684.00. As of December 31, 2017, this debt burden will be $22,627,361, a reduction of 64% in 7 years. The balance of this indebtedness is scheduled to be retired by 2031.

The City of Northlake has a long standing practice of passing balanced budgets and to not incur long term debt to pay for short term operating expenses. The practice of such borrowing to pay current expenses is a slippery slope that is difficult to get out of as you are spending currently for expenses that future generations will need to pay for. This practice is what has placed the largest city and school system in the state in its current difficult position.

The City of Northlake’s debt was made up of the TIF districts and long term infrastructure projects that will be in use for 50 to 100 years, such as water mains, the police station and other critical infrastructure needs that will not only serve current residents, but will continue to serve future generations.

The last of the city’s TIF districts will be concluded this year. TIF (Tax Increment Financing) is a useful redevelopment tool if used prudently. This has proven true in the case of the City of Northlake as the various TIF districts made the large retail areas possible which generate substantial sales tax revenue for the City and now that they are all closed out, will generate more real estate tax revenue for school and other taxing districts than those districts would have received if the areas were not redeveloped.

The City of Northlake is committed to maintaining a stable financial footing not only for today’s residents, but also for tomorrow’s.

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