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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Nov 09

An interview with Traci Lemay, Fire Department Administrative Analyst

Posted to City Spotlight by Chris Jackson

DeKalb is a great place to live, work, and play. The "City Spotlight" series is a new effort to highlight the people who work to make DeKalb great.For our fifth installment, we spoke with Traci Lemay, who is the Fire Department's Administrative Analyst
Lemay, Traci
Q: What is one reason you are #ProudlyDekalb?

A: DeKalb has many of the amenities of a larger city (public transportation, entertainment venues, sporting events, etc.) but is able to maintain a small town community atmosphere.

Q.If you were sent to live on a space station for three months and only allowed to bring three personal items with you, what would they be? 

A: I would bring my laptop, sewing machine, and guitar. My laptop because I could read books, watch movies and TV shows, listen to music, work on genealogy, and video chat with people back on Earth; my sewing machine to make quilts; and my guitar to play.
 space guitar 

Q: If you had a time machine that would work only once, what point in the future or in history would you visit? 

A: I would visit 1840 Caldwell/Crittenden County Kentucky. I am stuck on a few of the genealogical lines from my dad’s side of the family and would be able to talk to them and ask them the questions to which I can’t find answers.

Q: What is your favorite line from a film or television show? 

A: Either  “People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference.” from The American President" or “Hold that hog leg” from McClintock

Q: If money were no object, how would you spend your birthday?

A:  At the spa in the Hershey Hotel in Hershey Pennsylvania having a chocolate escape treatment

tumblr chocolate fountains

Q: Describe your outlook on life in six words

A: Live well, laugh often, love much!

Q: What is your favorite way to spend time off from work? 

A: With family and friends; trapshooting; or alone time reading, quilting, or working on genealogy.

Q: What is one of your favorite places to eat in DeKalb and why? 

A: Twins Tavern for their pot roast sandwich.

twin tavern 

you Traci for taking the time to answer our questions!

Ellen Lindgren
Apr 14

How do I stay up to date with the Boards, Committees, and Commissions?

Posted to How to: City of DeKalb by City of DeKalb

With the combination of Boards, Committees, and Commissions (BCCs) that are included within the City of DeKalb it can sometimes be difficult to keep up to date on specific meetings and members. This post will review the different website functions that will help you stay informed on everything B/C/C related.

The fastest way to access meetings and agendas is to click on the “Meetings & Agendas” button which is found on the front page (pictured below).

meetings and agendas button

The Agenda Center (pictured below) lets you search agendas and minutes by time period, start date / end date, particular phrases and even by specific boards and commissions. You can even find information dating back to 2012!  This is the easiest tool to use when trying to locate specific meeting agendas or minutes.

agenda center

Another useful tool that is helpful for knowing the dates of specific meetings is the City Calendar. Below is a picture of where you can find it on the front page.

events button

Within the City Calendar you can not only look at specific months, but you can choose what calendar you want to look at. You can select all calendars, or you can choose a more niche calendar depending on what you are looking for. You can also click on a specific date on the calendar to see what events are occurring. If you don’t know what category the meeting you are interested falls under, you can search for it within the search bar.

city calender

Utilizing and becoming familiar with both of these two tools will help you stay informed on the variety of Boards, Committees, and Commissions within the City.

May 08

Food Trucks

Posted to Just the Facts by Ray Munch

The Daily Chronicle recently ran a story on April 29, 2018, entitled “Food truck blockade:  Mobile eateries might be out less this season, owner says.”  This front page story has generated some interest and public comment on the topic of food trucks and their role in the community, as well as questions regarding the current food truck regulations.

1.         The City had not been contacted by Ms. Veronica Garcia-Martinez, food truck owner quoted in the story, and thus did not have an opportunity to assist her in her ventures by advising her about a provision in the code that allows for a fee waiver.

The owner quoted in the story expresses concerns that the City’s food truck regulations are business unfriendly in that the fees associated with food truck licenses are believed to be too high.  Unfortunately, she never contacted the City to discuss that concern.  Had she done so, staff could have discussed with her specific sections of the City Code that authorize the Mayor to waive or reduce fees associated with food truck licensure where they present a hardship to a business owner or other interested licensee.  Specifically, the existing code provides as follows:

Any person who feels that such cost of licensing and investigation would work a hardship may appeal such cost to the Mayor. The Mayor may make a determination upon examination of the appellant's financial records or on such other information as he feels necessary. Upon finding such a hardship exists, the Mayor may reduce or waive such licensing and investigative costs. Any waiving or reduction of costs, however, will not affect the obligation to register.
Click here for a link to Chapter 33 of the Municipal Code

City staff will reach out to this owner and work to address any concerns she may have with operating in the City, just as the City does with any similar issue.

2.         The City was not contacted by the writer for any comment on the Daily Chronicle Story. 

Had the City been contacted for comment, relevant information could have been provided to the newspaper to help ensure that the article included important facts (such as the fee waiver or reduction provisions in City Code).  The City is available to local media for any inquiries on topics of interest to the public; no request for comment was made here.

3.         The City’s Food Truck Code was adopted unanimously by the City Council in 2013 and has been in effect since that date without significant issue.

The City Council evaluated the need for food truck licensure in 2013 and determined that this ordinance (and the fee structure) was appropriate, by a unanimous vote.  It has remained in effect for five years.

4.         Staff is presently working on a number of ‘beta tests’ for updates to City Code, to evaluate different ways to reduce the scope of regulations while still protecting public safety.

In 2017, the Rotary Club conducted their Trucktober food truck event and expressed some concerns about the rigors of the event and food truck permitting for a temporary event of that nature.  After that event, City staff has been working diligently with the Rotary to streamline the process for their anticipated 2018 event.  Staff is also working on a number of other public events for 2018 that consider new approaches to public service of alcohol and related public regulations.  Those events will be presented to the City Council for consideration of changes to the code. Based on lessons learned from these events, staff will recommend updates to City Code prior to the 2019 event season.  These processes were all underway prior to the Chronicle story.  This measured approach should provide the City Council with objective data from which it can direct changes to the City’s ordinances.

5.         The City is always looking for ways to improve operations and be business friendly while doing so in a way that does not jeopardize public safety.

Certainly, it would be less expensive and simpler for food trucks to operate without any licensure or inspection.  The same could be said of nearly every other form of licenses issued by the City or by other units of government.  However, the reason that license and inspection requirements exist is to protect public safety.

Where a business owner or resident has a concern about a specific regulation, the City is always willing to listen to that concern and evaluate ways to update City Code—or, as described above, to advise of existing provisions in City Code that may address the concern.