Inner ring suburban challenges in dolton, illinois gas 2015


It was no one single thing, but a cascade of events that changed the fortunes of Dolton and its neighbors. The decline of manufacturing led to a loss of job and pay opportunities, which in turn fed a wave of white flight as longtime residents left and were replaced by African-American city dwellers lured by better, yet not too expensive, housing.

But luring new investment to now majority black communities proved a challenge and housing values began to fall, taking down with them the tax revenues needed to keep up public services. Next came widespread foreclosures and an invasion of real estate scavengers who bought houses on the cheap, transforming a community of homeowners with a deep financial stake in their town into one of renters with looser bonds.

The composite property tax rates faced by Dolton homeowners are now more than triple those in Chicago. gas hydrates wiki In 2017, Dolton taxpayers paid nearly $25 for every $100 of assessed valuation of their property, about double what the rate had been prior to the recession. In Chicago, which starts just north of the Dolton village limits, the most recent rate is a little more than $7 for every $100 in assessed valuation.

“Perhaps it makes more sense for a few adjacent suburbs to merge together. They can reduce redundant positions- only one mayor, city council, fire chief, etc. Would those savings be enough to bring financial stability and/or provide sufficient basic services. elektricity club So if 2 towns merge, trade a mayor and 3 city council representatives for 4 new police officers for example.”

Doubtful. The redundant positions and government waste arguments are pretty hollow, and they are of a completely different scale to the actual problem. 5 gases Say you could eliminate 10 very well-paying government positions. If they had $100K annual salaries/benefits, that $1 million would be enough to repave maybe a mile of street each year. Dolton looks like it could have 100 miles of streets, not including all the alleys that are also paved. Then there’s the sidewalks, street lighting, sewers, schools, police, and fire protection to pay for.

Dolton’s annual budget appears to be about $34 million, with some $14 million for public safety (police and fire salaries/benefits). Since those services are based on coverage, generally independent of population density, there’s a greater burden per-household to support those services. They have 35 police officers and 15 full-time paid firefighters. Consolidation is unlikely to yield much in the way of efficiency because the service areas don’t overlap with their neighbors. shale gas in spanish There’s simply too many services and infrastructure expenses to support for the population density and property values. A few council positions are a drop in the bucket compared to the structural imbalance.

@rkcookjr – Agreed. hp gas online booking I grew up in nearby Glenwood and it really saddens me how much the South Suburbs have fared over the past couple of decades. Consolidation doesn’t answer the multitude of problems with declining home values and low commercial activity that combine to cause withering tax bases, which then causes school systems and public services to be underfunded, which then drives even more people to leave (at least those with the means to leave).

Chicago certainly doesn’t have any incentive to annex these suburbs whose fiscal issues make Chicago’s financial liabilities look like a pittance on a per capita basis. Real estate values and commercial taxes are so low in these suburbs that the homeowners that are still left are getting completely hammered percentage-wise on property taxes even beyond the rest of Illinois. Essentially, it’s regressive taxation in its purest form: the homeowners that can least afford it are getting charged the highest property tax rates in the Chicago area.

Two comments. electricity worksheets ks1 First, the phenomenon of the declining inner ring suburbs varies a lot from metro area to metro area. Chicago appears to have similarities to St. Louis and Atlanta. Seems to depend on a number of variables including the size of the central city to the metro area as a whole, the size of the minority population, the degree of segregation, and the degree of fragmentation. electricity word search puzzle These factors are as much at play in fast growth sun belt metros as in slow growth rust belt metros.

I think the problems facing suburbs like Dolton are more challenging in some respects than challenges facing cities like Milwaukee. Milwaukee has some of the same problems of a place like Dolton but also has enormous assets that can be leveraged, and the hope that someday the tax base will grow to the extent that the City has the resources necessary to deal with of the most challenging problems in the poor inner city neighborhoods. A suburb like Dolton is at the mercy of trends occurring throughout the south Chicago area. It has limited resources that can be leveraged or to provide a foundation for long term renewal, even if they had a brilliant plan that was perfectly executed over the next 30 to 40 years.

In 1994 or thereabouts, 1000 Friends of Oregon, the land use watch dog non profit in the state, brought out Myron Orfield of the Twin Cities to talk about how first ring suburbs would be hit in a downward cycle, especially as they dealt with the problems of low-income people displaced from the center city. (He was prophetic). 1000 Friends brought him to town because they were trying to get difference municipalities in the region to provide better transit, especially between low-income populations and the jobs then in the “favored quarters” of the city, in Midwest geography, the Minnetonka’s of the world, where much of the collective investment for the regions has gone for freeway expansion.

Today, 25 years later, more of these jobs have come downtown, but most are for software services, jobs well beyond the skill levels of most low-income people, and the gentrification has only accelerated, particularly as software engineers new to the region moved into turn-of-the-century neighborhoods close to the downtown and filled with parks and street trees. Those unsightly places, in the case of Portland being Milwaukee and Gladstone, have become only more depressed, not only as the spending power of the neighborhoods has gone down, but also as the local stores, once scattered along the old highways and boulevards, have now moved out to the freeways.

I worked this last year with one such municipality here in Puget Sound, which has seen a steady decline in investment and housing values over the last 40 years, particularly along the old state freeway that became redundant when the new freeway came through the area. There each of the major institutions- hospital, college, transit agency, military base, and school district, have learned to live on their own and now operate in silos, under the assumption that if they have to survive they will go it alone. There’s little leadership at the city level, and staff don’t have the skills to know what to do, much less the rewards for doing something different. The state has given the local city over a million dollars to come up with a strategy, but since much fo the money is coming through the state highway department, the result at the end of the day will probably be painted crosswalks and new streetscape that make the drive along the old highway nicer, but do little or nothing for the conditions behind the sidewalk. gas monkey bar and grill We developed a strategy whereby the local city could turn things around by getting the various agencies to work together, essentially “putting a chicken in every pot” for each in return for their implementation of part of the strategy, but there was no leadership within the city to pull the various institutions together. That’s the bottom line for most of these smaller communities: not only do they lack “resources” (money and staff expertise), but, more fundamentally, they lack leadership.