Overtime comprised most of DeKalb PD’s excessive spending over budgeted amounts for FY2014, but another major culprit was spending in the “Commodities” category that came to roughly twice as much as the $260,000 budgeted.

Commodities were clearly under-budgeted in 7 of 10 accounts in that category and in a couple cases downright unrealistically. For example, actual costs for gas, oil and antifreeze for that department came in a bit over $117,000 for FY2013, yet PD budgeted only $95,000 for the same item the following year.

What’s going on? My guess is that the decision to return expenses from off-budget accounts back into the department’s budget accounts was an unexpected development.

Fortunately, spending for general government was lower than budgeted and this partially offset the excessive spending on public safety, leaving the city at a mere $347,773 over its General Fund budget for the year.

Resources:

City of DeKalb FY2015 Budget

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2014

Auditor’s Letter to Management (see p. 6 of the PDF)

City of DeKalb’s Downloads Page (Look under the Finance heading for annual budgets and CAFRs)

Airport Operating Deficits

The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for FY2014 is out. So far the document is only accessible as part of the December 8 council meeting agenda, but at some point will probably appear on the city’s downloads page under the Finance title.

Let’s stick a toe in by first visiting the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport (DTMA) annual operating deficits:

FY2006: $467,332
FY2007: $720,557
FY2008: $645,131
FY2009: $778,324
FY2010: $524,272
FY2011: $681,713
FY2012: $413,576
FY2013: $491,217
FY2014: $491,997

The city has to make up for the deficits using tax money that would otherwise go to general operations.

Thoughts:

DTMA took on fuel sales a couple years ago, and all of its hangar space is rented out (PDF p. 143). I do not know whether the city has recently compared rental rates with other airports, but if not that might be a good next step to ensure that taxpayers aren’t subsidizing operations any more than they have to.

DeKalb city staff have come up with a proposal to raise the city’s property tax levy by 10%. Daily Chronicle reports that the council gave initial approval on Monday.

Here’s how the city is presenting the recommendation:

City staff want to move away from the current practice of using the general fund to pay for pension obligations property tax revenues don’t cover. Finance Director Cathy Haley explained property taxes currently fully fund police and fire pension obligations and 97 percent of Social Security and Medicare costs. But only 26 percent of the city’s costs for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund comes from property taxes, leaving the general fund to cover more than $720,000.

A 10 percent increase would bring in an additional $495,000, fully fund Social Security and phase in fully funding IMRF obligations through property taxes, Haley said.

Council will furthermore consider the recommended hike in a joint meeting with the Financial Advisory Committee tonight.

The most important thing to understand is that the discussion is not just about setting the levy for the upcoming tax year, but about committing to a significant policy change in how the city chooses to fund its pensions — possibly for years to come. Read the rest of this entry

From the Daily Chronicle today comes “DeKalb aldermen confront budgeting issues.”

During their Monday discussion of the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, DeKalb aldermen were told the city will need to cut services or boost revenue in order to maintain operations in the coming years.

Beginning July 1, alderman were told, the city should shift its structure and look at the way the general fund is used.

“The main thing is the current structure of how everything is put together is not sustainable,” City Manager Anne Marie Gaura said. “Something has to change and that will require policy decisions in the coming months and coming years on how to address this long-term.”

Gee, where have I heard this before? Read the rest of this entry

First, let’s update our pension percentage-funded chart with the FY2013 numbers. These are from Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs).

dyerware.com


City of DeKalb is quick to tout its balanced budgets and its growing “reserves.” But if DeKalb is doing so well, why isn’t it making up the pension-funding ground it lost during the past two recessions? Read the rest of this entry

A Peek at DeKalb’s Assets

Today we examine City of DeKalb’s assets, more specifically the relationship between capital assets and net assets in recent years, which have become an area of concern for me.

I’ve developed three charts containing year-over-year data from the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) submitted (as AFRs) to the Office of the Illinois Comptroller. The latest CAFR, for fiscal year 2013 ending July 31, was released in December.

All three track the net assets and capital assets, but I’ve shortened the time span in successive charts so we can spot both long- and short-term trends. They cover only governmental activities, not business/enterprise (water, airport) nor fiduciary (pension) activities.

dyerware.com


Read the rest of this entry

As in the last post, I’ve gathered year-over-year information using City of DeKalb’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) as reported to the Illinois Comptroller.

All governments have to do CAFRs and we ordinary citizens are supposed to be able to understand them. As a layperson I try to figure out why and how the numbers vary year to year, and over time this tactic teaches me. CAFRs also provide details on debt and other long-term liabilities.

Let’s start with an updated chart that will look familiar to you if you follow my budget and CAFR posts. Read the rest of this entry

The City of DeKalb did me a HUGE favor. When I first went to look for the FY2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) earlier this month, it hadn’t been uploaded to the city’s website yet (though it is there now). So, I turned to the Illinois Comptroller’s online collection of local government reports instead.

The report forms there (called AFRs) have barely changed since FY2004, which allowed me to work up, in no time at all, some year-over-year comparisons of the type I do so love to create for you. This set I call “A Documentary of the Biernacki Regime” because it encompasses the 10-year tenure of former city manager Mark Biernacki.

Thanks, CoD! Read the rest of this entry

The employment contract between City of DeKalb and its new manager, Anne Marie Gaura, is part of the agenda for Monday’s council meeting.

I’m pretty pleased about this pick — Gaura’s resume looks the best to me of all the city manager candidates in terms of range and depth of experience — and I’m pleased with this contract, too. It has an expiration date. And look here:

The Parties acknowledge that under current provisions of City Code, Chapter 3 employees are entitled to accrue and be compensated for “Comp Time” or “Compensatory Time.” Notwithstanding such provisions, the Parties expressly agree and acknowledge that Employee is a management employee, exempt from FLSA overtime provisions. Employee shall not accrue or be eligible to be compensated for Comp Time or Compensatory Time, and any contrary provision of Chapter 3 shall be inapplicable to Employee.

They maybe ended up having to offer more salary in exchange for the Chapter 3 exemption, and that’s fine. Salary goes up front on the very publicly-discussed budget, while comp and other such paid leave accumulations take compensation off budget and push it into a little corner of growing liabilities in annual financial reports that only a few oddballs like me bother to read.

Anyway, these are welcome changes. Hat tip to His Honor and the council for some good decision-making lately. If Gaura is as tough and honest as she is experienced, DeKalb could really be looking at a new day.

This is more from the June 2013 Benefits Hours Report I was telling you about yesterday.

Code/Type
of Hours
Hours
Used
Hours
Available
Available
Cost
300 Sick Pay4,172.7579,776.103,073,591.38
400 Vacation11,442.5021,029.66811,315.64
500 Comp Used1,974.7512,397.48457,938.93
550 Floating Hldy384.00185.008,590.87
560 Banked Comp45.0016,427.10807,522.19
301 Sick Pay Fire2,274.2550,421.751,544,619.90
401 Vacation Fire7,920.0010,608.00326,591.66
501 Comp Used Fire.00317.6310,018.57
561 Banked Comp Fire.002,169.6468,972.21
Totals28,213.25193,332.36$7,109,161.35

You can see that the banked comp (560) truly is banked, and the administrator-depositors are enjoying nice, risk-free annual increases when raises and COLAs are applied.

The caps on unused sick leave are very high in all departments. In fact, there are about 50 city employees who, thanks to overly-generous sick leave and/or comp time policies, could quit their jobs tomorrow and potentially walk away with checks for more than $50,000. Read the rest of this entry