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


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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

Illinois’ Mercer County lies south of the Quad Cities and comprises part of its metro area.

Perhaps you’ve heard that the county’s treasurer, Mike Bertelsen, has been arrested and charged with stealing at least $13,000 from the county’s 911 Fund, the result of investigations that followed a forensic audit in the county office.

The Illinois Policy Institute has pointed out Mercer County transparency failures that IPI counts as red flags:

  • A lack of online transparency
  • A failure to file annual reports on a timely basis
  • Violations of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
  • Violations of the Open Meetings Act (OMA)
  • I’ve suggested before that failures to turn in Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) annual reports to the state might signal trouble, as tardiness correlated with financial corruption cases in Alorton and Dixon.

    The violations of OMA and FOIA are either mostly or wholly related to Mercer County’s hideously dysfunctional and incomplete website. FYI: Dixon’s wasn’t much better at the time Rita Crundwell’s crimes were discovered. Read the rest of this entry

    A couple weeks ago I mentioned that DeKalb’s financial consultants made recommendations for medical cost containment deserving of their own post.

    Here it is, finally. Turns out it’s not just the recommendations after all and it’s very long, so grab a cuppa something and make the jump when you’ve got time to hang out for awhile. Read the rest of this entry

    I’ve added FY2012 numbers to the set of charts you’ll find in DeKalb’s Pension Funding Progress. They come from the latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

    dyerware.com


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    The City of DeKalb has been re-growing its post-recession General Fund reserve since FY2011, when a large reduction in force coupled with windfall revenues helped the city regain its financial footing. But are annual budget surpluses an indicator we’ve set out upon the right financial path? The latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is now available, so let’s see if we can spot the trends.

    dyerware.com



    The years represented in the above chart are the fiscal years, each of which runs July 1 through June 30.

    The reserve looks pretty good now, but I believe it has given city leaders the wrong idea. Read the rest of this entry