This table was part of Friday’s long post, but deserves some attention of its own.
City of DeKalb
You can find the breakdown of the FY2010 overlapping debt in this document, on p. 153.
FY2010 ended June 30, 2010. Let’s look at some of the GO bond issues since that date:
DeKalb County: $16,000,000, 10/14/2010
School District 428: $38,001,359.50, 8/4/2010
City of DeKalb: $9,320,000, 12/01/2010
City of DeKalb: $550,000, 10/5/2010 Read the rest of this entry
Galesburg, November 2010:
The Galesburg Public Library voted Thursday night to slash $20,000 from its earlier budget request in an effort to gain the City Council’s support in raising the library’s property tax levy.
Relations between the city and the library have been increasingly strained due to disagreements on whether to increase the property tax levy in the face of sharp budget shortfalls. The City Council is expected to vote Nov. 15 on the city’s property tax levy, which includes the library’s levy.
For years, the City Council has been opposed to levy increases. Last year, the city rejected the library’s levy request, forcing library officials to make several cutbacks. As part of its efforts to reduce costs last year, the library closed on Sundays and reduced its budget by $93,000.
Galesburg joins Naperville as another recent example of a city council exerting control over public library levy requests.
Last November, DeKalb’s city attorney said the city had no such authority, though even DeKalb has reduced the DeKalb Public Library’s tax levy in the past.
Let’s review, shall we?
A library DISTRICT is an independent taxing body with an elected board.
Though it is attempting to function as one, DeKalb Public Library is NOT a library district. It is a public library and a component unit of the City of DeKalb. The mayor of DeKalb appoints the board members with the advice and consent of the council. It is the city council that approves DKPL’s annual budget, tax levy, and building expansion plans.
Council could also approve the issuance of bonds for a building expansion without having to pass a referendum, so it’s likely DKPL has zero interest in becoming a district. Therefore the city, being stuck with a rogue board, must address the problem. There are at least two approaches: the mayor could dissolve the board and start over, or the city could use its bonding power as leverage to get DKPL back in line.
Last time our city council tried to put the reins on DKPL’s tax levy, the city attorney said it did not have the authority to do so. That was pretty funny, because the council has done so in the past. Also, back in January the city council of Naperville asked its public library to make $300,000 in budget cuts. It is clear that Illinois cities have authority and responsibilities of oversight of their public library boards.
Today’s report in the Daily Chronicle that DKPL is also refusing to say where the money is coming from for its latest efforts at land purchases is especially troubling. A buildup of reserves for undeclared purposes is a slush fund, and has no place in the business of the public.
An alert longtime CB reader took the time to send a link to a Daily Herald story about Naperville’s public library today:
The library’s levy request of $12,450,000 for fiscal year 2012 was 3.15 percent, or $400,000 more than the previous year, but city council members asked the board to find and consider as much as $300,000 in additional abatements.
The library board is then set to present the proposal to the city council on Jan. 26. Staff will now work toward determining the specific line items in each budget to cut before the presentation.
Once the board makes its presentation to the city council, the council is expected to review the proposal before deciding how much of the library’s levy to abate in March.
Does this mean assertions that the DeKalb City Council cannot set the DeKalb Public Library’s levy are hogwash? Yeah, it probably does mean that.
DeKalb Public Library (DKPL) showed up for a dog-and-pony show at City Council last night, armed with packets of information that, once again, escaped being received and filed publicly by Council. The only conceivable reason for such a presentation is to rewrite the narrative of its dealings of the past three years into the meeting minutes, actively assisted by city staff and unchallenged by a negligent, collaborative legislature.
Still, there were educational moments. How else would we find out that an end-of-year fund balance of $1.2 million equals zero? That DKPL is actually quite poor in spite of its only recently abandoned plan to purchase $2 million in real estate?
At least Director Coover treated Council more like adults this time by including an actual Illinois Public Library Annual Report (IPLAR) in each packet. Perhaps someone will think to ask about the omissions in Section 26, which we will look at over the jump. Read the rest of this entry
After the jump, see the table containing selected information extracted from three years’ worth of Illinois Public Library Annual Reports (IPLARs) filed by the DeKalb Public Library with the Illinois State Library. Included: information on revenues, expenditures, programs, attendance, resources/holdings and other numbers and answers I found interesting for one reason or another. Not included: library identification data, personnel position details, library trustee information and items deemed redundant or ho-hum.
–If a FY column item is left blank, it means the question was not asked that year.
–Answers that might vary from one day or month to another, for example the number of registered borrowers, are generally required to reflect the count on the last day of the fiscal year.
–Copies of the source material are yours for the asking. Send e-mail requests to email@example.com. Read the rest of this entry
IPLAR stands for Illinois Public Library Annual Report. I have received IPLARs for the past three fiscal years from the Illinois State Library. They are different from what the DeKalb Public Library has been sharing with the City of DeKalb in that the IPLAR form is 16+ pages while the information given to city council members barely covers a page or two. I can find neither version at the library’s website, nor know which is given a community member who stops by and asks for its the annual report.
The IPLARs are filed electronically so they are easy to obtain from IPL. Supplemental reports, for example those regarding the accumulations of funds that interest us, are paper reports and will therefore take longer to obtain.
Instead of uploading some 50 pages, I will attempt to summarize the reports in a table. Stay tuned.
After the jump are the last three fiscal years’ worth of DeKalb Public Library’s annual reports.
DKPL is obligated to provide a report to the City of DeKalb within a month of the end of each fiscal year, although according to an official with the Illinois State Library it is not actually statutorily obligated to have the report received and filed by the City.
The same official was able to confirm for me that DKPL has indeed filed a copy of its latest report with ISL, which reassures me somewhat that it was not manufactured last week in response to my FOIA request.
What would be even better is if the City of DeKalb would change its policy to receive and file the reports. This would provide some evidence of Council oversight with less bother for Clerk and city staff when it comes to retrieval. Read the rest of this entry
In the Daily Chronicle today, I see this:
During Monday night’s DeKalb City Council meeting, McIntryre [sic] asked aldermen to not approve the library’s levy request.
He said the library board did not receive approval to accumulate funds for the purpose of building or purchasing a site for a new library, which he said was the intent of board members. McIntyre said that is a violation of the Illinois Local Library Act.
But DeKalb City Attorney Norma Guess said the city council does not have the authority to not approve the library’s levy.
Oh, yeah? Why does the levy request come before Council, then? And: Ms. Guess, this is not what you’ve said before. Read the rest of this entry
Please read the following piece of the Illinois Local Library Act and help me out with a question at the end. Read the rest of this entry