New Per Capita Debt Numbers

[Update 8:30 a.m.: Table headers edited for clarity.]

You’ve seen most of this table before. I’ve updated it with FY2011 data from the new Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

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Most of the overlapping increase came from DeKalb Community Unit School District 428.

Mind you, these figures reflect only gross bonded debt. The total per capita city debt burden for DeKalb residents, for example, was $929.28 as of June 30, 2011.

Gross bonded debt gets special attention because repayment is guaranteed by property taxes. If a governmental unit does not have enough money to make the payments, property taxes get raised as required to meet them.

DeKalb is unusual, in that it does not use property taxes to service its debt. All property taxes collected by the city go to pensions and FICA, and General Fund revenues go to debt service. Most General Fund revenues come from sales taxes.

The 2009 report from the city’s financial consultants recommended a shift to funding debt service with property taxes because they are normally a more stable revenue source than sales taxes.

Sources:

2009 financial consultants’ (EPI) report and Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) from the City of DeKalb Downloads page.