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.
[easychart type=”vertbar” width=”420″ title=”General Fund Year End Balances in Millions” groupnames=”General Fund Ending Balances” valuenames=”’04, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’13” group1values=”3.26, 3.59, 3.83, 3.30, 2.90, 0.05, 0.022, 2.69, 4.67, 3.25″]
The years represented in the above chart are the fiscal years, each of which runs July 1 through June 30.
With a drop of 4.9% as we had this year, a lot of questions come up. Hypothetically speaking, what if DeKalb had lost 10% but nobody knew because growth at other campuses made up for it?
I requested a more detailed breakdown under the Freedom of Information Act and was denied. During the subsequent review by the Public Access Counselor of the denial, however, counsel for NIU offered these numbers:
[table id=66 /]
“Other/Multiple Locations” means there are about 2,000 students who attend classes on more than one campus, and for whatever reason NIU assigns them to none. Leaving room for speculation is not ideal, but this is more information than we had before so to me it was worth the effort.
Election of the chairman was listed on the County Board’s public agenda.
Members, wanting to discuss the contentious subject of who should chair the board after a prearranged agreement fell apart during public discussion at the meeting, first suggested going into recess and heading to separate meeting rooms[…]
Schmack advised the board such a move would be in violation of the Open Meetings Act. Then, County Board members suggested standing at ease to allow an ad-hoc committee to meet, which Schmack also advised against. During the roughly 15-minute ordeal in the public portion of the meeting, board members Paul Stoddard, D-DeKalb, and Charles Foster, R-Shabbona, were in off-microphone discussions with each other.
The board eventually voted to stand at ease and divided into two groups to talk about who they wanted to elect.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Senate, the hour of 9:20 standard Senate time having arrived, the Committee on Assignments will meet immediately in the President’s Anteroom. Will all the members of the Committee on Assignments please report to the President’s Anteroom immediately? The Senate stands at ease. (at ease)
Putting together DeKalb’s pension picture has been like a forestry hide-and-seek. Facts are the trees and while facts have been examined, there’s often an underlying feeling that the ecosystem has not yet been adequately described. So I keep going back in.
One “specimen” whose significance I failed to fully appreciate earlier is the shortfall between what is collected in city property taxes and the annual required contributions to the three pension funds. Unlike the State of Illinois, DeKalb faithfully makes yearly contributions; and if the property taxes don’t cover them, the city must free up additional revenues from the General Fund.
So far, such shortages appear to have fallen exclusively on IMRF and below is a piece of that picture.