Stop Wasting the Financial Advisory Committee on Budgets

From a Northern Star article this week:

City manager Anne Marie Gaura said the finance committee typically reviews the budget and looks at policy recommendations and general fund balance.

“The goal is to utilize the finance advisory committee in the most effective means of how to benefit the budget and the community,” Gaura said. “It’s an incredibly talented group, and we want to make sure we’re utilizing their talents to the maximum.”

If we REALLY want to utilize the talents of the city’s Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) to the max, we need to move it past budgets. Continue reading Stop Wasting the Financial Advisory Committee on Budgets

Proposed Legislation Would Require Local Labor Agreement Hearings

Remember that instance a couple years ago when, if you wanted to find out what was in the new fire fighter union contract before the DeKalb council voted on it, you had to go visit the city manager? Because the contract wasn’t included in the council meeting agenda available online?

Proposed state legislation co-sponsored, among others, by neighbor-representatives Tom Demmer and Joe Sosnowski would make that sort of thing a trick of the past. Here’s the synopsis of the bill:

Amends the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. Provides that, once an agreement is reached between a public or educational employer and its employees regarding all of the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, the agreement shall be reduced to writing and published on the website of the public or educational employer. Requires the public or educational employer, not less than 14 days after publishing such an agreement, to hold an open public meeting on the ratification of that agreement. Makes conforming changes in the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act. Effective immediately.

I love it when things make sense. Hopefully the legislation doesn’t die in Rules Committee.

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.

[easychart type=”line” width=”425″ title=”Relationship Between Net and Capital Assets 1″ groupnames=”Net Assets, Capital Assets” valuenames=”’04,’05,’06,’07,’08,’09,’10,’11,’12,’13” group1values=”68.7, 95.3, 98.3, 101.6, 107.4, 112, 111.6, 113.6, 117.4, 117.2″ group2values=”93.6, 118.2, 122.6, 123.6, 128.3, 130.5, 129, 131, 131, 138.5″ minaxis=”68.5″] Continue reading A Peek at DeKalb’s Assets

More Charting of the CAFRS: General and Special Revenues and Expenditures

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. Continue reading More Charting of the CAFRS: General and Special Revenues and Expenditures