Fixing the hiring spree

I’m still posting occasionally in the City Barbs Facebook group, and would like to share this item about DeKalb city council’s budget workshop Tuesday evening: Discussing elimination of positions as a budget-balancing measure. And here’s the memo.

What the hiring spree has ruined

Former DeKalb Alderman Pam Verbic wrote current Mayor Rey a detailed letter regarding the upcoming property tax levy vote. Find it here. I hope you will read the whole thing. Each of Ms. Verbic’s points is well taken and stands on its own. I don’t intend to rehash the letter. But her #4 relates closely … Continue reading What the hiring spree has ruined

Charging the Water Fund for salaries in other departments is a masterpiece of nontransparency

*Note: “Departments” as used in this article should be read as shorthand for “departments, divisions, and offices.”* Take a look at this budget from DeKalb’s Finance Division: Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, it’s not. It does not show all the wages the Finance employees get paid. This is a budget that accounts only for the … Continue reading Charging the Water Fund for salaries in other departments is a masterpiece of nontransparency

TIF forensic assessment tells us how DeKalb operates

The promised forensic audit report (now being called a forensic assessment for some reason) of City of DeKalb’s tax increment financing funds has been released by the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office. The report details miscalculations, missing documents, and other failures of due diligence occurring across the 10-year period examined. Much of the fireworks over … Continue reading TIF forensic assessment tells us how DeKalb operates

OPEB: DeKalb’s unfunded liability you’ve probably never heard of

***Updated 12/21, via asterisk, to clarify what’s going on with the fiscal 2016.5 numbers in the narrative, and why these numbers are not in the chart. FYI, the post is probably also easier to read if you distinguish between plan retirees (who are participants and beneficiaries), beneficiaries (who may be retirees or spouses/dependents of retirees), … Continue reading OPEB: DeKalb’s unfunded liability you’ve probably never heard of

A fresh look at “old” financial advice for DeKalb

At a recent budget meeting, DeKalb city manager Anne Marie Gaura (AMG) stated that she references the “EPI reports” frequently in financial planning. Because the city’s finance advisory committee might likewise like to revisit EPI findings when it (the committee) reconvenes in 2018, I’d like to introduce EPI to our newer readers (and help refresh … Continue reading A fresh look at “old” financial advice for DeKalb

Anatomy of DeKalb’s proposals for a sales tax hike

That’s not a typo in the headline. There are, I believe, two proposals for a sales tax hike of one cent for fiscal 2018. One comes from DeKalb city administrators, the other from the city’s finance advisory committee (FAC). Here’s the proposal staff put into the draft budget: Sales tax for hiring police officers? Sales … Continue reading Anatomy of DeKalb’s proposals for a sales tax hike

DeKalb’s HR budget is out of control, and now they want to make it even worse

DeKalb’s Human Resources budget growth by fiscal year (rounded): 2014: $164,000 (actual) 2015: $184,000 (actual) 2016: $254,000 (actual) 2017: $456,000 (projected) In FY14, there was one full-time director and one part-timer in HR. Before that, there were some difficult years where HR had only one director, and the assistant city manager helped fill the gaps … Continue reading DeKalb’s HR budget is out of control, and now they want to make it even worse

Pension Plan Membership as a Factor in Jump of Net Pension Liability

DeKalb’s latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is out. It covers Fiscal Year 2016, which ended June 30, 2016. The big news is the net pension liability. Public safety expenses related to the operations of both the Police Department and Fire Department accounted for the largest share of expenses at $33,400,660 or 50.1% of the … Continue reading Pension Plan Membership as a Factor in Jump of Net Pension Liability