Addressing DeKalb Public Library’s proposed 14%-plus levy increase

During DeKalb’s public hearing on its property tax levy, which includes the library’s levy, several people spoke out about the library’s plan to increase its take by more than 14%. They requested the city council hold library trustees accountable for the request, which they view as irresponsible. DeKalb claims that it must approve any levy…

Another source of revenue loss for DeKalb County Nursing & Rehab is confirmed

The latest on the DeKalb County Rehab & Nursing Center (DCRNC) financial situation comes from a 35-minute discussion during DeKalb County Board’s Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting November 10. I’ve written about revenue losses due to low census, and increased expenses because of the facility’s dependence on outside agencies for staffing. Now county staff…

DeKalb County Rehab & Nursing’s management agreement

This is the third post in a series about DeKalb County Rehab & Nursing Center (DCRNC) and its financial issues. First post is here and the second, here. In the second post, I said we’d take a look at the budgeteers for DeKalb County Rehab & Nursing Center (DCRNC). While the DCRNC Operating Board, the…

DeKalb County Rehab & Nursing: How staff retention issues helped lead to its financial problems

In the first post of this series, we looked at nursing home census as a measure of the financial health of a facility like DeKalb County Rehab & Nursing (DCRNC). In fact, DCRNC gave great census, its occupancy mostly in the 170s and even 180s from 2015 until 2019. Consistently high census numbers kept revenues…

DeKalb County Rehab & Nursing’s budget woes started before 2020

This is first of a series. DeKalb County Board voted recently to continue to help cover expenses for DeKalb County Rehab & Nursing Center (DCRNC) in the face of a worsening revenue picture. The board had approved a loan of $2 million last spring to improve cash flow issues resulting from a $2.8 million revenue…

Water is the new TIF

This is second of a series. First one is here. For years, DeKalb bailed out its general operating budget with tax increment financing (TIF) funds. TIF administrative fees helped soften the blows following the 2008 market crashes and assisted the hiring spree after that. Now the enormous “TIF 1” district is gone, replaced by the…

DeKalb taps into water trends

First of a series. The Better Government Association recently published an article about Joliet’s ambitious and controversial mayor, who plans to buy Lake Michigan water from Chicago. [Water scarcity] tensions have arrived in northeastern Illinois, which, despite its proximity to the world’s fourth-largest source of fresh water, faces a coming water crisis. Among the first…

A look back: DeKalb and its radium water

25 years ago, residents of DeKalb organized to pressure the city to reduce the amount of radium in our drinking water. The city, which already had obtained a variance that allowed it to exceed EPA limits for radium, required a second variance in 1996 to obtain permits to extend water mains for new construction. This…

Snapshot of DeKalb’s pension trends through 2020

The chart below tracks the unfunded liabilities of DeKalb’s Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), police (PD), and fire (FD) pensions. We expect total pension liabilities will go up with raises, cost of living adjustments, etc. However, the unfunded portions of the liabilities should not. Actuarially determined annual pension contributions are supposed to ensure they don’t…

DeKalb’s annual audit turns up deficiencies in physical security

Amid habitual deficiencies in internal financial controls, DeKalb’s move to a new city hall has created physical security risks, according to the city’s auditor for budget year 2020. During our observation of the City’s internal controls, we noted the initial entrance/front of the building has limited security and minimal restriction to the departments stationed in…