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Government Local

Officials: DeKalb's finances recovering nicely

DeKALB – City officials said they were pleased to hear the city’s finances are on the way toward recovery.

DeKalb Finance Director Laura Pisarcik delivered the fourth-quarter financial report during Monday’s city council meeting, saying revenues from sales and use taxes came in 12.1 percent higher than budgeted for Fiscal Year 2011, which ended June 30.

“It shows that economic trends are showing recovering and heading in the right direction,” Pisarcik said.

Property taxes also came in at 3.5 percent over budgeted projections. The city’s general fund balance is projected to be roughly $2.2 million. But the city still has a long way to go if it wants to achieve its goal of a general fund surplus that is at least 25 percent of that budget’s expenditures, Mayor Kris Povlsen said.

“When you put it all together, that [ending fund balance] is not as strong as it could be,” Povlsen said.

He said the fund for the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport has a number of needs to improve upon.

Fourth Ward Alderman Brendon Gallagher said he was optimistic in that regard, saying Roger Hopkins, the city’s economic development consultant, was working on ways to market the airport to a wider audience.

The final financial report for Fiscal Year 2011 will not come until August, after roughly $500,000 in expenditures are received and posted.

The following also occurred during Monday’s city council and Committee of the Whole meeting:

• Residents will be able to drop off water bill payments at Castle Bank locations in DeKalb and Sycamore. City officials said doing so will make the process more efficient and streamlined. The council approved establishing the lockbox system with the bank as part of its omnibus consent agenda.

The service will cost $9,654 this year and will change based on the volume of payments the bank receives.

• Public parking lots in downtown DeKalb could get a name change. During the Committee of the Whole meeting, the council forwarded a proposal from the city’s Landmark Commission to name all 12 of the numbered parking lots after historical figures.

Lot No. 4 already is named after former Mayor Frank Van Buer. Other lots would be named after figures such as Judy King, DeKalb’s first female mayor; Lucinda Glidden, wife of barbed wire inventor Joseph Glidden; and other business and community leaders who once lived near downtown.

• The council widely approved establishing design guidelines for new downtown construction. The guidelines came after months of work from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, which sought to establish aesthetic standards for new businesses downtown.

Officials said the guidelines are not to be interpreted as requirements for proposed new buildings, but should give architects input into what the city would be more likely to approve.

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