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Local Column

Mayor's View: DeKalb in solid financial shape for 2017

The DeKalb City Council and Finance Advisory Committee have met over the past several weeks. The topics have included the city’s financial policies, tax levy and fiscal 2017 budgeted revenue and expenditures.

The city is financially sound and projects ending the current year with a general fund balance within the fund policy of 25 percent in reserve fund balance. The council and advisory committee members have approved the goals of a balanced budget and maintaining a 25 percent general fund reserve for fiscal 2017.

The City Council has realigned the city’s fiscal year with the calendar year. This allows the property tax levy decision to be made with a new year’s budget closely in view.

The tax levy has been set at the same rate as last year. With the increase in equalized assessed valuation of property in the city, the property tax revenue is projected to increase 5.92 percent. The property tax levy is used to fully fund fire and police pension costs, and $72,480 in payments to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. Social Security contributions are funded through other revenue from the general fund.

Revenue assumptions have been reduced with conservative, while realistic, sales tax and utility tax projections. City staff members are asked to identify budgeted expenditure reductions to meet the established policy goals. The revised budget will be brought to the City Council meeting Monday, at which time a public hearing will be held on the 2017 budget.

In addition to next year’s budget, staff has prepared five-year financial projections, which bring focus to the city’s financial sustainability for the council. Also, a five-year capital improvement plan has been drafted. This long-term view of capital needs is a first in recent history.

Providing oversight to the financial policies for the city has been a focus of the Finance Advisory Committee. This provides staff with guidelines from which operational services can be planned.

There will be trade-offs to be made as the council is presented the fiscal 2017 budgeted revenues and expenditures. The goals for a balanced budget and keeping a 25 percent reserve are guiding staff with the budgeted service levels.

In summary, the city of DeKalb is financially sound with the established general fund reserve. The City Council continues deliberation on the service levels that can be provided to citizens, as we look to the future – fiscal 2017 and beyond.

• John Rey is mayor of the city of DeKalb. He can be reached at 815-748-2099, or by email at john.rey@cityofdekalb.com.

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