Welcome to 3rdWard.org, a website dedicated to communication and transparency between Des Plaines City Government and you. This website, maintained by 3rd Ward Alderman Denise Rodd, is designed to keep neighbors engaged in their community and informed about issues.

Entries in 2013 Budget (3)

Wednesday
Nov142012

Des Plaines Is Fiscally Sound, Dramatic Break From Past

City of Des Plaines Budget Health Check – 2013 Budget Year

I was recently asked a simple question that didn’t have a simple answer: “How can I learn more about our city’s budget?”  Attending marathon meetings, downloading huge files off the city website, or combing through the 451 page budget might be a start but that isn’t fair to taxpayers.  After all, the people funding the budget – you and I – shouldn’t need to invest hours to understand how our city is performing.  

At our last monthly 3rd Ward Meeting, I shared a draft Budget Health Check with neighbors.  The following datasets and brief descriptions were built following that ward meeting and are designed to translate the confusing budget process for all taxpayers to understand.  Please spend a few minutes drawing your own conclusions.  I think you’ll find that:

  • We have far less debt: down from $102 million high in 2005 to $58 million in 2012
  • Savings are up: from a dangerous low of 2% to a healthy 42% of annual operating
  • The property tax levy has not increased in three year

In 2003, Moody’s – an independent credit rating agency – saw the city’s rapid debt accumulation as a risk and downgraded our credit rating.   We regained our strong A2 credit rating in 2010 after retiring & refinancing bond debt.  Identifying other relief points will ensure that we maintain our credit rating, save on interest, and invest today’s capital projects dollars in today’s projects. 

 

In 2008, Des Plaines had no savings, record debt, and a poor credit rating.  When Cook County was slow to remit property taxes to municipalities, we were forced to secure a short-term loan to make payroll.  Since then, we have made significant operational adjustments to start building back our savings while retiring debt.  A healthy and appropriate Unassigned Fund Balance will protect us from the unexpected, allow for rapid debt reduction, and promote investments in infrastructure like roads, sidewalks, and sewers.   

 

I’m proud to say that this council has paid down debt and built a savings account without increasing the property tax levy.  In the ten years before 2009, taxpayers felt an average annual increase of 3.7% with some years over 5%.   This combination of debt, savings, and tax levy proves that aggressive action can stabilize city finances. 

I hope you found this Budget Health Check helpful.  Please reach out if you have any specific questions or feedback: Matt@3rdWard.org or 847-514-6318

Friday
Nov092012

DP Budget Wins National Award

“The City of Des Plaines is very proud to be the recipient of the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.  It is indicative of the quality and professionalism of our Finance Department team under the leadership of Director Dorothy Wisniewski.  To have earned this award in consecutive years is commendable,” Des Plaines City Manager Michael Bartholomew said.

The award represents a significant achievement by the entity.  It reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the budget award, the entity had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity's budget serves as:

  • a policy document
  • a financial plan
  • an operations guide
  • a communications device

Budget documents must be rated "proficient" in all four categories, and the fourteen mandatory criteria within those categories, to receive the award.

1,289 entities received the award for budgets including fiscal period 2010.  According to a GFOA correspondence, “Award recipients have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America.”

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) recently announced that the City of Des Plaines was the recipient of the “Distinguished Budget Presentation Award” for its budget document. Dorothy Wisniewski, Director of the Finance for the City of Des Plaines, was identified as being primarily responsible for having achieved the award. 

Tuesday
Oct162012

You Can Attend Budget Hearings! 

This week, we'll be kicking off the 2013 budget process.  I wanted to remind all residents and taxpayers that these are public meetings that you may attend live or watch on the DP public access channel.

Take a look at the draft budget and visit this week: 

Wednesday, October 17th - 7pm - City Hall - General Fund Discussion
Thursday, October 18th - 7pm - City Hall - Non-General Fund