City Finances Healthier Than Projected

Highland Park finishes the year with more than $13 million in the bank.

Highland Park with a positive fund balance 13 percent better than projected, according to the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report released Monday at the City Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting. 

The city had projected a positive fund balance of $11,423,899 for 2010. The final audited amount was $13,153,861, according to Finance Director Elizabeth Holleb. This gives Highland Park a reserve of 45.6 percent of its annual projected expenditures for the current fiscal year. 

The entire report from Highland Park’s auditors will be available on the city’s website soon. 

Check back Wednesday for more details as well as a report on the entire City Council meeting and other suggestions from the Committee of the Whole.

mike belsky June 14, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Quite contrary to the doom and gloom spun the demagogues Rotering and ally and sponsor Mandel Clearly will be brought up four years from now and two years from now should the community be unfortunate enough for Mandel to be running yet again for a seat he said he was not going to run for two or three terms ago Hats off the Elizabeth Holleb and Finance Chairman Kirsch for their excellent work on getting this result.
Andrew June 14, 2011 at 06:13 PM
Last I heard, the country is still in the midst of a large economic downturn. And the state of Illinois-- which is fond of not paying its bills to school districts and municipalities-- is so far down the rabbit hole it's practically in China. In my book, that means the jury's out on how much fear mongering was going on. When the word "recovery" can be used with a straight face and sustained eye contact, then we'll see whether Rotering and Mandel were overstating the issues Highland Park is facing. The city's funds need to remain intact for the ENTIRE downturn, whether or not that'll happen remains to be seen. As for Mandel-- well, people vote for him, so he must be doing something citizens appreciate. Holleb, Kirsch and anyone else who participated in managing the city's money responsibly deserve high praise.
Larry Hillman June 14, 2011 at 10:02 PM
Better than budget results are always welcome ... and many thanks to all who's efforts made that possible. Its a really big thing. But its wrong to slam Rotering and Mandel as they, as much (if not more) than anyone else worked to improve City finances. And surplus or not, nothing changes the fact that residents are very heavily taxed here, the town is expensive to run and facing huge unfunded infrastructure and pension costs. So it's a bit early to be pointing fingers or popping corks. But sure is great to hear the previous years of deficit City spending have been reversed.
mike belsky June 18, 2011 at 01:39 AM
Larry, You should not be defending Steve Mandel as you are one of the largest property owners downtown and one of his largest financial contributors- so anything you say in my view, is biased.s Mandel and Rotering do not understand the meaning of fund balance and budget stabilization. They cut programs and services, which in my view, will jeapordize public safety and social services to people who suffer most in a recession. Every well run City in America uses excess annual funds to balance their budgets when revenues decline. The general fund recieves 39% of it's revenues from the sales tax. This has dropped over the past few years. In case you were off sailing somewhere- we lost 2.8% of our GDP and unemployment has been north of 9%. Mandel and his partner Rotering had people believing we were in dire straights. Hardly the case with 40% of the taxpayers money in the bank and a Aaa bond rating in tact when many communities are being downgraded. Also the economy is coming back and so is the sales tax. Perhaps you are starting to charge market based rents to your tenants. Mandel and Rotering did not get these results- they just made bad public policy decisions ignoring the fact that we had a policy that said we could spend our balance down to 25%. In fact 10% is recommended by government finance officers. On a final note you complain about taxes being too high and not enough investment in infrastructure. Well let me see have 40% of our budget in the bank.
Debra Rade June 21, 2011 at 02:07 PM
@Mike Belsky – clearly, as mayor, you left HP in a financial position many other cities would envy with a 40% reserve. Of course, as you point out, there needs to be an appropriate balance of reserves & the fulfillment of services for the city’s residents. One can sense your frustration that there was information bandied about during the recent election about the City’s finances, its reserves and how they should or should not be used. You point to the fact that, as a result, some employees lost their jobs and some residents no longer receive services they had relied on. Perhaps you could share with us the services that were terminated? Additionally, can you comment on why the $1.73 million “auditor found” money was not reported to you and the residents in January 2011 with regard to a fiscal year that ended on December 31, 2010? We understand from Steve Sadin’s article that the auditor report is routinely due mid-year, but that should not have prevented HP’s financial group and David Limardi, the City Manager, from reporting on actual (though unaudited) financial reports. Could there have been an accounting error? Lack of control? $1.73 million is a lot of money to earn, save or suddenly find. This is information you should have been able to share prior to the election, rather than being so frustrated after….


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