January 9, 2013
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) is a special-purpose government providing wastewater treatment for residents and industrial businesses primarily in Cook County. The budget process for the MWRD differs from the budget processes of other northeastern Illinois governments. The District produces three versions of its budget which include, in order of release, the Executive Director’s Recommendations, the Tentative Budget and the Adopted Budget (also referred to as the As Adopted and Amended budget document, or Final Budget). The Tentative Budget includes proposed appropriations as approved by the Board of Commissioners based on recommendations made at the District’s Committee on Budget and Employment hearings. Amendments to the Tentative Budget are made in the Final Budget document, which is produced after a public hearing and is adopted by the Board of Commissioners prior to the start of the fiscal year on January 1st.
The MWRD is one of the nine governments the Civic Federation analyzes annually. On December 12, 2012, the Federation released its analysis of the MWRD after reviewing its Executive Director’s Recommendations and Tentative Budget. On December 13, 2012, at a Special Board meeting, the MWRD Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted the FY2013 Tentative Budget. The approved budget was amended to reflect several changes from the original Tentative Budget, which are described below. Overall, total appropriations increased by $23.8 million, from $1.12 billion to $1.14 billion;
Corporate Fund appropriations increased by $12.4 million, from $371.4 million to $383.8 million due to:
- A $10.0 million increase to the Other Post Employment Benefit (OPEB) Trust;
- A $1.3 million net increase due to position additions/eliminations;
- The total number of positions across the District increased by 14 positions, from 1,914 to 1,928. These additional positions will be held in the departments of Monitoring and Research and Maintenance and Operations for the North Service Area, Calumet Service Area and Stickney Service Area.
- One position was eliminated from the Engineering department under the Corporate Fund.
- A $844,000 increase due to the implementation of the first phase of the District’s position reclassification plan;
- The position, or job, reclassification plan was developed after a study conducted in 2011 concluded that as an organization, the MWRD has an abundance of job titles and layers. The reclassification plan will address this issue by eliminating 25% of job classifications through consolidation with other classifications over the next two years (MWRD FY2013 Tentative Budget, p. 3).
- A $300,000 increase for a disparity study;
- In 2006 a statistical study was conducted to assess current minority, small and women contractors to comply with federal requirements and court decisions. The study – with the 2000 Census Bureau’s racial and ethnic designations and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines – was used to adopt a revised Affirmative Action Ordinance in late 2007. 
- A $41,000 decrease due to changes from new hires, promotions and merit changes; and
- A $25,000 increase for land appraisals.
Increased expenses in the Corporate Fund will be funded through an increase in appropriations from the Corporate Fund fund balance. As a result, the amount of net assets available for future use from the fund balance decreased from $94.4 million to approximately $82.0 million. This amount, which represents approximately 21.4% of Corporate Fund expenditures, is still adequate to meet the Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) recommendation of reserving two months of operating expenditures.
Construction Fund appropriations increased by $2.3 million, from $34.5 million to $36.8 million due to changes in various project schedules and a $250,000 increase for the purchase of two skimmer boats. Capital Improvements Bond Fund appropriations increased by $9.1 million, from $334.8 million to $343.9 million due to changes in cost estimates for various projects. These changes will be funded through increased appropriations from the Construction Fund’s fund balance and from the Capital Improvements Bond Fund’s bond sales resources, respectively.
The property tax levy remained the same from the Tentative Budget at $513.7 million. The Stormwater Management Fund also remained unchanged from the Tentative Budget at $61.2 million.
At the meeting, the Board revised the budget to include 3% salary increases for non-union employees which are reflected in over $2.0 million in salary adjustments in the Final Budget.  Non-union employees did not receive salary increases in FY2010-FY2012. 
 Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Executive Director's FY2013 Recommendations, p. 13.
 See BF20 Package Attachment available on the agenda of the Special Meeting of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago on December 13, 2012 available at www.mwrd.legistar.com.
 Communication with MWRD budget staff, January 9, 2013.