October 21, 2011
Civic Federation Encourages County to Fully Implement Planning Policies
(CHICAGO) The Civic Federation supports the proposed $434.7 million DuPage County budget for FY2012 because it cuts spending for the third year in a row while holding the property tax levy flat. Despite reducing expenditures, the County pledges to maintain core services for residents.
The proposed budget does many things right, especially the initiatives that allow the county to work within its existing revenues. In addition to freezing property taxes, the County will cut costs by modernizing its personnel policies. For non-union employees, sick day accrual will be limited and vacation day carryover and cash-out will be curtailed. The County will also reduce headcount by two. Personnel costs represent 64% of the County operating budget and are predicted to rise despite the reduction in the number of employees. A strong focus on rationalizing personnel procedures is a prudent response to escalating expenses, especially health insurance costs, which are expected to rise by 9% per year for the next five years.
DuPage is also rightly exploring the possibility of consolidation of youth home services with other suburban counties. The Civic Federation supports the County’s efforts to maximize efficiency in delivering its services. “When best practices are followed, consolidation of services between governments can bring residents better and more cost-effective programs,” said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation.
However, the Civic Federation still sees difficulties in the County’s future. In order to properly plan for the most efficient and effective use of taxpayer resources during uncertain economic times, DuPage County should fully adopt the planning policies recommended by the Civic Federation for the last several fiscal years. These policies should include:
- A performance measurement system that would keep taxpayers and policymakers informed about how well County programs perform compared to expectations;
- A formal Capital Improvement Plan that would keep taxpayers informed about progress and priorities; and
- A formal long-term planning process that involves input from policymakers and stakeholders.
“DuPage County is in relatively good fiscal shape given Illinois’ continuing economic challenges,” said Msall. “But the County can do a better job of anticipating and planning for ongoing financial pressures.”
The Civic Federation’s full set of recommendations to improve the financial management practices of DuPage County government can be found here.