McHenry County Blog received the following from Crystal Lake City Councilman Jeff Thorsen, who is running for reelection. He, like others, have had trouble posting comments for well over a year…ever since Google “improved” the Blogger host that I use.
Below I have turned his comment into an article. Other council candidates who wish to comment are welcome to do so. Just email what you want people to read to the email address way, way down on the right hand side of the page.
I can’t post a public comment on your site for some reason.
Anyway, the real news about the (Crystal Lake city) budget occurred last year when the Home Rule Sales Tax was passed.
Mr (Mike) Shorten’s concerns would be valid if by approving this budget we were committed to the 31 million he is referring to.
I can tell you that what is in the budget is not yet approved.
Once it is approved, the items are budgeted pending approval of each individual item as they come before the council in there own due time. T
The budget process is a 0 sum game.
The expectation of revenue (real) has to bury itself in the phantom expenditures allocated in the budget.
Remember I did not approve the 2008- 2009 budget. I voted no.
I have not had the opportunity to vote on this budget.
I can tell you that there was a budget workshop open to, and published to, the public and many attended. Carolyn Schofield was there. You may want to ask her if she felt there were some kind of shenanigans going on there.
Take any budget and compare it to its corresponding year’s audit….what do you find?
We are usually pretty close on the estimate of revenue and have not done many of the projects whose cost helps us achieve a balanced budget as predicted at the beginning of the fiscal year.
This has traditionally left us in the black and the excess revenue flows directly to the general fund.
(How much revenue does a tax district need in reserve? An answer in this article.)
The trick then is that the same project is returned to a future budget and expected to be funded through that budget….i.e. not allocation carry over.
The rest of the ranting I hear regarding this issue seems to spew from Chicken Little.
If we are going to the public on these issues we owe them the facts and not any fiction!
Bottom line is that the Capital expenditures budget appears to be relying on the TIF’s for their respective bonding repayment sources. NOT the H(ome) R(ule) sales tax.
Believe me when I tell you I am not defending the H(ome) R(ule) sales tax, here. I do not see a corresponding allocation in the H(ome) R(ule) sales tax fund. What I do see are the expenditures that may occur this year that will be repaid to the general fund by the bonding of the TIF’s when and if they can produce enough increment to bond.
The fact that the budget has a special section regarding the H(ome)R(ule) sales tax is both helpful and somewhat misleading. It is helpful to know the extraordinary expenditures for the coming fiscal year are covered by the H(ome) R(ule) tax.
But the reality is the H(ome) R(ule) sales tax fund is an unrestricted component of the general fund.
The money spent or expected to be spent on any TIF will be repaid if and when we go to bond on each project.
Because of the current economy, now is a great time to bond because money is cheap. We have to be able to take advantage of that should the conditions dictate.
I do not see it as a mandate to spend 31 million.
I believe Mr. Shorten’s position on this is similar to crying “Fire” in a crowded theater. I would love the opportunity to debate him publicly on this matter, or to talk to him privately if he so chooses.
You know what I am telling you is honest, Cal. You have been in these trenches.