Fiscal Irresponsibility-City of Bloomington

Cute, aren’t they?  We hear the Bloomington Zoo wants to add them and other attractions totaling $16.7 Million – YOUR tax money.
The financial statement for the year ending 3/31/2012 are NOT issued yet, but here are some notes from the 3/31/2011 statement:

The City continues to retire compensated absences liabilities for employees; however, for fiscal year 2011 the additions outpaced the retirements.  The Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) liability will increase on an on-going basis as the City’s policy remains to address this liability on a pay as you go basis.  This is a significant area of concern that must be addressed by the City.  A plan of action must be developed to first take action to minimize the liability and then create a plan to fund the existing liability.  Without an action plan, this liability will continue to increase into the future placing a heavy financial burden on future tax payers.

For the fiscal year 2012 budget, City staff remained relatively conservative in terms of projections for revenue and expenditures.  Similar to FY 2010, City Administration stressed to each department the need to focus on providing services to residents in the most effective and efficient manner.  Long term liabilities (pension, other post-employment benefit funding (OPEB), etc.) remain a strong concern to the City.  In FY 2012, the City will fund 100% of the statutory minimum for the police and fire pension; however, the City will not fund the OPEB liability.  The City will maintain a pay-as-you go strategy for the OPEB liability.  This outlook is not sustainable.  The City maintained a flat property tax levy despite increases in the IMRF, Fire Pension, and Police Pension.

These pension increases were offset by lowering the tax levy to support operations within the General Fund.  To the resident this indicates City operations are being funded through elastic, unpredictable revenues such as sales tax revenue and income tax rather than the stable property tax.  From a long-term financial viewpoint, there is a strongly possibility if this trend continues, the property tax will be the sole funding source for pensions. If the City continues to rely upon elastic general sales tax revenue, to provide sole source funding for general fund operations it may be prudent to increase the City reserves to offset periods of weaker revenue collections.

As part of the City’s Long Term Financial sustainability, the City will at least face the following four crucial issues:
 Increased cost to replace postponed capital equipment,
 Increased cost to repair or replace postponed infrastructure to the level desired and
expected by City residents,
 Take action to address the continual growth in unfunded actuarial liabilities within the
City’s pension funds and Other Post Employment Benefit liabilities, and
 Address the significant net asset deficits within the Sewer, Storm Water, and Parking Enterprise Funds.
Below is a table of future payments:
The outstanding general obligation bonds payable from governmental activities mature as
follows:
       Principal                Interest                     Total
  April 30, 2012                      $  1,295,000      $ 3,332,273      $ 4,627,273
  April 30, 2013                          2,440,000          3,253,896           5,693,896
  April 30, 2014                          2,530,000          3,148,351           5,678,351
  April 30, 2015                          2,550,000          3,048,317          5,598,317
  April 30, 2016                          2,595,000          2,952,361           5,547,361
  April 30, 2017 – 2021        14,625,000        13,091,505       27,716,505 
  April 30, 2022 – 2026        16,060,000         9,648,710        25,708,710 
  April 30, 2027 – 2031       12,535,000          5,765,903         18,300,903 
  April 30, 2032 – 2035       12,480,000          1,641,965         14,121,965
                                                  $  67,110,000 $    45,883,281  $ 112,993,281
Has David Hales and Mayor Stockton solved all the above problems?  Has the upcoming debt been addressed?  Does the city have an extra $12,000,000 ready for the payments starting in 2017?  How about roads falling apart?
How much are flamingos worth to you?  Try talking to your aldermen, see if you get anything but a brick wall.

5 thoughts on “Fiscal Irresponsibility-City of Bloomington

    1. I know something got re-financed, but the current financial statements aren’t out yet. I know the interest rate got lowered, but did they kick the can down the road?

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  1. The city of Bloomington, will not get any better financially until we get rid of Mayor Stockton, find a buyer for Fire Station #5 on Six Point Rd.and rid North Main of !!College Students watering holes!!

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