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Letter to the Editor: 'There He Goes Again ...' Burns Says Lauzen Still Playing With Numbers

Mayor says grants for parking structure, master plan account for 2011-12 increase in city of Geneva budget.

To the Editor:

There he goes again …

From Chris Lauzen’s statement as reported in the Nov. 4 Daily Herald and , “… the numbers in Geneva’s own budget say all that must be said. Page 13 ofthe 2011-12 budget shows a 7.4 percent increase from the 2010-11 budget. Frankly, this could not be more clear.”

Actually, Mr. Lauzen, the budget numbers are clear; if only you were able to understand how municipal budgets are developed and reported. Please accept the following facts as a courtesy to you and those who have tried to mislead:

Fact: Page 13 of the City of Geneva’s 2011-12 Budget is one of 288 pages of details—where every dollar comes from and where every dollar is spent and invested. Rendering opinions—and passing said opinions off as truth—based on reading one page of a 288 page budget is like writing a book report by only reading the book's jacket.

Fact: A municipal budget is the totality of many separate budgets—in Geneva’s case; General Fund, General Capital Projects Fund, Infrastructure Capital Projects Fund, Electric Capital Fund, Water & Waste Water Capital Fund and a variety of miscellaneous budgets.

Fact: Grants received by the city of Geneva for specific capital improvements such as a grant for the third level to the Commuter Parking Structure, monies for dedicated infrastructure improvements and grants from Kane County to support Geneva’s Downtown Master Plan, Southeast Study Area, Housing Task Force, etc. —these grants account for the 7.4 percent increase inthe city’s 2011-12 Budget.

These monies were not the result of tax increases. The truth is, generally accepted accounting principles require the city of Geneva—and all cities' budgets—to show these grants as income.

I’m disappointed Mr. Lauzen doesn’t understand, or chooses to ignore, this simple and transparent accounting standard. Now that I’ve clarified this issue, it’s time to move on and discuss the future of Kane County.

Kevin Burns
mayor of Geneva
Republican candidate for Kane County Board chair 

 

Editor's note: Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns is facing state Sen. Chris Lauzen in the race for the Republican nomination for Kane County Board chairman. Former Carpentersville Village President Bill Sarto and former St. Charles Mayor Sue Klinkhamer are seeking the Democratic nomination.

All comments regarding election articles are required to contain a full, varifiable user name and must comply with Patch's Terms of Use.

MattG November 09, 2011 at 05:08 AM
Sen. Lauzen keeps saying - "go look at the budget", so I did. I found some interesting things. pg. 63 - From the FY08-09 to FY10-11 (actual-projected), the general fund expenditures for the City of Geneva have DECREASED by 13.89%. The General fund is the normal day to day administration of the City. The FY11-12 Budget Request would DECREASE the General Fund expenditures by another 7.29% in a single year. The overall expenditures for the City over the same period FY08-09 to FY10-11 DECREASED from $71.7 million to $64.3 million. The FY11-12 Budget Request goes back up to $71.8 million, but that includes some one-time, major capital projects that are being funded from outside sources (a pass-through) such as putting a third deck on the Metra Parking Structure ($3.5 million). The City isn't "paying" for it, but administering the funds, so it has to be in the budget. pg 58 - The Tax Levey Rate went from 0.655 to 0.604 from 2004 to 2010. That's a 7.79% DECREASE in the Property Tax Rate. pg 270 - The number of employee equivalents in FY09-10 (actual) was 190.65. The FY11-12 Budget would reduce that to 185.85 - a DECREASE of almost 5 full time positions. The more I look at the City of Geneva's budget, the more it looks like the City is run pretty efficiently. If Mayor Burns can bring that kind of leadership to the County, we'll be in good hands. Thanks for making me look at it Sen. Lauzen.
Karen Phillips November 09, 2011 at 04:44 PM
Matt, As a taxpayer I am not sure that everyone in Geneva (or anywhere else) is happy with the increasing fees unrelated to any budget information. Seniors and many others are being forced out of the community due to inability to afford it anymore. I pay $7500.00 a year in taxes for a condo in Geneva. Since my bio and the questions on Patch have given full disclosure to some of my work and you have referenced it, is it fair only to ask what you do professionally? Does your employer do any work professionally in government circles or with government agencies in the state, county or cities? I saw on the web (Source: link'd in) that you may be professionally involved in government contracting in some way. Thanks. We are all entitled to the right of free speech but it is helpful to know if there are any other interests which may influence a person's thought process. (Not a spokesperson for Chris Lauzen in any regard) Commenting as a taxpayer of Geneva, IL.
MattG November 09, 2011 at 05:00 PM
Karen, For the $7500 in taxes you pay, about 2/3 of it is for the School District and then another 25% is for other things. I think only about 10% is the City of Geneva. Note Karen, I have never said anything about what you do professionally, nor will I. I think the same courtesy goes both ways.
Karen Phillips November 09, 2011 at 09:12 PM
Agreed.
MattG November 09, 2011 at 11:15 PM
For the record - despite what your twitter says - my company has never had a contract with the County or any public entity in Kane County.
Karen Phillips November 11, 2011 at 01:42 AM
All this about a twitter...this is Patch. Twitter does have some interesting facts about the big money coming into a county from those that were given appointments. Maybe we should try to promote Patch? I will only respond to the content here.
MattG November 11, 2011 at 02:24 AM
Then please quit trying to make me out to be someone that I'm not and I will. Otherwise, I'll be back, and back, and back, and back........
MattG November 11, 2011 at 02:27 AM
It's actually a pretty simple request.
Terry Flanagan November 11, 2011 at 05:16 AM
Matt, Being a Democrat, I have no candidate in this primary. I also believe that one can serve in a professional capacity for local government without patronage involved. But I do get concerned by the appearance of being less than forthcoming about these matters. How do you square your statement with this bio from the Illinois Review, assuming this is you? "About Matt Gaunt (sic): Prior to changing careers, Matt Gauntt was a traffic engineer licensed nationally and in four different states. He consulted for Kane, DuPage and Will County along with the Illinois Department of Transportation and represented DuPage County and others as an expert witness. He has also taught seminars for IDOT, the American Public Works Association and Kane County on transportation issues. Previously, Matt was a Village Trustee for the Village of Hanover Park, a Trustee for the Northwest Suburban Mass Transit Agency and a member of the Metra Citizen’s Advisory Board." From http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2008/02/prairie-parkway.html You and your company, SE3, LLC, are also listed in the Kane County DOT consultant database, which is not evidence of any contract. But none of this is anything to be ashamed of. You are a recognized expert in your field and have provided expert, and I believe sound, testimony in red light camera issues. So why be coy? Your background as an engineer makes your analysis of the numbers more credible in my opinion.
Rod Nelson November 11, 2011 at 11:37 AM
Figures lie and liars figure...but city government funding is very complicated. The City takes a small piece from the property tax pie. But the City's revenues come from diverse sources. And as the provider of billed essential services like garbage, water, sewer and electric, the City eats up an ever increasing share of my household budget. Even this is complicated since many of the costs are either mandated by other government entities or are pass throughs from other providers like our electricity provider. Added to all this is the fact that the Illinois Municipal Code leaves Geneva with a weak mayor, strong council structure. The City's performance, and the Mayor's, should be measured by both cost and quality measures...i.e., value received. The city bill has gone up at my house. What are the candidates proposing to add value?
MattG November 11, 2011 at 01:01 PM
Terry, Yes, that is me. That was written four years ago when I was with a different company. That company had done work with the County, my present company has not. So, my statements have been 100% accurate. The reason for being coy is that some people that post here want to make what I do super-duper-bad, which is unfortunate. And those people never, ever, ever, retract a smear.
Karen Phillips November 11, 2011 at 02:43 PM
Please Matt. It is Veterans Day. No one has smeared you. You were asked a simple question and you gave a convenient answer, not mentioning your past involvement. No one made you out to be anything. Please move on to some more important matters. I am going to remember the veterans in my family and thank as many who are serving as I can. That would also include Senator Lauzen's two sons serving, one in Afghanistan. If the Burns or Klinkhamer families have veterans thank you for your service. A country is grateful for your service.
MattG November 11, 2011 at 03:58 PM
Karen, you did indeed on your Twitter account. Here and I thought we agreed last week to stop that. That's what you said. I guess I was dumb to take you at your word.
Sandy Kaczmarski November 12, 2011 at 03:21 AM
Maybe you two kids can take this somewhere else and stop taking up so much space here with your bickering on the blog. Give somebody else a chance to make a relevant comment.
Karen Phillips November 13, 2011 at 11:26 PM
Sandy, despite your insult I still respect your quote about the Chairman's use of public funds on November 5, 2008. “The other disappointing thing is taxpayers are going to continue to be at the mercy of people who use taxpayers money as their own personal bank account,” Kaczmarski said. "The people of Kane County lost today.” That is saying what you mean.
Howard Anderson November 17, 2011 at 06:33 AM
Well I was able to spend some time with Senator Lauzen, I must say from my interactions with him I'm most impressed. While I'm sure I'll get grief from others on here for saying that, I think I had to. I have previous managed my share of people and I think I have the same basic philosophy as the senator. While talking with him, he gave me the impression that he realizes that, he doesn't know everything. He seems smart enough to know that there are people that are far more knowledgeable than he is and his job is to find those people and enlist their help. I am not saying mayor Burns is not the same way. I guess what I am saying is best put as an analogy. If you were to have brain surgery who would you want to perform it? The hospital director or the brain surgeon? It's the hospital directors job to enlist the best they can find to do the surgery. In the case of the board chairman I feel that Senator Lauzen is more than capable and so far is my front runner.

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