At 6:45 the Special Meting to discuss the proposed budget commences.
Trustee Escamilla absent for class. Trustee O’Donnell present by phone. Trustee Svoboda takes the role of secretary.
Chairman Birt invites comment from the public to discuss the budget.
Adam Andrzejswki from For the Good of Illinois is speaking. He addresses COD’s financial situation which he says has lots of money in reserve. He discusses a FOIA request he submitted. Questions why Governor Quinn found 20 million dollars to give to COD for construction of a new building, calling it a “pay to play” strategy with the Governor, getting money from the Gov in exchange for votes.
Trustee McGuire speaks on the budget. 18.5% of revenue comes from the State of Illinois. Shout out to the State of Illinois for the grants and payments, including SURS that the State gives to COD. It is not the 7% we usually hear about.
Trustee Savage lauds the time and effort that went into putting together the budget booklet. But she has a couple questions.
The EAB floor — have we hit that floor or do you think it is still going to go down?
Glaser responds that stabilization of the housing market is such that perhaps next year it may go down further.
Trustee Savage asks about how many payments COD can expect next year from the state?
Glaser responds that 8 payments are likely.
Trustee Savage observes about a 2.7 million increase in the fund balance, 2.2 million generated from a tuition increase. She expresses concern that the tuition increase will go together with an increase in the fund balance and she is uncomfortable with that.
VP Glaser then shows a slide about what is included in the budget. He indicates that it shows that the BoT has already agreed upon the items included in the budget, contracts with salary increases and tuition increases. The BoT already voted yes on these.
Trustee Savage asks about the impact of property tax increases.
Trustee Hamilton says the abatement was about 4 or 5 million.
Chair Birt reminds everybody that this is the public hearing and that the BoT will discuss it later during the regular meeting.
Trustee Hamilton says that over the last 3 to 4 years the budget has projected losses or small profits but in reality over 150 million or more in cash has been accumulated. “What is wrong with that?” Do we have enough money to not raise taxes or increase tuition. In reality the budget is so off that we do not make the right decisions when we look at the projected budget. We have a lot of money in the bank. We will be making more than 20 -30 million in profit as we have for the last three years. Hamilton questions whether a tuition increase is needed because when the book is closed we end up 20-30 million dollars above what was projected. There is a lot of cash accumulation. We Trustees need to realize that we represent the taxpayers and the students as much as the College and we need to keep that in mind.
Glaser responds:59% DuPage County tax rate increase. That is true, but it is not the whole story. The reason the tax rate has gone up 59% is because of the decrease in the accessed valuation of the District. The District’s EAV increased on average 7.7% per year. He says that our operating tax rate would have decreased 21% if the EAV hadn’t changed. Also Board approved bond issues are included in that projection. Glaser questions the previous speaker’s (Andrejewski) questioning of COD’s transparency. Glaser notes that For the Good of Illinois has made a number of FOIA requests of COD and other community colleges. He mentions openthebooks.com which is a project of this group — he could not find that group on the web. Glaser says that COD practices transparency. All budgets are available on line as is the five year financial plan. All our official statements supporting bond issues are also available on-line. Each month COD lists all payments made by COd including who and how much is spent. The agendas are posted and available online for anybody who wants to see them. Glaser questions how Andrejewski and For the Good of Illinois can lecture COD about transparency when his group posts no such information on-line. COD could not find Form 990 (required by IRA) of this group — Glaser questions why this group does not have these items.
Glaser indicates that he has spent a lot of time researching For the Good of Illinois, Andrejewski.
Andrejewski asks to respond. Chair Birt gives him one minute.
He contends that all records are on-line and can be found. He says furthermore “you have forgotten the difference between a public entity and a private entity.” He says things that public entities are. Government is required to disclose on a timely basis all expenditures. His group advocates public not private transparency.The special meeting is adjouirned and the regular meeting begins.
No other comments on the budget from the public. Meeting adjourned until 7:00pm.