City changes policy for finances, budget

By Keisha Howerth

The city’s Financial Responsibility Initiative will improve DeKalb’s financial practices as the budget due date of July 1 nears.

City manager Anne Marie Gaura said more concrete examples of how the initiative will improve the city’s financial policies can be expected at the first City Council meeting in April.

“We want to understand what’s being done and what’s not being done with the city’s budget,” Gaura said. “We want to look for what the best financial practice is. The initiative will provide a fresh look at the city’s financial policies and procedures.”

Mayor John Rey said the initiative was made to strengthen financial transparency and accountability.

“Through the initiative we hope to move in a positive fashion toward financial stability,” Rey said.

The initiative will put focus on areas the city needs to improve. Gaura said some of those areas include how audits are reviewed and the process through which the city staff communicates to the City Council.

“We’ll have more specific regulations on how we present financial information to the City Council,” Gaura said.

Gaura said she’s identified areas where it is necessary to make changes in the city’s financial and purchasing policies and the budget. The preliminary steps of the initiative will include city staff involvement and bringing in an outside expert to review the city’s financial policies, purchasing policies and budget process.

Gaura said she has seen this plan used successfully in other communities.

“Revisions of financial policies will be based on recommendations from outside experts,” Gaura said. “It’s a good opportunity for someone from the outside to come in and review the city’s management practices.”

Rey said bringing in outside expertise is the sort of innovation DeKalb needs.

“The city will benefit from new ideas that can ensure we continue to make great progress with our community’s financial goals and with fiscal sustainability,” Rey said.