FY2016 Budget Season Summary

December 17, 2015

FY2016 Budget Season Summary

December 3, 2015 marked the end of the budget season for the eight local governments monitored by the Civic Federation. These governments include: the City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, City of Chicago, Cook County, Chicago Transit Authority, Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and Chicago Park District.

Four of the seven governments that levy property taxes held their levies relatively flat for the FY2016 budget year. The three local governments that increased their property tax levy are the Chicago Public Schools, City of Chicago and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. The Chicago Public Schools and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District raised their property tax levies to the maximum amount allowed under State statute (The Chicago Transit Authority does not levy a property tax).

Major findings in changes between FY2015 and FY2016 budget appropriations include:

  • Property tax levy:
    • Four of seven governments held their property tax levies relatively flat.[1]
    • Three of seven governments increased their levies.
  • General Fund budget appropriations:
    • Five of the eight governments increased their operating budget appropriations.
    • Three of the eight governments decreased their operating budget appropriations.
  • Personnel – FTE (full-time equivalent) positions:
    • Five of eight governments increased their FTE/Position count
    • Three of eight governments reduced their FTE/Position count.
  • Personnel Expenses:
    • Three of eight governments increased their appropriations for personnel expenses.
    • Four of eight governments reduced their appropriations for personnel expenses.[2]
  • Fund Balance:
    • Four of seven governments met the Government Finance Officers Association’s recommendation for maintaining a General Fund fund balance of at least 17% of operating expenditures.[3]
  • Pension Fund:
    • Seven of the eight governments have government employee pension funds.[4]
    • The City of Chicago maintains four pension funds (Municipal, Laborers’, Police and Fire)
    • Funded ratios for government employee pension funds declined for six of the ten pension funds.

The exhibit below provides a summary of the budget analysis reports published by the Civic Federation following the release of each local government’s FY2016 proposed budget. The summary chart provides:

  • Appropriation and financial data highlights;
  • Changes from the previous year’s actual expenditures, year-end estimates or adjusted/adopted budgets;
  • The Civic Federation’s positions; and
  • The Civic Federation’s statements of support, concern and recommendation.

It should be noted that the figures below represent the data available at the time the Civic Federation’s analysis of each budget was published; appropriations and other financial data may have changed since the release of each report. Also, the Civic Federation’s individual analyses for some aspects of a government’s budget may not be comparable to the analyses of other governments, and therefore may not be included in the summary exhibit. Full analysis reports can be accessed at civicfed.org.


[1] Chicago Transit Authority does not levy a property tax.

[2] Chicago Transit Authority does not provide personnel appropriation data.

[3] Chicago Transit Authority does not maintain a General Fund fund balance.

[4] City Colleges of Chicago employees participate in the State Universities Retirement System of Illinois.

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