Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) Board Meeting
December 19, 2019
The Board passed its final 2020 budget without discussion while emphasizing that it represents a $70 million or 5.7% decrease from 2019. The estimated tax levy is $652.6 million [up 1.4% from 2019], and full time equivalent employees are down 14 from 2019 at 1,953. This represents no significant change from the budget that was tentatively approved on December 12.
Of interest is where the Corporate Fund money goes [in millions]:
Construction & Design $254.4 / 23.4%
Bond Redemption & Interest 233.0 / 21.4%
Plant Operations & Maintenance 202.6 / 18.6%
Staff Services 127.8 / 11.8%
Stormwater Management 116.3 / 10.7%
Retirement Fund 87.3 / 8.0%
Claims & Judgments 34.4 / 3.2%
Monitoring & Research 31.5 / 2.9%
The Board passed a one-year continuation of its intergovernmental agreement with the Cook County Sheriff’s office to continue and expand its very successful drug disposal program of expired and unwanted over the counter and prescription drugs. The purposes of which is to maximize the volume of drugs prevented from reaching and polluting Illinois waterways. Budgeted at $100,000. Commissioners want to expand to city halls and anywhere that dispenses drugs as collection sites. The Sheriff’s office wants to offer a mail back option for the elderly and disabled.
An on-site Mobile and Testing Service Contract was approved, but Commissioner Spyropoulos asked that information regarding the times use, the length of time the District has engaged in this contract, and what other options might be available for drug testing be provided to all commissioners for future consideration.
Published and filed was a report on public notification of significant industrial users having exemplary compliance and records and industrial users significantly violating pretreatment standards or other requirements. Commissioner Garcia asked if penalties could be increased. The Executive Director said staff would check it out.
Observer: Diane Edmundson Meeting Length 90 min.
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) Board - Special Meeting
December 12, 2019
In 30 minutes, the Board passed the 2020 Budget which reflected additional changes to the Tentative Budget from November 7. The vote was 8 to 0, with Commissioner McGowan being absent. Following are some highlights:
Further changes to the 2020 budget may be considered at the regular Board meeting on December 19, at which time the budget will be finalized.
Observer - Priscilla Mims
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) Annual Meeting, Board Meeting, and Public Hearing on the Proposed 2020 Budget
December 5, 2019
Immediately prior to the Board meeting, the Annual Meeting was called to order at which the Board received and filed the Annual Report presented by President Steele. This Report is available at https://mwrd.legistar.com under “Meeting Details” for the Dec. 3, 2019 Annual Meeting. (This meeting had been suspended on Dec. 3 for lack of a quorum and resumed on Dec. 5.)
Public Hearing on the Proposed 2020 Budget
There were no public speakers. Finance Chair Avila, who was presiding, explained that the Civic Federation had written a letter to the Board stating that it would not be reviewing or commenting on the budget as it has in the past.
Observer - Priscilla Mims
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) Commissioners
Special Meeting of MWRD Committee on Budget and Employment
November 7, 2019
The Committee met to consider the Executive Director’s 2020 Budget Recommendations contained in the October 15 book, along with the proposed changes submitted by the Executive Director on October 30, 2019. The initial recommendations and the changes may all be accessed at http://mwrd.legistar.com/calendar.aspx and clicking on the “meeting details” for the entry for this Nov. 7 meeting. The Recommendations as amended were accepted.
Next Steps in Budget Process:
The Commissioners heard from representatives from each MWRD department who presented the overview of that department’s proposed and 2019 budget and employee count, the 2019 operational highlights, and the primary initiatives for 2020. Their slide presentations may also be found at http://mwrd.legistar.com/calendar.aspx. Only a few of the Commissioners asked questions. Here are some of the highlights:
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) Board Meeting - December 13, 2018
Public Hearing on the Proposed Budget on December 6, 2018
By an 8-0 vote, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation Board took just 15 minutes to approve 11 items which resulted in a $1,203,988,541 budget for 2019. This is $53 million more than 2018, or a 4.6% increase. The property tax levy was raised to $643 million, an increase over 2018 of $20 million, or 3.3%. There was no discussion. (Commissioner Morita was absent.)
Next Step: The Board will consider amendments to the 2019 budget at the December 20 meeting, at which time the 2019 budget will be finalized.
Relevant Comments from December 6 Public Hearing on the Proposed Budget
The 2019 Budget that was passed on December 13 included a number of changes from the Tentative Budget Recommendation by the MWRD Executive Director dated October 13, and additional changes from the 2019 Tentative Budget published on November 20 (which reflected amendments to the October 13 Executive Director’s Recommendation).
At the December 6 Public Hearing, the Civic Federation, while overall supportive of the proposed budget, pointed out how confusing and difficult it is to review and comment on this ever-changing budget. The Civic Federation’s recommendation was that the final form of the budget that is to be considered by the Board should be published and made available to the public ahead of time. This is particularly important, said the Civic Federation, because the version of the budget passed by the Board often includes significant increases in the total appropriations and property tax levy from those contained in the Executive Director’s original recommendation, as well as from the Tentative Budget.
In this case, the version passed by the Board on December 13 varied from both the October 13 and November 20 versions (which is the version the Civic Federation reviewed and commented on) in a number of ways, including:
December 13 October 13 November 20
Total Appropriations: $1,203,988,541 $1,079,658,141 $1,092,299,141
Tax Levy: $ 642,783,809 $ 640,649,270 $ 640,649,270
The Civic Federation also recommended that the MWRD analyze the effect on its pension funding and have fall-back plans in case the District’s pension reform law were to be successfully challenged.
Observer - Priscilla Mims
Metropolitan Water & Reclamation District Committee on Budget & Employment
Departmental Presentations for 2019 Budget - November 1, 2018
Acting Executive Director John Murray gave an overview of the proposed 2019 budget:
Each Department Head gave a short presentation of 2018 accomplishments and plans for 2019.
Next steps in the budget process:
Observer: Priscilla Mims
Individual authors are credited at the end of each report.