Office of Finance and Administration

The Office of Finance and Administration ensures that the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County uses its financial resources in a manner that is consistent with management’s policies and intentions and with legal restrictions. It oversees recruitment, training, benefit administration, policies and procedures and safety and liability programs.

The Office of Finance and Administration has the following responsibilities: 

  • Maintain financial records 
  • Collect revenues
  • Ensure that debts are promptly satisfied 
  • Safeguard financial assets 
  • Ensure compliance with statutory requirements 
  • Provide operational support for the District treasurer, who directs the District’s investment program 
  • Assist with the creation of comprehensive budget-development guidelines 
  • Participate in the budget- and management-review process 
  • Assist in the budget-presentation process 
  • Secure passage of the District budget 
  • Prepare comprehensive tax-levy development requirements 
  • Prepare the annual tax levy with input from other District offices 
  • Coordinate annual audits of financial records 
  • Prepare comprehensive annual financial reports, which are subject to audits 
  • Supply management with timely and accurate reports on the District’s performance 
  • Provide broad-based support and assistance to other District offices 
  • Distribute reports to external users 
  • Provide District offices with services and products related to mail, copying, printing and office supplies and stock and supply the public with information brochures and handouts

Fiscal Year 2012 - 13 In Review

The District manages funding from property taxes to aid in land conservation efforts and to create education and recreation programs for the public. From stocking preserve lakes with fish to holding annual events that increase knowledge of the county's plants, animals and cultural history, dollars translate into ways to care for and protect natural resources. View the Fiscal Year 2012 - 13 info graphic here.

Taxes and Other Funding

Taxes

More than half the money to run the forest preserves comes from property taxes. Those property taxes make up only about 2% of the average homeowner’s bill, with the bulk coming from schools and other taxing entities. For the owner of a $300,000 home, that would amount to approximately $140. Because of its fiscally prudent approach, the district has lowered its property tax rate 12 of the last 18 years.

Tax Levy Rates 

Fees

The District also charges residents certain fees and permits for use of facilities and services. Those charges make up about 7 percent of the District’s overall revenues. 

To report on its financial position and the results of its operations, the Forest Preserve District uses fund accounting, which demonstrates legal compliance and aids financial management by segregating transactions related to certain functions and activities. Funds are either governmental or proprietary. Governmental funds account for most of the District’s general activities, such as land acquisition, capital development, servicing of general bonded debt and general operations. Proprietary funds account for business-type activities and receive a significant portion of their funding from user fees.

Expenditures/Revenues 2013 

Bonds and Referendums

The most recent voter-approved referendum passed in 2006, authorizing the sale of $68 million in bonds to acquire land, restore native habitats, and maintain and develop trails and other recreational facilities. Because federal tax regulations require that 85 percent of the funds from the sale of bonds be used within three years from the time of sale, the Board of Commissioners completed two bond sales. A sale in the amount of $34,770,000 was completed in January 2007, and a sale in the amount of $33,130,000 was completed in November 2008. This plan will allow the District to meet obligations while achieving a manageable balance among high-priority land acquisitions, habitat-improvement projects and the development of trails and recreational amenities. So far, funds from the 2006 referendum have contributed to the purchases of 360 acres at 14 locations.

In March 2012 Standard & Poor’s gave the District a AAA bond rating on a new debt refunding issuance and reaffirmed the District’s AAA rating on existing bonded debt. This was the third time the District was rated under Standard & Poor’s Financial Management Assessment, which is effectively a report card on the District’s financial-management personnel and practices. Under this assessment, the District has maintained its “strong” rating — the highest rating possible — which is defined by Standard & Poor’s as indicative of “practices that are strong, well embedded, and likely sustainable.” These high ratings were transferred into low interest rates as underwriters negotiated with investors on the bonds.

Annual Budgets

The budget is the foundation of the Forest Preserve District’s annual financial planning and is a tool that staff uses to manage daily operations. Each budget year begins on July 1 and concludes on June 30 the following year. All District offices submit budget requests, which serve as a starting point for the development of the comprehensive document. Taking public comment into consideration, the Board of Commissioners reviews and revises the appropriation before its adoption. Though not a formal part of the appropriation ordinance, the board uses a 5-year projection of revenues and capital expenditures in its financial planning.

For highlights of the fiscal year 2013 – 2014 budget, view the news release "Forest Preserve District Budget Approved For 2013-2014." Links to complete budget documents for 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 are at the top of this page.

Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports

The Forest Preserve District is required to publish a complete set of financial statements presented in conformance with generally accepted accounting principles and audited in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards by a firm of licensed certified public accountants. Links to reports for 2006 – 2013 are available at the top of this page.

Financial Reporting Awards

For the past 25 years, the Office of Finance has received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its comprehensive annual financial report. The most recent award was for the report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012. It is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment. The award recognizes that the District publishes an easily readable and efficiently organized comprehensive financial report.

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