Officials: Palatine finished 2020 in "really strong financial footing"
The village of Palatine ended 2020 in a better financial position than anticipated, officials said.
Village Manager Reid Ottesen and Director of Finance and Operations Paul Mehring discussed the village's 2020 comprehensive annual financial report and audit during the village council meeting last week.
"It was an exemplary audit" Ottesen said, adding all the village's fund balances are "strong."
Mehring echoed those words, saying, "We finished the year in a really strong financial footing."
Last year, the village estimated that COVID-19 would have an impact of about $3 million to $7 million on the budget, and it had adopted several measures -- including using reserves and reducing personnel -- amounting to about $5 million in savings.
The actual impact of the pandemic was about $3 million, which means the general fund -- with revenues of about $61.4 million -- saw an increase in its end-year balance of about $1.9 million.
By comparison, the general fund decreased by $600,000 in 2019, the report states.
"We will be back to you this summer with our midyear financial review with recommendations as to where does that $1.9 million best serve the taxpayers of the village of Palatine and the organization," Ottesen said.
Another positive for the village last year was the decision to refinance debt, saving $3.4 million, due to lower interest rates -- all without extending the debt maturity.
"It's possible we might retire debt even sooner," Ottesen said.
Despite the financial challenges of 2020, the village maintained its commitment to public safety pensions, making a contribution of $1.34 million beyond what was required, and maintained its economic stabilization fund, Ottesen said.
The village also spent more than $9.3 million for roadwork and maintenance last year.
Ottesen and Mehring praised village staff members and the village council for their work. "You guys set the policy and you let us do the work," Ottesen said.
Mayor Jim Schwantz responded in kind.
"This was a tough year for everybody, and to be able to come back with this (annual report and audit) ... it's yeoman's work," he said. "It's the gold standard."