Do you remember about this time last year how a group of concerned Wylie citizens came together and meetings took place regarding the City of Wylie Budget vs. the CAFR, or Comprehensive Annual Financial Report? Remember how Catherine Butscheck took inconsistencies to the Wylie City Council and every one of the Councilmembers thumbed their noses at her? Even I wrote to them and they all gave their pat answers that they too were concerned and looking out for us. Yes, the titter tatter flourished, and yet again the Butschek's were treated like criminals by the government talking heads.
All manner of accusations were made about the Butscheks and I even heard them from several of the council members. Though Mayor was kind enough to spend a bit of time with Catherine, I honestly don't even think he has a clue just how creative the finance and accounting departments can be.
I recall, alright. Everyone on the Wylie City Council seemed to be living with their heads in the sand and not one of them, let me repeat not one contacted Ms. Butscheck to speak with her about her findings- only Mayor Eric Hogue talked to her. Let that be a clue for you what can be expected from our City Council.
Sure, Councilwoman Diane Culver met with Wylie City Manager Mindy Manson and went over her own set of questions which somewhat mirrored Ms. Butscheck's about the budget, but Manson and Finance Director Linda Bantz seemed to have stellar answers for everything. You bet your bottom dollar they came out squeaky clean.
Despite this, Catherine Butschek insisted there was plenty of money that could be returned to the taxpayers of Wylie through reduced taxes, and she suggested we could easily receive a 4 cent reduction, though everyone sniggered about this. There they were, the Wylie View non-intellects joking about this break saving them the cost of one pizza.
Catherine Butschek ran on fiscal responsibility reducing taxes and everyone discounted her. Rather, they would vote in a man who was arrested for beating his wife. The answer? Everyone received a measly 1/2 cent reduction in taxes, to which the City Council was then applauded as if they did us some great service.
I've been studying up on the massive lie that is City Budgets and CAFRs and I have finally stumbled upon someone who knows what they are talking about. Everyone laughed at Catherine Butsheck but she was on to something. She stated over and over again that the City of Wylie was hiding money and she came pretty close to finding it. The problem is, she was thinking like a private taxpayer. With city budgets you have to step outside of the box and think like the shysters our government generally is. Pretty hard to do from an individual standpoint.
It seems that the City of Wylie, in fact all cities, are allowed to use a form of creating accounting. Since they are governments, they do not act as taxpayers and they do not have to follow the same rules. They can break out assets and liabilities in Government and Business-type activities so they can interchange when they behave like a government or when they wish to behave like a corporation where the taxpayers are their customers.
Because this fuzzy math is totally legal, where do cities hide their funds? This is an interesting concept, because as a private citizen you would find yourself in some serious hot water were you to employ these same practices on your personal finances with the IRS. It appears they hide it in hundreds of pages of gobbledygook. However there is only one sheet in that whole CAFR that is worth anything. The final answer can be found right on the Statement of Net Assets.
I've pulled this statement for the City of Wylie 2011-2012 CAFR just approved in January of 2013.
You can locate it on pg 120 of the 1.22.2013 agenda packet:
The hidden funds are located under Liabilities - Non current liabilities - Due in more than one year. $108,955,761.00
Yeppers, there it is. Funds being written off that are due at some random later date against current assets, and it is far worse than the Butshecks, or anyone thought for that matter. It is being subtracted from total assets leaving just barely enough to scrape by on and very soon we'll get the pleasure of seeing the fuzzy budget numbers presented to Council by Wylie City Manager Mindy Manson yet again, as the Creative Accounting and Finance Departments play their annual game of hide and seek.
It's time for your Wylie City Council to give you the tax break you deserve and I highly suggest you start asking for it now before the next budget sham begins.