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FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY

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The City of Lake Forest has demonstrated its commitment to financial transparency by posting financial documents on the City’s website, including operating budgets and annual financial reports.  Sometimes additional information may be sought out by citizens that is most easily understood through interactive charts and graphs.

In an effort to enhance transparency in financial reporting, the City of Lake Forest is offering an interactive reporting tool that allows citizens to explore actual and budget data online in various graphical formats selected by the user.  The City has engaged OpenGov.com to develop a Financial Transparency Portal to give a transparent view of the funding required to provide public programs and services.  Reports that have been prepared can be seen by selecting the following report link City of Lake Forest Transparency Report. Below is a description of those reports available.

  • Annual Tax Levy Extension Report – review historical information regarding how the City’s property tax revenue is allocated.
  • City Actual Transparency Reports – review data regarding actual historical revenue and expenses
  • City Budget Transparency Reports – review data regarding budgeted revenue and expenses

Additional reports can be found on the City’s website by selecting the following link:

  • City Financial Documents - review the City’s Budget, Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and other financial reports.

The City is providing actual and budget historical data from fiscal year 2012 and forward for public review.  The first time using the transparency portal, a welcome page will display.  This welcome display can be found under the Help option when returning to the portal.  We hope to strengthen the connection between our local government and our community members. For questions regarding a specific department report, please contact the appropriate department through our main number at (847)234-2600.  For questions on how to use the website portal, please contact the Finance Department at (847)810-3614.

Tips on Using the City’s Financial Transparency Portal

The portal allows you to explore both budget and actual historical finances in a simple graphical user interface.

  • You'll notice the title of the Report you are viewing in the top left corner.
  • A list of Frequently Asked Questions is provided under Views.  To select a specific report, it is as simple as clicking on the question. 
  • You can use the filter to see the data that is of most interest to you. To focus on this specific data – like a fund, department, expense type or any combination – look to the left and use the Filters tab.  These selectors allow you to specify exactly what breakdown you want the graph or table to represent.  When you select “Filter By” the data filter pops up and allows you to turn-on or turn-off selected filters for that category – funds, departments, expense type.  Users must be mindful of the selection criteria to capture the correct information.
  • Some departments or expenses only apply to specific funds – if the department or expense is not applicable to a particular fund, it will be grayed out.  Some expenditures or revenues do not track year to year.  For example, there may be expenditure for a specific item or project in FY2017 that the City no longer uses.  These expense categories will only be visible for the years they were used.  After that, they will be zeroed out.
  • The City of Lake Forest’s primary fund is the General Fund.  The General Fund includes the Office of the City Manager, Finance, Community Development, Police, Fire, Public Works, Information Technology, CROYA and Human Resources. 
  • Multiple years of data have been provided.  A Fiscal Year slider is present below the Filtered By menu. Move the sliders to choose the fiscal year(s) of data you would like to see.
  • There are five different types of visual representations of the data – an area graph, an area graph by percentage, a line graph, a pie chart and a table.  You can change your view at any time by simply selecting a different type of representation.  The data will automatically convert to the new format.  Pie charts are most helpful when only one year of data is presented, while line graphs are helpful when the user desires to see multi-year trend data.
  • Below any chart or graph, you can view a Table detailing the financial information in the visualization above.
  • Use the Help drop-down in the top right corner to - view a short How-To Guide with tips on navigating the platform, recall the Welcome Screen, view a short Multi-Fund Accounting 101 primer with basic information on multi-fund accounting and Contact the administrators of the account.
  • Use the Download drop-down in the top right corner to download an image of the graph or table as a .png file. Or Download a spreadsheet as a .csv file.
     

THE CITY OF LAKE FOREST
220 E. Deerpath, Lake Forest, IL 60045
(847) 234-2600
Non-Emergency Police:  (847) 234-2601

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