City Budget Is a Real Page-Turner, Finance Association Officials Say

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Byline: Alicia Fabbre

Once again, St. Charles finance officials have proven a city budget can be interesting to read.

The city's 1997-98 budget recently was ranked as one of the top four in the country - in terms of presentation - by the Government Finance Officers Association. It's the ninth year the association has recognized the city.

Although the association looks for a balanced budget, it's not just good numbers that get St. Charles the award. It's the way those numbers are presented that makes a difference.

And St. Charles knows how to get its numbers across.

City employees use a variety of strategies - themes, fun facts about the city and even a glossary - to help residents understand the spending plan.

"We're trying to provide a budget that's understandable so that people can look at it and see how the money is being spent," City Administrator Larry Maholland said.

By the way, this year's budget was set to the theme of a film production and featured the Arcada Theater on its cover. No word yet on what next year's theme will be, but word has it Hotel Baker's re-opening could be a good backdrop.

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Perfect attendance: Alderman Jim Martin may have missed a few days in school, but that's not stopping him from setting some attendance records at city hall.

On Nov. 1, the 4th Ward alderman began his 27th year of perfect attendance - and eight of those were spent in the audience. …