November 05, 2013 | 04:30 PMCity residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on the city budget at a public hearing scheduled for 5 p.m. Nov. 18.
The hearing will be followed by a special Lake Geneva City Council meeting.
Lake Geneva’s operating and capital budgets are expected to increase by 3.7 percent next year over this year.
The proposed general fund budget is $8.3 million, up from $8 million last year.
(In real numbers, that’s $8,322,172 for 2014, compared to $8,028,470 for this year, a difference of $293,702.)
The city’s general fund pays for most city services, including police and fire protection, streets and public works, building inspection, parks, planning, the cemetery and the museum.
Revenues and expenditures are expected to cancel each other out.
In 2014, the city plans to use $4,640,141 in property taxes to pay for general fund expenses. (That’s up $31,141 from last year.)
But that covers just 56 percent of the total planned spending.
The remaining 44 percent will be paid for by grants, reimbursements and payments from other governments, fees, assessments, fines, permits, interest earnings, carryovers from last year and fund transfers, particularly from the lakefront and parking funds, to the general fund.
In the general fund, the largest expenses are for public safety, which includes, police, fire and emergency management.
The public safety budget is expected to increase by 2.2 percent, from $3.5 million to $3.6 million.
(In real numbers, from $3,588,431 to $3,667,247, an increase of $78.816.)
The proposed police department budget for 2014 is $2,644,13, up by 54,076, or 2.2 percent over this year’s budget of $2,590,062.
The proposed fire department budget for 2014 is $759,756, up $23,892, or about 3.2 percent over this year’s budget of $735,864.
Public works plans to spend $1,482,406 for 2014, up $14,689, or about 1 percent, over this year’s budget of $1,467,717.
In addition to streets, public works includes garbage pick up, the city arbor service, and composting and recycling.
Changes are coming to Lake Geneva in 2014, and they show up in the city’s spending plan..
In April, the city treasurer and deputy clerk positions will be merged, creating a single, appointed treasurer/deputy clerk position. Formerly an elected position, treasurer will no longer be on the city ballot.
The treasurer salary, budgeted for $16,000 last year, has only $6,667 this year, until the elected post disappears in April.
The new treasurer/deputy clerk is expected to be paid $40,000 a year.
And, the city council approved creation of a full-time parking administrator position.
Although $60,000 was budgeted as salary, the council hasn’t decided on a firm salary figure for that position, yet, according to Mayor Jim Connors.
The city is currently looking for a new city clerk to replace Michael Hawes, who left for a village administrator’s job in Racine County last month.
Estimated clerk’s salary is also $60,000 a year.
In addition the mayor and four city council members elected in 2014 will receive a raise.
Council members’ salaries were increased from $3,500 to $4,000 by the city council in August.
The budget shows the council salaries bumping up from a total of $28,000 this year to $29,307 in 2014.
The mayor’s budgeted pay increases from $6,000 to $6,561.
A majority of the city’s property tax collections goes to the general fund, but it isn’t the only fund that receives support from city taxpayers.
The 2014 budget shows $1,040,389 in property taxes going to city debt service fund, unchanged from last year.
The library fund will receive $423,000 in city property taxes in 2014, an increase of $5,000 over this year.
City Comptroller Peg Pollitt said the city’s tax levy for city purposes will be $6,190,205, up less than 1 percent over last year’s levy of $6,157,389.
The tax rate for city purposes hasn’t been calculated yet, Pollitt said. The city budget shows a figure of $5.64, which would be a drop from last year’s tax rate of $5.90 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for city purposes. But Pollitt said the two figures can’t be compared because the state Department of Revenue hasn’t released all of its tax data yet.
She said the $5.64 figure is more of a ratio than an actual tax rate.