The financial deceptions continue in the city’s 2017 budget.
The Fire Department’s total budget for the last four years has been almost level, but that is hiding the 36% increase that it received between 2015 and 2017. How did the Fire Department. get a 36% increase when the  budget remained almost level? Until 2016 the almost $250,000 Fire Hydrant Rental Fee was part of the Lake Geneva Fire Department budget, and the Fire Department paid it.

In 2016 four fifths of the Fire Hydrant Rental Fee was transferred to the resident’s water bills, and the remaining 1/5 is being transferred in 2017. That should have lowered the Lake Geneva Fire Department’s budget by about ¼ of a million dollars, but it did not. In fact, it increased an additional $27,000 over the previous year.

On the graph the blue line is the Fire Department’s budget/expenses, and the RED line has the Fire Hydrant Rental Fee removed from Fire Department’s budget/expenses, to shows the true cost to run the Fire Dept. Between 2015 and 2017 the true cost of running the Fire Department has gone up $256,817 or 36.5%. How could the City Council approve this 36% increase? The City Council was probably totally unaware of it because the total Fire Department Budget stayed almost level to the previous year. Eliminating a ¼ million-dollar expense by transferring it the residents gave the Fire Dept. ¼ of a million dollars to spend elsewhere within the Fire department (WOW!!!). The Police and Fire Commissioners, along with Dennis Jordan and Tom Hartz, are not stupid so they must have known exactly what they approved, and just helped slide it by the City Council. Other members of the commission are not stupid either, so why would they support it?

Well, related or not, the Police department (the other half of the Police and Fire Commission) got virtually the exact same dollar increase in their 2016 budget as the Fire Dept. received. See the other graph. It is all there in plain sight. Just compare the “TOTAL” above “FIRE HYDRANT RENTAL” for 2015 with 2017, and you will see the ¼ million dollars’ increase. For 2015 it was $ 703,235, and in 2017 it is $960,052 with an increase of $256,817 which is over ¼ million dollars, and a 36.5% increase in two years!

 Chart Of Lake Geneva Fire Department Budget

Cartoon by Terry O’Neill

Cartoon Terry O'Neill Lake Geneva

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