Our Place

Lake Geneva’s financial juggling to pay operating expenses is coming to an end.
It has gone on for a decade and a half and has enabled the city to spend beyond its true tax revenue. The current budget has a shortfall. The Coronavirus shut down will reduce needed revenue and the past method of transferring city expenses to other sources or use other revenue sources to fund them has been tapped out.

To list a few of these financial maneuvers

1.) By city ordinance, 50% of the beach, Riviera and parking revenue went to paying the maintenance and improvements of those entities and 50% went to the city to cover any extra expenses tourists caused the city. So, the tourists paid for the lake front’s maintenance, repair, improvements and the city expenses that they caused. In 2005 the city repealed that ordinance and replaced it with a resolution, and now takes 100% (less $75,000) of the revenue and at that time the city also emptied and spent the millions that had accumulated in the Riviera and lake front’s maintenance and improvement funds. 2.) Then, when repairs were needed, the city used TIF #4 funds to repair the Riviera, improve the beach and buy the new parking meter system.
3.) Today borrowing is the method left to pay for repairs, but the city cannot borrow to pay expenses
4.) The yearly expenses, almost a quarter of a million dollars that the city paid to the Lake Geneva Water Commission utility for fire hydrant rental fees, were added to the resident water bills, without a corresponding cut in city expenses or residents’ property taxes.
5.) Until recently, equipment replacement was paid as a city expense from city revenue, but it has now been added directly to the resident’s property tax bill without a corresponding cut in city expenses.
6.) To maintain about an extra $1,000,000 in spending, the city has a revolving debt which is paid off at the rate of about one million every year and then every 4 to 5 years the city refinances the debt and adds another 3 to 4 million to it, which effectively gives the city an extra $1,000,000 to spend, which is added directly to the residents’ property tax bill as a debt service tax.
7.) The city raised parking rates from 50 cents to a dollar, then some to $2.00 and has been looking at increasing it again.  Whoever is elected will have financial difficulties balancing this year’s, and next year’s, city budgets, and may have to use a new technique and actually cut city spending.

 

April Fool’s Day is unlike any in the past.
April 1st is April Fool’s Day and is usually fun and full of laughs. It is customary to play practical jokes and hoaxes on friends and family, ending the jokes with gotcha “April Fool’s!” Staying positive and making others smile is very important during this trying time so from a distance reach out, tell a joke, and make someone laugh.

Cartoon of Week
Cartoon by Terry O'Neill

 

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