Twenty percent of the City of Lake Geneva’s budget is dependent on revenue from tourists.
So far, this year, in 2020, only 0.6% of such revenue has been collected, and there is a projected $350,000 revenue shortfall by June 1st. Even if the “shelter in place” order, which has been extended, ends at the end of May, most likely “social distancing” will continue to depressively effect tourist revenue this summer. The city could, very easily, lose 50% of the budgeted tourist revenue, which would mean a shortfall of $860,000, or 10% of the city’s $8,665,847 budget.
The Coronavirus could also jeopardize other sources of revenue, such as; the $352,200 in building and zoning permits common in a regular business year. Although the city has very little debt, borrowing is not a legal option to pay city expenses, although if viewed as an owed debt it might be (a good question for the city’s attorney). As a starting point to help, every department should reevaluate its current departmental budget, with the goal of reducing it by 10%. There are a few savings that will occur because of the Coronavirus, such as the gasoline/fuel expense which could be cut almost in half and save about $50,000 this year. There are a few training costs that can be postponed until next year, but beyond those savings, any more cuts will painfully affect city services.
Today the percentage costs of the city budget are as follows:
- Police department 45%,
- Governmental operations 21%
- Fire department 17%
- Street department 15%,
- and 2% for miscellaneous expenses.
It is best for those closest to the expenditure to determine what can be cut or delayed and what impact it will have on the city and the city services. When looking at the true cost of city services it is important to also look at the revenue that a department generates, which also helps cover part of its operating costs. The fire department collects about $750,000 in fees for the services that it supplies, which effectively cuts its real cost for operations almost in half. The city also receives about $750,000 from the state for transportation-related expenses which cover about half of Lake Geneva’s Street Department costs.
City Council of Lake Geneva’s organizational meeting.
Mayor Klein conducted her first meeting as mayor last Tuesday night. The reorganizational city council meeting was held, although it could not be attended by citizens, family, or friends because of the virus. Tuesday’s meeting, which included the swearing-in and welcoming of the newly elected city officials, went smoothly. The meeting also included the election for president and vice president of the city council. Nominations were made and the votes were cast. The nominations for president were Alderperson Hedlund, Alderperson Fesenmaier with the vice-presidential nominees being Alderperson Halverson an Alderperson Fesenmaier. The Lake Geneva City Council President went to Hedlund, who received five out of eight votes, and vice-president went to Halverson, also receiving five out of eight votes. The council feels distinctly divided. The old and new members seem to have a different outlook on issues and both may need some time to get settled and open their minds to a different perspective. The five members of the council voting in harmony could mean that the council will be deeply divided on all decisions since the five are leftover from the last election, while the three are from the results of the new one.