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QuickStory: $73 Million Budget Flies Through City Council

With no comments at the public hearing, Geneva's $73 million 2012-13 budget wins unanimous approval.

Geneva's 2012-13 budget is up from a year ago, but not by much.

The total expenditure for the 2012-13 budget, approved unanimously by the City Council on Monday night, is $73,275,060.

The budgeted expenditure in 2011-12 was $72,927,321.

City Administrator Mary McKittrick pointed out that the city only accounts for about 9 percent of your property tax bill. She also noted that a higher total budget expenditure does not necessarily translate to a higher tax payment to residents. 

"The total number is up a little bit, but that includes 36 different budgets," McKittrick said. "If we collect more in revenues, we invest more in capital, that raises the bottom line."

Highlights of the budget include some paying down of the debt, improvement of operating reserves and the maintenance of city services.

"For the fourth year in a row, the City Council has shown fiscal conservatism in holding down the budget," McKittrick said. "We’re still more than 20 percent down on our General Fund than we were four years ago. We’re investing more in capital than we have in the past, and we have met our goal for our fund balance and General Fund, which our bond-rating agency was concerned about four years ago. So we feel very positive about that."

Second Ward Alderman Richard Marks, who has at times taken a hard look at city spending, said after the meeting that he felt this was "a very well-prepared budget."

"We are living within our means," he said. "I’m happy we’ve finally reached our goals with the reserves. In my opinion, we’ve cut where we can. We’ve actually cut some staff, too. So I think we’re going in the right direction."

There were no comments from the audience during the public hearing.

 

Where the city cut back

  • Operating budgets were held as close to zero expenditure increases as possible, while implementing a rise in expenditures for fuel, liability insurance, group health insurance, and employee contractual and non-contractual wage increases.
  • General Fund operating reserves increased from 54 days in FY 2010-2011, to 64 days in FY 2011-2012, to 95 days in FY 2012-2013.
  • Staffing levels were reduced by an additional 3.5 full-time equivalents, including not replacing a retirement, two layoffs, and one reclassification from full-time to part-time.
  • This city will continue a general hiring freeze.
  • It will continue a voluntary furlough program.
  • There will be no education reimbursement.
  • No overnight travel will be reimbursed unless it is approved by the city administrator and considered essential.
  • The city will defer or scale back on some capital items.
  • It will continue to reduce non-emergency overtime.
  • It will limit expenditure for professional development.

 

Reducing Debt

 The city of Geneva has earned a Aa2 (double A-2) bond rating from Moody’s Investor Services. The City’s overall debt totals approximately $61,302,943 for both the General Fund and Enterprise Funds and the City has no current plans to issue additional bonds. The total debt service represents an approximate $1,456 debt per capita. The City Administrator has recommended that bonded and other debt be paid down substantially before incurring additional liability. The FY 2012-2013 Budget includes debt payments totaling approximately $3,409,385.

 

SOURCE: City of Geneva budget

Bob McQuillan April 17, 2012 at 03:09 AM
At first glance, I would agree with Alderman Marks, it appears the city administrator and her staff have done a good job living within their means. The $61.3 million in debt is a little scary but yearly repayment $3.4 million is livable. I do agree that there should be no increase in debt. As long as the city has asked for an increase in their tax levy from last, you property taxes due on June 1, 2012 will increase because revenue is based on the levy increase. Your assessment will decline while your property taxes increase. That situation will continue for at least 3 more years and probably more likely 5 years.

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