2024 Proposed Budget
This year's budget theme is: Sustaining Our Investments
In the year ahead, sustaining investments means that we have to honor the commitments that we have already made in response to some of the biggest challenges of our time: declining infrastructure; ongoing financial stressors for vulnerable populations; an unpredictable climate; and a lack of opportunities for those who want to live in our city.
This proposed spending plan recognizes that our community looks to their local government to provide the structural support for their daily lives. This spending plan supports this powerful work by giving our teams renewed, and in many cases, ongoing, funding.
As proud as I am of this proposal, its creation was not easy. The 2024 Recommended Budget represents a deep and collaborative effort to understand financial forecasts, assess community needs, weigh sometimes competing priorities, and make difficult choices. It also honors a commitment to maintain the tax rate at the 2023 level, with acknowledgement that costs have increased meaning some services may be removed or be redefined.
The decisions are challenging because we’re blessed with a workforce and highly engaged community who continually generate creative and enticing ideas to make local government even better.
While the possibilities for enhancing the City are endless, funding is not.
This is certainly true as we look to 2024. The availability of budgetary resources and additional revenues are balanced by slowing sales tax revenue growth, uncertainty around overall economic conditions, and our responsibility to fulfill many existing commitments to our community.
These commitments include continued funding for programs we have operated for many years while looking ahead at the future of our city. We’re acutely aware of the importance of maintaining and, in some cases, replacing, the infrastructure that serves our community. And we must continue to support our most valuable asset – our workforce.
These commitments require us to be especially prudent in the upcoming year – and likely for the next couple of years.
We should, of course, explore new sources of funding, but we cannot simply hope that revenues increase or that taxpayers will bless us with more. We need to examine all work with a critical eye as we budget for resilience. And as we gain better insights into programmatic outcomes, we must be willing to make courageous decisions to stop programs or services that are not meeting our expectations or are no longer necessary while looking to explore new and innovative ideas.
The 2024 Recommended Budget is a step in this direction.
A decision-making framework
The 2024 Recommended Budget represents movement towards the implementation of Budgeting for Resilience, or outcome-based budgeting. As we move into to 2024, we will lean into the work that has come before us to ensure that the City of Geneva focuses on our core values of ensuring that the city is beautiful, prosperous, equitable, connected, and sustainable.
In preparing their budget proposals, departments were required to connect their work to their current work projects while looking to the future of their work. In 2024, we will focus the work projects not only on day-to-day operations but on the possibilities ahead for the city, as well as ways to measure whether the outcomes are being achieved.
Departments were also asked to look at what smart reductions can be made under the perimeters requested by council to stay within the 2023 spending rate. Through on-going discussions many items did not make into the 2024 budget as we have to be prudent with our time and resources. This doesn’t mean that our departments are asking to frivolously spend our limited resources, it means that we have to define our why before moving any project forward.
Support for community priorities
Residents rely on local government for important day-to-day services, including clean drinking water, public safety, transportation, housing, parks and outdoor spaces to enjoy, recreation facilities, and more. This recommended budget supports the basic continuation of these core services, while also seeking to address many complex issues.
Investments in employees and infrastructure
To serve community successfully, local government requires talented people and well-maintained infrastructure.
While we applied a critical eye to requests on our employee resources, the proposed budget includes an additional 2.75 FTEs to address urgent needs in the organization. Combined with a reduction of positions that were vacant or never filled in 2023 we have established new positions geared at succession planning, supporting our community, and providing safe spaces for our workers and residents. We will also continue to allocate resources for increased labor costs, as well as increased professional and leadership development opportunities.
There are also unknown investments that will need to occur with our employees through the four collective bargaining agreements set to expire in 2024. As well as a management agreement that has held management at the same levels since 2009. These variables are extremely challenging to budget for, and are necessary to ensure that we maintain a high quality workforce.
Turning to infrastructure, the 2024 Recommended Budget will make several necessary – and exciting – projects possible.
- Implementation of Phase VI of the Lakefront Improvements
- Castle Street Reconstruction from Brook Street to West North
- Continuation of analyzing, cleaning, lining, and repairing of our sanitary and storm sewer systems through the City
- Replacement of old water meters with current technology
- Reviewing and upgrading our facilities to increase safety and sustainability
Realizing the Impact of Tough Decisions
As mentioned, our departmental teams were involved in many tough decisions in developing a budget that did not increase the tax burden on our residents. As we looked at spending patterns, ability to complete work, and what could be done department leaders had to decide on what we could tackle in the coming year. These decisions left behind over $17,000,000 worth of investments.
These projects are not completely lost as Departments will look to acquire resources for several projects through other means or partnerships. Some of the projects may appear in future years, when they will again be reviewed for completion within the economic parameters of the new year.
I applaud our departments for taking the time to make tough decisions while aligning their budgets with community priorities.
With this presentation of my second budget, I continue to see the possibilities ahead for our city. With our values in hand the next phase of work is to align these values under the leadership set by council through prioritizing our investments, measuring our impact, and understanding what the Geneva of 2024 and beyond will be. We have a vivid history and a bright future. As stewards of the community we must continue to make the tough decisions that will propel us forward.
In closing, I invite you to dive deeper into the 2024 Recommended Budget. I hope you will join me in feeling proud about the important work we have committed to, together, while also understanding the limited financial capacity the near future will hold. I am appreciative of the work of our City Comptroller, Deputy Comptroller, and all of our teams in providing stellar service to the community as we move beyond the limitations before us.
Thank you for placing your trust in me as your City Manager. It is truly an honor to serve the City of Geneva.
2024 Proposed Budget
2024 Budget Presentation
2024 Work Sessions