Geneseo Council hears preliminary financial projections

Beth Welbers
Geneseo Republic
Geneseo City Hall

The Geneseo City Council met Tuesday night, February 9.  

In response to Councilmen who wanted the City to put together some kind of "Plan" to avoid the pangs of tax increases in the future, Mayor Sean Johnson, in conjunction with Jo Hollenkamp, City Administrator, and Jamie Matthews, City Finance Director, worked to put together a preliminary financial projection.  

The report, using historical financial information from 2017 through 2020, for revenues and expenses, projecting through 2025.  Adjustments were made to revenues to reflect the increase in the tax levy, but did not include the 1/4 of 1% sales tax increase referendum that is on the April ballot. Adjustments  were made to expenses to reflect normal increases in costs.  Cited expense increases were 10% for health insurance, 2% for cost of living raises, and 1% for all other expenditures. 

Passing the sales tax referendum could potentially add $220,000 to $240,000 annually to city revenues.

The financial report showed future revenues as moderately flat, with expenses at a steady increase.  in 2024, at this rate, expenses will outpace revenues, and the City will be operating in deficit.  At this point, the Mayor challenged the Council to think outside the box regarding revenue streams.  Hollenkamp called the report a high level overlook, citing that in the past, focus has been 99% on expenses and 1% on revenues. 

City Administrator Jo Hollenkamp then offered the idea of bonding the police pension debt.  This will require additional research, and she hoped to have more information at a later meeting.  She felt that a lot of money could be saved over the long run. 

In other business, capital projects are on track.  The Cherry Street Lift Station should go out for bids next week, and the Northeast drainage project should begin as soon as the weather breaks. 

The proposed sale of the cell tower has two offers. Hollenkamp noted that in the next few weeks she should be able to return to the Council with a solid offer.  The proceeds of the sale would be used to increase the City's necessary reserves. 

The Council also agreed to lease the unused portion of the City's parking lot to Geneseo Brewing for $500 per year.  The pub intends to add a semi permanent structure to the back of their building for outdoor dining, with the ability to allow access to utilities that are underground, in the event of needed repairs.