Proposed Geneva budget would add planning worker, firefighter

The city of Geneva wants to add a full-time assistant city planner, in part to deal with an increase in project applications and permits.

It also plans to add a full-time firefighter, as agreed in its contract with the firefighters’ union. In addition, the city plans to give as much as $50,000 to the Geneva History Museum.

Those planned expenditures are part of the proposed $112.5 million 2022-23 budget, which was unveiled Monday night during the City Council committee meeting. The spending plan will take effect May 1.

As usual, much of the spending -- $72.9 million -- is in the electric, water/sewage, garbage, commuter parking and cemetery operations. These are enterprise funds supported by user payments -- not property taxes.

The city plans to spend $1 million to buy land near the downtown Metra stop. It may purchase the commuter train station and a parking lot from the Union Pacific railroad, which last year put more than 40 such stations and parking lots in the Chicago area up for sale.

The money for the history museum would come from the city’s hotel/motel tax. The museum would receive one-fifth of the tax collected each month.

The proposed budget expects $5.56 million in property taxes and $5.2 million in sales taxes.

The assistant city planner would replace part-time college interns. Community Development Director David DeGroot said planning and zoning applications have doubled, leaving little time for the department to work on projects such as reviewing city codes and “aging” plans.

Aldermen Brad Kosirog and Gabriel Koven said the history museum should get less. It would be the first time in recent memory the city gives to an outside group, other than the distributions it makes each year from its mental-health property tax levy.

The 2021-22 budget approved $102.2 million in spending. City officials project, however, that the city will spend about $81.9 million by the end of the fiscal year in April.

A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for the Feb. 7 city council meeting.

The proposed budget is available at city hall, 22 S. First St., and on the city’s website,