FY23 Budget in Brief

Comprehensive Fiscal Planning is more than just an annual budget!

Message from the Mayor

Message from City Manager

It is my pleasure to introduce the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Budget in Brief. The City’s FY23 budget is balanced, with all operating expenditures covered by current revenues, and capital expenditures financed by current revenues and reserves in excess of the City Council’s Fiscal Policy. Importantly, the budget proactively addresses the City’s long-term financial challenges, including accelerated infrastructure investment and further enhancement of public safety pension funding. These strategic initiatives will reduce long-term liabilities, benefiting the City of Lake Forest for years to come. Capital investments are precisely targeted in the most needed areas following a comprehensive and objective analysis of the City’s assets. Finally, the City continues to maintain strong fund balance levels as an important tool to mitigate future risks.

FY23 offers renewed hope for a return to relative normalcy. With most State of Illinois restrictions recently lifted, there is optimism that COVID-19 may soon enter an endemic phase in our region, bringing increased stability after two years of volatility and unpredictability. The last two years have demonstrated our resilience and agility in ensuring continuity of service operations despite a myriad of employee and community health challenges and the unpredictability of ever-changing conditions. As we move into FY23, our organization will embrace a forward-looking perspective, reemphasizing long-term internal and external planning that is a hallmark of Lake Forest city government.


Jason Wicha

City Manager

Goals to our Citizenry

The City’s FY2018-FY2023 Strategic Plan sets forth six priority goal areas.

Strategic plan icons appear throughout the City’s Comprehensive Fiscal Plan to denote Strategic Plan initiatives.


City of Lake Forest: Overview

The City is required to account for revenues and expenses using fund accounting. This ensures that restricted revenues are used for their intended purposes. The City’s Fiscal Year 2023 covers the time period of May 1, 2022 through April 30, 2023. Below is a summary of the City-wide budget.

Total Budgeted - Revenues

Total Budgeted - Expenses

City of Lake Forest: General Fund

The General Fund is the primary operating fund of the City, includes most of the City’s personnel and is used to account for unrestricted revenues.

Total Budgeted - Revenues

The chart above shows the General Fund revenues by type. The City is heavily reliant on property taxes, which accounts for 54.40% of budgeted FY23 Revenue of the General Fund

Total Budgeted - Expenses

The General Fund expenses by type are provided above. City personnel costs account for 73.34% of General Fund expenses. See additional data on personnel later in the report.

General Fund Expenses by Department

City of Lake Forest: Department Breakdown

Use the Windows box below to scroll through our departmental data!

General Fund Historical Trends

How does FY23 General Fund budget compare to prior years?

As part of the annual budget development, the City updates its Five Year CIP. The FY23-27 CIP totals $41.1 million.

The chart below shows FY23 Capital Investments totaling $14,375,848

FY 23 Highlight: Forest Park Beach

A crown jewel in our community collection of assets, Forest Park Beach has belonged to the Lake Forest residents since the City’s incorporation in 1861, a gift from the Lake Forest Association. In the early 1980s, record high Lake Michigan water levels and years of erosion had decimated the beach and threatened the bluff. The Shoreline Restoration Advisory Committee was formed in November 1984. In March 1986, 76% of Lake Forest voters approved an $8.5 million bond issue to fund improvements to the beach. The project was completed in time for a May 25, 1987 grand opening.

Over the 35 years since, Lake Forest has once again seen the impacts of Lake Michigan water levels and erosion. The City Council has approved significant reinvestment in the park, beach and bluff over the past ten years, coupled with $3.1 million in private donations. Forest Park was improved and reopened in June 2015. The North and South beach access roads have been replaced and re-engineered due to the need to stabilize the bluff. In FY23, the City will proceed with $3.4 million in Forest Park Bluff Slope Stabilization and $325,000 in Forest Park Beach restoration. Additional improvements are planned for FY24-27, including replacement of the beach playground equipment, and efforts continue to seek funding for the replacement of the Forest Park Trail/Boardwalk.

For additional information, click here to view the City's FY23 Comprehensive Fiscal Plan

Questions may be directed to Finance Director Elizabeth Holleb at hollebe@cityoflakeforest.com