FY25 Budget in Brief

Comprehensive Fiscal Planning is more than just an annual budget!

Message from City Manager

It is my pleasure to introduce the Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25) Budget in Brief. The FY25 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 FY25 budget maintains the high level of services the community has come to expect while proactively addressing the City’s long-term financial obligations, including accelerated infrastructure investment and public safety pension funding. These strategic initiatives continue to reduce long-term liabilities, benefiting the City of Lake Forest for years to come.

The FY25 budget continues to advance key organizational priorities within the context of long-term internal and external planning, a hallmark of Lake Forest City government.  This includes investments in the City’s most critical asset, its workforce.  FY25 will see the City transition from development to implementation of several long-term planning initiatives. An update to the City’s Strategic Plan is expected to be finalized by early fall. The final phase of updating the City’s comprehensive plan, specifically focusing on the housing chapter, will wrap up in late 2024 as well.  The City is currently evaluating the condition and capacity of existing public infrastructure in the Central Business District (CBD).  A public process is planned for FY25 to engage interested parties, business owners, property owners, and residents in creatively thinking about concepts for enhancing the pedestrian experience in the CBD.

Finally, a critical component of the City’s long-term planning efforts is the continued high level of capital investments within the FY25 budget.  In total, the FY25 budget contains $23.35 million in capital spending.  These investments, strategically targeted across all capital asset categories, help ensure the continued vibrancy of Lake Forest and limit financial liabilities for future City Councils and generations of residents.  Importantly, the City’s capital investment strategy continues to be bolstered by aggressive grant procurement efforts by City staff.  Over the past five years, the City has successfully obtained $19.5 million in outside grant funding for various capital improvement projects.

As a result of the many internal and external long-term planning exercises noted above, the City is well-positioned to continue our tradition of engaging in thoughtful, strategic decision-making in the years ahead.

Sincerely,

Jason Wicha

City Manager

Goals to our Citizenry

The City’s FY2018-FY2022 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 2025 covers the time period of May 1, 2024 through April 30, 2025. Below is a summary of the City-wide budget. Total forecasted revenue for FY25 is $116,824,395. The FY25 budget contains expenditures totaling $115,731,555. This figure reflects a decrease of $13.8 million (10.6%) compared to the FY24 projected expenditures, primarily due to the $16m Deerpath Park Improvement Project in FY24.

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 (53.6%) and other tax such as electric, gas, telecommuncation, etc. (8.71%), which accounts for 62.31% of budgeted FY25 Revenue of the General Fund.   

Total Budgeted - Expenses

The General Fund expenses by type are provided above. City personnel costs account for 73.21% 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 FY25 General Fund budget compare to prior years?

 

As part of the annual budget development, the City updates its Five Year CIP. The FY25-29 CIP totals $84.21 million.

 

The chart below shows FY25 Capital Investments totaling $23,350,000

FY 25 Highlight: Community-Wide Survey

View the 2023 Community-Wide Survey Findings

 

In the summer of 2023, the City of Lake Forest conducted a Community-Wide Survey to gather insights and perspectives from residents. To assist in the survey process, the City partnered with ETC Institute to administer and analyze survey data. The survey covered a range of topics, including community services, safety measures, infrastructure, recreational facilities, development preferences, and more. 

The seven-page survey was mailed to all households within the City of Lake Forest and the online survey was promoted across the City’s digital platforms (website, emails, social media, etc.). The results for the sample of 1,450 respondents have a 95% level of confidence with a precision of at least +/- 2.6%. There were no statistically significant differences in the results of the survey based on the method of administration (mail vs. online vs. phone).

n this section, you can go into further detail. Make your content more accessible by writing short sentences, choosing words and phrases you’d use when talking to a neighbor, and avoiding jargon

For additional information, View the City's FY25 Comprehensive Fiscal Plan

Questions may be directed to Finance Director Elizabeth Holleb at [email protected]