Again on Aug. 13, the Elgin City Council bent over and folded their cards approving the GVC proposed lease agreement changes.
This left Elgin with an approximate budget deficit of $300,000 to $400,000 annually. This, on top of the projected revenue shortfall in gaming proceeds of $850,000 as Councilman Gavin pointed out. So now we're faced with an approximate $1.2 million deficit going forward into the 2015 budget.
The GVC Marketing Director stated, "Ideas include expanding parking, building a hotel next door, and building a permanent or semi-permanent entertainment venue at Festival Park."
Well, Elgin citizens, all that costs money. Why would the GVC cite loss and lower revenue, and request lease renegotiations, all while exploring expensive growth plans? Ask yourselves, if they had plans to build and expand, increasing their own revenue in the process, why didn't they 10 or 15 years ago when there was more casino revenue and a stronger economy?
Straight talk and tough decisions need to be made by Elgin Council and its citizens regarding the upcoming 2015 budget talks. How is Elgin going to make up for this loss? Is this council prepared to raise taxes on an already economically strapped citizenry in an election cycle?
What will they cut back on or cut out altogether? Will we start to track down the nickel and dime debtors to the city? Will the current pass through city tax on our electric bill increase from 5 percent to 10 percent or will they just approve the raiding of the $12 million surplus to cover these losses year after year without addressing the deficit/spending problem?
Citizens, what are you willing to cut back on or cut out altogether? Raising taxes is not an option for me.
Call your council member and voice your opinion.