Gurnee's finances in the black despite dip in sales tax receipts
Gurnee finished the 2018 fiscal year in the black despite sales tax revenue being down from the year before.
The village expected an $870,632 deficit but ended up with a surplus of $289,185.
Careful spending by the village seems to have been the difference. Finance Director Brian Gosnell said the village finished the fiscal year spending more than 3 percent less than budgeted.
Jack Linehan, the assistant to the village administrator, said much of the belt-tightening was related to personnel.
"We've been smart with replacing employees after turnover or retirements," Linehan said. "We've looked at any cost-saving measure we can."
The village collected $443,134 less in sales tax during the 2018 fiscal year, which began May 1, 2017, compared to the fiscal year 2017. That's about 2.39 percent less than what was budgeted and 2.53 percent less than what it collected last fiscal year.
"Sales tax is the biggest concern," Gosnell said during a presentation to the village board this week.
Mayor Kristina Kovarik in the past has cited the increase in online shopping as a reason for the dip in sales revenues.
Sales tax revenue is of particular importance to Gurnee, which does not levy a property tax. About 45 percent of the village's general fund revenue comes from sales taxes.
Even with the dip in sales taxes, the village's revenues finished almost exactly on budget, Gosnell said.
Linehan said the historic flooding the village experienced last year forced the village to spend approximately $100,000 in unanticipated employee overtime, cleanup supplies and trash removal.
There are reasons to believe the village's sales tax receipts will be better in the future. Great Wolf Lodge opened last week, filling the space Key Lime Cove left in March 2016.
Gosnell said the village anticipates Great Wolf to contribute around $550,000 to the general fund annually. Gosnell added officials anticipate Great Wolf will bring more visitors to the village which will generate more revenue as well.
Additionally, the village board in March voted to increase its amusement tax from 3 percent to 4 percent and the hotel tax from 5 percent to 6 percent. The increases, which went into effect May 1, are expected to generate about $1 million annually in extra revenue.