The tourism commission awarded the city about $167,000 to help pay off the Riviera renovation debt

The Lake Geneva Tourism Commission has agreed to give the city about $167,000 to help pay off debt for the Riviera beautification project.

Tourism commission members on Oct. 10 unanimously approved transferring $167,375 from the tourism fund to the city’s debt service fund to help repay money the city borrowed to complete renovations to the Riviera building.

“This is to offset some of the cost of the city’s general fund for Riviera renovations,” said City Administrator Dave Nord.

City aldermen approved a bond sale of about $9.42 million in 2020 to borrow the same amount to help pay for the Riviera renovation project, which is completed in 2021, and other future projects.

The $167,375 won’t be transferred to the debt service fund until next year, but tourism commission chairman Brian Waspi said the transfer must be approved now, so the city can include the funding in the 2023 budget.

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“Technically, it’s in next year’s budget, but we’re doing it now because it affects taxes and timing,” Waspi said. “In fact, it will be transferred in 2023.”

Nord said city officials are in the process of working on the 2023 budget. The budget is expected to be approved in November.

“The budget process is now, and that number has to be approved or denied by the tourism commission, so we can put it in the budget,” Nord said.

The tourism commission approved transferring nearly $200,000 from the tourism fund to the city’s debt service fund in October 2021 to help pay off debt for Riviera renovations.

Waspi said giving the city money to help pay off the Riviera project’s debt helps reduce the city’s projected property tax increase in the coming years. The tourism commission receives funding from room taxes.

“We use out-of-town taxpayer money to keep the mill rate low,” Waspi said.

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