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Revenue generation during difficult times is of the utmost necessity.  The city needs to act, and act it can, to improve its diminished revenue position.

First, it can begin to tax cell phone companies that have towers in Lake Geneva (there are nine, at last count).  The Federal Law and funding that enabled the building of towers in rural areas not only didn’t require the towers to be turned on (the cell phone companies merely have to provide what they consider to be “adequate” service), it also allowed for no limit on taxation that communities might impose upon the placement and continuance of the towers. Lake Geneva’s cell phone towers are all turned off to save on electricity expenses.  Lake Geneva gets its service from Harvard, Elkhorn, and other more distant towers.  Lake Geneva should begin taxing turned off towers to the tune of a couple of thousand dollars a month when they are turned off.  The cell companies either turn their towers on, pay the tax, or pull the ugly things out.   There is no worst-case scenario here. Go for the money.  The worst that can happen, is that the city doesn’t get the money but gets great cell service for the entire area, which it has never had.

Second, instead of removing or denying access to the business property owners who’ve built parking slots adjoining the city’s alleys, but on their own property, tax them.  These owners are denying the city parking revenue because their spaces are not metered.   A thousand dollars a year to each owner for each space that adjoins an alley.  The one’s with barriers between the slots and the alleys would be exempt.

Third, raise the buoy and pier slot rentals for boats to the same level as private owners and companies charge for summer parking.  The city’s rental buoys and pier slots are among the most sought after and the most ambient in every way.  Charge for it.

The latest moves to improve the city’s revenue position have been voted on and passed. The two moves were weak in several ways, and this new city council kept a lot of people in waiting to see if real intelligent decisions would be made. Kids will now pay eight dollars to go to the beach in Lake Geneva. Eight dollars apiece, just like the adults. The original plan was to take adults from eight to ten dollars each, and then have the kids pay five instead of four bucks. What they decided is a travesty, not only against kids but a travesty against good judgment. It is anti-family, and it’s ungenerous and not in keeping with the spirit that Lake Geneva is supposed to be all about.

The second decision was about parking. The businesses on Wrigley and Main Streets, where the prime and highest density parking occurs in the summer, didn’t want to have higher fees charged in front of their businesses, instead, they wanted the same lower fee to be charged to every meter, no matter where located. These are the same businesses that make the highest returns, but no matter. The city council folded like an old worn cavalry blanket, and they folded twice, just like that.

Raising revenue is going to become ever more important as this COVID19 year goes on and such decisions are going to affect us all (vitally) in this city. Lake Geneva’s brilliant mayor got to decide nothing since there were no tie votes, and Dan Draper, much maligned by this paper in the past, is starting to come through like a voice of solid good reason.

The times they are a-changing.


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