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Josh, a newcomer to Lake Geneva, came to speak at the Committee of the Whole, at the people’s microphone.  Currently, the man and his wife are building a new house on LaSalle Court on the very western edge of the city limits.  It seems the contractor dug up an 8-inch water main. The trouble is that the water main was where it is supposed to be – in the city-approved easement for such things. The man explained that when he contacted the Utility Commission, the new director, Josh, said (according to the very verbal complainant) it wasn’t his problem. The homeowner (or the man trying to build the home over a buried water main) then calmly suggested that there was no need for an attorney, on his part.

Why would he bring that up if he does not intend to get an attorney and how can the council not take the mention of that as a threat?  This man wants the city to pay to have the water main moved to where it should have been in the first place, at least according to the plat map previously viewed and approved years before.  What action was taken by the city council? Although it was a Meeting of the Whole, wherein regular council decisions are not made and no votes are taken, the sitting members in attendance quickly referred the issue back over to Josh at the Utility Commission.

Josh, not being Dan Winkler at all, isn’t likely to take the matter lightly, and in fact, the testimony of the prospective new building homeowner doesn’t seem to hold much weight against the quality performance and diligence so far exercised by Josh in performing his tasks as head of the utility department.  Josh is going to have his hands full with this seemingly minor problem, because of decisions that were made, and action that was taken, years before he assumed control of the utility department.  The problem is bigger than it appears because the complainant, in this case, is only one of what could be a swelling litany of them.

You see, there is this real estate company that sold a whole string of lots adjacent to the property where the complainant is attempting to build. The water main runs eight feet under most of their properties.  They cannot build homes on top of a water main that is that close to the surface and, in fact, if the water main was down even deeper it still was required to have been revealed in the sales agreement the lot owners signed to acquire their properties.  Telephone calls were made to the Utility Department to attempt to make sure that Josh had not indeed fended off this homeowner in obvious utility trouble. Unfortunately, the woman who answers the phone at the department did not feel that the call from a Geneva Shore Report investigator working on this story rose to a “significant enough” level of importance for her to call Josh (who was not there) on his cell phone. When asked if she was a new employee she indicated that she was not, although her conduct gave every appearance that she might, indeed, be spending either her first (or last) day on the job. Josh is a great guy and a good leader of the department, so the GSR is going to assume that he will be all over fixing the homeowner’s problem while, at the same time, getting his own house in order.

What will happen to this problematic stretch of land and the people who’ve invested money to put up their homes there?  At this point it is anybody’s guess.


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