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Free parking has come back to Lake Geneva. Yes!

Well, it’s almost free, at least temporarily. The next public works meeting of Lake Geneva will include “discussion and recommendation of recommending year-round parking enforcement.” Is it time to start recalling some of these irresponsible money-grubbing appointees and elected officials who want to take away free parking during winter months? This commission is also going to discuss charging for the current free shuttle service where people coming to town have been allowed to park outside the city (at Home Depot and Veteran’s Parkway). Is that outrageous, or what? This public works operation is out of control. Add to that is the discussion about the removal of the city administrator from the commission. Four citizens without any experience whatsoever are going to be making decisions about a budget the city has no control over or real knowledge about? This is a direct return of the “good old boys.”

Whose idea was all this? Four uninformed citizens controlling a multi-million-dollar part of the city budget that really isn’t accountable to the city at all? Then they also want the city administrator to be removed from meetings because he’s too busy for that kind of thing? Nobody’s talking about who’s behind this, but it certainly harkens back to the days of Winkler; the crooked opening of all bids; selecting friends and relatives to do the work; and the idiocy of the department of public works building parks and Bocce ball courts wherever it felt like it, with taxpayer money. Those things were done without the permission of the city administrator or the accountability normal governmental positioning and scrutiny would have provided. The former city administrator wanted the public works department to be placed under his ultimate guidance and direction, but the city council over-ruled any consideration of that great idea.

Today, the department of public works really reports to no one, just like before. It reports to a commission, a group of people who don’t ever

object to anything. Josh, the man in charge over there, is a great guy and a huge improvement over Dan Winkler, but how much trust should the taxpayers place in any one man?

The city council denied the motion put forth by council person Hedlund (to not keep the city administrator sitting on that commission). That was a great move by the council, but it needs follow-up. That department cannot be stand alone anymore. It now controls over two million dollars a year of collected funds from the taxpayers and many others who pay for those services. That the council turned down this proposal so handily, Mr. Hedlund failing to get a second, is an indication that quality sits in judgment among the alderpersons in Lake Geneva, and this could not have happened to, and for, the city at a better time.

Without the city administrator to rein in the department of public works, it is very likely the city will soon have paid parking and fines all the time, any time and for all time. People drive from Chicago, and many other places, to not be in Chicago, and many other places. They do not drive to Lake Geneva to pay the outrageous fees they pay in their own cities. The real discussion should not be about adding parking fees and enforcement. It should be about eliminating it entirely. By the time the city gets done paying for hugely expensive parking robots, the fees incidental to setting them up and servicing them, and then the salaries and benefits paid to the enforcement people, the city makes nothing on parking. Why is Lake Geneva endangering its small beating heart businesses, while also irritating locals and visitors for nothing? Whose brother-in-law owns the parking robot company?

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