LAKE GENEVA RUNS OUT OF MONEY
What happened? Say again, what happened?
Somehow, through all the machinations of the TIF4 tussles to see where that money was going to be spent and figuring out that a TIF5 would be a bad idea, the barn door was left open and the horses ran off. The city is in deficit. It cannot pay the money it owes to keep everything going unless it plays with some of that leftover TIF4 stuff, which it’s not supposed to do, raise taxes and fees or comes up with some new solution to fix the problem.
Unlike the federal government it cannot print more money to cover its unpaid debts. The first solution on the table of the city council and mayor is all about parking. You read the rumor in the Geneva Shore Report a few weeks back. The rumor was about graduated parking fees being charged. The closer one might park to the water the more the parking would cost. Nobody in all of city hall thinks there would be any problem collecting increased fees of this kind. The parking would go all the way from a dollar an hour to three dollars an hour on Wrigley Drive, maybe two bucks on Main Street. And nobody in city hall in any leadership position sees any problem with respect to how mad the citizenry might get about such outrageous fees, especially when they find out that those additional fees are not covered by their resident parking passes.
What about spending, and why is it that spending is the last way considered for raising revenue? If the city does not spend in some
areas, then it could pay in others. What comes to mind, other than stealing money from Lake Geneva employees for their medical or other benefits? How about sod? How about bushes? How about new trees? Yes, we are writing about the “improvements” that were recently completed at the northern end of the Riviera Pier complex. Those were done so that the area could look almost exactly like it did before, but provide a contractor with a super healthy profit from putting it all in. Amazingly, without that one project, the city would have balanced its budget. For some reason, the City of Lake Geneva considers this kind of thinking to be accounting rocket science.
Whom would have thought it? It is about time that Lake Geneva’s representatives figured out that they were elected mostly to say no. That’s right, NO.
No to new taxes, unless those taxes pay for something vitally, really vitally, needed.
No to new fees to be paid by residents, but disguised as fees that the visitors will pay. The RAT, or resort area tax would be paid by locals, for the most part. So, no new RAT. The city already has plenty of old rats laying around. The parking meters can be changed to charge Chicago visitors up the proverbial chute because they pay three times that, or more, on Michigan Avenue or down in the Loop. And they are visitors, whom most Lake Geneva residents love to hate, the fact that they love to hate them, but really need them.
There is a mantra that needs to be drilled into every person who sits in a position of authority in Lake Geneva: “Balance the Budget and Pay the Bills First, and Always.” What is left can go for skateboard parks, tennis courts, new landscaping, pavilions in all the parks and badminton courts out on the ends of the Riviera piers for that matter. So, go ahead and change the rates charged on the meters. The new system was set up to do just that. Get the money faster, in more forms, and get more of it. But do not charge the local residents, or they will eventually come for you.