Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor by Ed Yaeger, former Lake Geneva alderperson.

This public record report has to do with concerns and opinions from friends, neighbors, taxpayers, and historians, about the proposed annexation, with zoning changes, of the Geneva Inn with adjacent property. The consensus was that this annexation proposal is a bad and dangerous idea. Not one person offered support. It’s not good for our Linn Township neighbors, not good for Geneva Lake, and certainly not good for our City. How could any thinking person believe that the creation of a sprawling, competing lakefront banquet facility, along with Hummelville, dominating the southern entry to Button’s Bay, would be good for our premier tourist city? It just doesn’t make sense. It could set precedent for lake-wide shore land degradation.

We are fortunate to be attached to a portion of this glorious clear water Geneva Lake and as one of its stewards, must continue to offer leadership for its protection and preservation. There are concerns about possible reasons for the administration pushing so vigorously to accomplish this annexation. Lack of public reporting and transparency are also troubling. We can explore one possible reason. TIF #4 was closed. Normal closure benefits that would allow subsequent property tax reduction, just faded away. The millions returned from the Increment Surplus Fund, budget elimination of the annual increment charge, along with the allowed use of the 20-year district tax base increase, apparently had little or no effect on lowering the property tax rate.

And now new borrowing has begun. It appears that the City of Lake Geneva has a spending problem. To use an ill-advised annexation as a “band aid” approach to solve a spending problem is asking for trouble. Already, new expenses are occurring for legal services (using money that we don’t have and apparently not budgeted). Then, there is the problem of the threatened legal challenge. We don’t need another court case with all the legal expense and further loss of City image and character. In conclusion, please vote NO to the proposed annexation that could destroy our beautiful corner of the world and put us on track for urban sprawl extension.

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