Accident waiting to happen:
As reported by an 88-year-old resident, the new middle (third) lane just finished on Highway 50 on Catholic Hill will be a disaster, because visitors will become impatient and drive down the center lane at high speed to by-pass the traffic. Well, at 9:30 am on Saturday morning, July 1st, while most motorists were stuck in traffic (on Hwy 50 between Wells and Curtis) an impatient motorist drove the length of the center lane at high speed to make a left turn at Wells street. Fortunately, there was no incident; however, there will be a head on collision in the center lane, it is just a matter of when. This is not the only problem with the new street. Even through the total street was widened, the most dangerous section of the road (the west bound lane, where the cars are parked by St. Francis Church), was narrowed by a foot. Parishioners who park there may consider praying for a safe parking stall exit, because it’s even more dangerous now than it was before the widening of the road. Another questionable area is the marking of the section of the center lane where there are turning arrows in opposite directions (both to turn right and to turn left). The markings make no sense, because there are no exits on the north side of the road in that section of the road, only on the south. This redesign was Dan Winkler’s last gift to the city, and it is going to keep on giving.

Here comes the judge.
Is the rumor actually true? Is Alderperson Elizabeth Chappell not running for another term as alderperson as she is considering running for Municipal Judge if the current Municipal Judge Henry A. Sibbing does not run for reelection next spring? It is hoped that Judge Sibbing, who has served the city well, will run for reelection next spring. But if he doesn’t, is there anyone who will run in opposition to Ms. Chappel? Probably not. If elected will Mrs. Chappell knit while court is in session, as she has done during city council meetings as 1st District Alderman? There are no laws prohibiting her from running for the City of Lake Geneva Municipal Court Judgeship, and if elected there are no laws that prohibit her from serving as the City of Lake Geneva Municipal Court Judge. There is also no law that prohibits her from knitting while court is in session, so if she runs, and is unopposed, this kind of eccentric knitting alderperson will be the city’s next Municipal Court Judge. If she is elected Municipal Court Judge. There is no question that times have changed and that people like Ms. Chappell, regular citizens who simply might benefit from a bit of counseling, now run entire governmental structures.

While you weren’t looking.
If you own a house in City of Lake Geneva, then you received your yearly notice that your property assessment went up, which means your 2017 taxes just went up. If you are an investor or developer who owns land in the City of Lake Geneva, and there are no listed improvements on it, then you probably did not get a notice, because your property assessment was not increased this year, last year, or the year before, and going back 10 years or more. Assessments on open undeveloped land have been frozen, at least since the city hired Accurate Appraisal LLC. Note: That’s that name in the small printing on your notice (8 pt. font) after “Assessor.”

The first assessor the city had from Accurate Appraisal was dismissed for questionable dealings in another community, but it is their whole biased system of freezing the assessment of land and putting all increases in fair market value on the property’s improvements that is deceptive, misleading and dishonest. This is a blatant loophole for the wealthy. If there are no improvements, then assessments never go up, even when the value of the property goes up, because the land assessment values are frozen. Furthermore, since the improvements are listed at “0”, any percent increase is also “ZERO.” So if you are a developer or investor who has invested in, or purchased land, the assessed value of that land never goes up, and if there are no listed improvements, then the total value property assessment never goes up. How would you like to have your total assessment frozen the day you bought your property? Your assessment would be the same as it was in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, or whenever you bought your house. Although the GSR has not been able to verify it, it is believed that the assessed value of the land has been frozen because the state’s constitution limits property taxes (taxes on the land itself) to a maximum of 2%, but there is no limit on the tax on the improvements on that land. The whole process of freezing the value of the land, but not the improvements, is a double insult. It provides a big break for developers and land investors, while it puts the screws to residents who end up paying their share, plus paying the share that the developers and investors should be paying. That applies to those who live in the City of Lake Geneva regardless of whether or not you own a house, or rent in the city, because if you own the property you pay the taxes directly; whereas, if you rent you pay indirectly.

Cartoon by Terry O’Neill

Cartoon by Terry O'Neill

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