The Lake Geneva City Council passed wind.
Ordinance 16-07, within which, except for setting the registration fees, the city council gave away all of its administrative and fee setting authority for work on city property and over the city’s right of ways to the department of public works. However, if you go to the city’s website and look for the department of public works, you won’t find it. No, not anywhere. You can find the administration department, the finance department, the street department, the fire department; the police department, the building department, and so on, but no public works department is listed anywhere.
So, where is this unlisted city department? Who in it has the authority to issue and approve permits that do not require notification to the city council, or any further approval from the city council for a company to plow under the city’s right of way to install cables and any number of above the ground termination boxes and access points? There is a public works committee, but a committee is a recommending body without authority to issue permits. Perhaps the strangest part of this whole investigation is that the department of public works of the City of Lake Geneva is the most powerful and influential department in the City of Lake Geneva. It initiates, drives, creates and oversees almost all new projects, but it is nowhere listed on the City’s website.
Is it because it works behind the scenes in secrecy and stealth so that if a problem like “giving away free salt” is found out, the investigation ends at the street department because like the dashed line on the city’s organizational chart the department of public works only exists on paper? City Administrator Utah Blaine is committed to clearing this kind of secretive nonsense up by hauling the fictitious department of public works into the city fold. The GSR could not be more behind him in this monumental effort.
Say what? Do what? An approval was given to pay the engineering firm, Kapur and Associates on Monday night. The decision took a weird turn with Horne and Gelting coming in to the rescue. Kapur spent an extra $466. On their contract Utah Blaine wanted to take the money to pay the bill from the general fund rather than the TIF escrow. He also didn’t want to enforce the ‘change order clause’ already in the contract (that clause does not allow changes that involve extra billings). Mayor Kupsik was quick to jump up to the mic (without a proper motion to speak) to set the record straight by saying “why don’t we just silly hilly approve things over budget.” It was noted by Blaine that two other projects are continuing and neither have the ‘no changes’ order attached to them or are bound by it. That company with those special contracts is called Humphrey’s, the people doing the Riviera extravaganza and the BigFoot shoreline repairs.
Ridiculous expenses? Paid on Monday night: $12,000 to repaint an ambulance (purchased from Darien).
There will, no doubt, be wild yellow and red flames hand-painted on the sides of this ambulance. What else (other than possibly a four hundred percent profit, or so) could explain such a charge? Has Earl Scheibe gone out of business down in Chicago? Please!
Here’s another goodie: $28,000 first draw from TIF escrow for signs (no labor charge yet).
Maybe signs in front of Lake Geneva City Hall indicating “City Council” with a big arrow pointing straight up.
Or maybe straight down.
Alderperson Gelting weighed in on the TIF expense for the theatre: the obligation is not being paid until there is approved progress on the renovation. Yes! Utah Blain did later state that Lake Geneva’s building inspector is right there every day checking and verifying progress. Maybe the place deserves to be called the Ken Robers Theater, if he approves it. Ken is one tough cookie who is doing honest and solid work on behalf of everyone in Lake Geneva.
A Positive Upgrade