“The Fire Hydrant Rental Fee.”

A memo in the city council’s packet, listed some of the facts involved in transferring the payment of $229,000.00 in “fire hydrant rental fees” from a city obligation, to a water user obligation. There seems to be little point in disputing the implementing of the memo, it’s pretty simple. But explaining the financial impact that it will have on the city’s residents is a bit more difficult. The current process is that the city collects property tax money and uses some of it for the “fire hydrant rental fee”, and gives the rest of it to the Fire Department, that in turn gives the remaining money to the Lake Geneva Water Department to pay the “fire hydrant rental fee” it charges.

Transferring the “fire hydrant rental fee” indirectly to taxpayers, through a charge on everyone’s water bill, is supposed to be justified because it would cover some of the cost of the tax exempt businesses and non-resident water users, like the Grand Geneva and other non-profits tied into the city that use city water.

Currently, taxpaying residents foot the entire bill through property taxes. At first glance this new change may sound okay. But the real effect of transferring the payment of the $229,000.00 “fire hydrant rental fee” from a city obligation, to a water user’s obligation, is oxymoronically predicted to cause an average increase of $52 to $70 per year to be added to city water bills. So much for saving money! This addition would be on top of the approximate thirty-six percent (36%) increase the utility department is currently asking for.

Why are the X-Files investigators of the Geneva Shore Report looking at this so closely?
Maybe because trust is not something that is a part of their job description.
But more likely it’s due to the history of the players running the city of Lake Geneva, in concert with the utility department, not always performing honorably in the past.

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