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How much will a village hall solution cost?



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Trustee Karen Bullock points to a hole in the basement at the Genoa City Village Hall.

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September 17, 2013 | 12:45 PM
GENOA CITY — Much of the discussion about how to solve the village hall dilemma has revolved around informal estimates.

But some village officials believe they will get a better idea of how much fixing or rebuilding the village hall will cost taxpayers Tuesday, Sept. 24, at a special joint meeting between the village board and the Village Hall Committee.

In emails last week, Trustee and Committee Chairwoman Karen Bullock stated there will be more than just village hall numbers that will be a part of the discussion. The meeting has not been posted on the village's website yet, but Bullock said the agenda will be finalized soon.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m., she said.

Bullock also said they will talk about the village's Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) district, which is expected to close at the end of the year. With it closing, officials have said it should provide taxpayers with enough relief that a village hall project wouldn't create much of a financial burden.

"At the meeting, we are expecting the final TIF audit, a presentation on paying our current TIF, tax levy for 2014 and options for capital project financing, and (architect) Jon Wallenkamp will be available to answer questions concerning a village hall/police department/community center project," Bullock said.

It's a controversial project.

Some village officials — including Bullock and Village President Bill Antti — have publicly supported the idea of doing something with the village hall, which reportedly is not up to code in several areas, does not meet the Americans With Disabilities Act or voting requirements and is in various states of disrepair.

So far, there has been no official action or any decision made as to what will be done, if anything, with the building.

As the committee and the board talked about remedy options, some residents believe the board will pursue building a new village hall.

They are opposed to such a project.

On July 11, a group submitted a petition to the village board calling for direct legislation, or a referendum vote, for projects that cost more than $500,000. Later that evening, the board adopted an ordinance which requires a referendum vote for projects that cost more than $2 million.

The village board also was investigated by the Walworth County Sheriff's Department for open meetings law violations.

In response to a records request from the Regional News, Bullock and Antti provided more than 600 pages of emails on the village hall issue.

In a May 5 email, Bullock asked Antti how best to find out what other board members think about the issue, and he suggested she poll board members "one on one."

Previously, Antti said during a phone interview that he regrets stating that to Bullock.

He said he's not trying to be sneaky or do anything illegal or immoral. Bullock and Antti said no board members were polled.

As for the village hall itself, on Aug. 19, there were tours of the current facility.

Last week, Bullock said the tours were posted on Facebook, the village community board, in brochures offered at the public library, during Genoa City Days and were mentioned in previous Regional News articles.

"In all, there were six people who attended the village hall tours, of which four were residents of the village," she said.

Bullock answered some questions via email about the Sept. 24 meeting, including what she expects and whether the board will decide that night what the village hall project will be.

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