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|Krohn (click for larger version)|
April 09, 2013 | 04:41 PMTwo city council members said their farewells to the city council on Monday.
Don Tolar, District 4 alderman, seemed eager to leave.
Nonetheless, he thanked the city departments and the council for their cooperation and help.
Alderwoman Arleen Krohn's goodbye seemed a bit more reluctant and bittersweet.
And she pointed out it took a redistricting to end her 12-year career on the council.
Krohn spoke first, recounting her time with the council and its accomplishments during those 12 years.
She was elected in 2001, when then-incumbent Alderman Dick Peterson decided not to run for re-election.
The remodeling of Walmart and the arrival of Home Depot and Target were among some of those changes over the years.
She named four mayors she served under, Spyro Condos, Charles Rude, Sheldon Shepstone and Jim Connors. The count was actually off by one, but for a reason.
"We had some good councils," Krohn said.
"And then we had the Chesen years," she said, referring to former Mayor Bill Chesen.
Judging from her comments, there are still some hard feelings.
Krohn was one of four aldermen Chesen removed from the city council for alleged misconduct. At the heart of the dispute was the four aldermen's opposition to a proposed development on 712 acres of vacant land on the south side of the city.
Council actions that delayed the proposed development resulted in lawsuits against the city by the developers. Those lawsuits were eventually settled for millions of dollars paid for by the city's insurance through the Wisconsin League of Municipalities.
The four aldermen were returned to the council after 60 days under a negotiated agreement.
But it cost the four aldermen about $12,000 each in unreimbursed legal fees
Krohn, the last of the four aldermen to leave the council, reminded the council that it decided not to reimburse the four aldermen for their legal fees.
"But they paid for Bill Chesen," she said. Chesen's legal fees were covered by the city's insurance.
Krohn mentioned her string of re-elections ended when redistricting took her out of District 3 and put her in District 4.
"The only way to get me off (the council) was to redistrict and put me in a different district," she said.
Tolar was first elected to the council in 2005 and served until 2011 when he was unseated by challenger Terry O'Neill. O'Neill resigned in May 2011, and Tolar was appointed to fill out O'Neill's term.
In addition to thanking city staff and council members, Tolar saved a special thank you for someone closer to him.
"To my wife, I'd like to thank her for eight years of patience and support," he said.
He then noted, "This is the longest speech I've ever given."
Both received certificates of appreciation from the mayor and city council.
When the council meets again, Sturges Taggart will be the new District 3 alderman, and Dennis Lyon will represent District 4.
In other council business:
n Some noises might be a nuisance, but joyful noises are an exception.
At its last meeting, the city council approved a new noise ordinance that requires all music and noise to be at a volume that it can't be heard at 75 feet or more from its source.
However, that would mute the music at the city's Venetian Fest and other outdoor celebrations and concerts.
To make sure those civic outbursts of melody can still be heard and enjoyed, the council unanimously approved an ordinance amendment that allows exemptions to the noise ordinance for all activities allowed by permits approved by the city.
The council then approved a temporary use permit to allow the Badger High School Jazz Ensemble to perform outdoors in front of the Lake Geneva Spice Co., 252 Center St., from noon to 4 p.m. April 28.
n Most of the special 25-minute parking stalls will disappear from the downtown under an ordinance revision approved by the council.
Of the seven 25-minute stalls on downtown streets, five will be converted to regular parking, with just two 25-minute stalls remaining on Wrigley Street near the library. "Those 25-minute stalls are more trouble than they're worth. It's time for them to go," said Alderwoman Sarah Hill. Hill chairs the council's Finance, License and Regulations Committee, which recommended the change.
Hill said 25 minutes is too short for most business and there is no free parking at the stalls, even for residents with a parking sticker.
The two 25-minute stalls at the library are set aside for patrons who are returning books.
Hill said those spots will remain until a better alternative is found.