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City honors officers and civilians

May 26, 2016

Exemplary and prompt actions taken during a January residential fire on Elm Street led to officers and citizens receiving awards during the Lake Geneva Police Department’s awards ceremony earlier this month.

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LG City Council mulls sales tax referendum

May 26, 2016

Lake Geneva City Council members may want to dip their collective toes in the city voting pool to see whether voters would support a premier resort tax here. ...subscribers>>

TIF closure windfall to go to equipment replacement fund

May 26, 2016

Closing the Lake Geneva Tax Increment Finance district will probably not result in any immediate property tax savings for city residents.
What it will do, however, is reduce the city’s need to borrow and keep city property taxes from growing, said City Administrator Blaine Oborn.

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LG Fire chief retires

May 26, 2016

Brent Connelly is no longer Lake Geneva fire chief.
Connelly left the Lake Geneva Fire Department on May 13, said City Administrator Blaine Oborn. The chief left without a public announcement and without fanfare.

City Council fills vacant District 2 alderman seat

May 26, 2016

A newcomer was appointed to fill the vacant chair in aldermanic District 2.
The Lake Geneva City Council on Monday voted unanimously to appoint Edward F. “Ted” Horne, 626 Geneva St. Horne is a 10-year Lake Geneva resident and a former member of the Lake Geneva Plan Commission.
The chair was vacated when Alan Kupsik was elected mayor.

Recent Lake Geneva News
Author recounts tracing lives of ‘Born Survivors’
May 19, 2016

As a newspaper reporter and author, Wendy Holden is a story teller.
But the story told in her most recent book, “Born Survivors,” was totally unexpected, she said.

Building projects on Edwards get approval
May 19, 2016

Plans for five new buildings on the city’s east side were approved by the Lake Geneva Plan Commission on Monday.

Lake Geneva’s Mayor Kupsik takes the reins
May 19, 2016

Alan Kupsik’s rise to the mayor’s chair has been anything but meteoric.
He was a county supervisor for two terms. He served on the Lake Geneva Board of Park Commissioners and the Plan Commission.
He lost one race for alderman, but in 2011 he ran for District 2 alderman and won. He won re-election in 2013 and was unopposed when he ran again in 2015.
In 2014, he unsuccessfully ran against Republican incumbent Tyler August for the 32nd District state Assembly seat.
Earlier this year, after Mayor Jim Connors announced his noncandidacy, it appeared that Kupsik would face Alderwoman Sarah Hill in a contested race for the center chair in the council chambers.
But Hill withdrew and ran for re-election to her District 4 seat. She was defeated by Cindy Flower.
Kupsik said he was disappointed Hill decided to not run for mayor. The city’s top spot should be a contested race, he said.
Nonetheless, when he spoke with a reporter earlier this month, Kupsik was dealing with the daily issues that befalls most mayors, public washrooms that need repairing and trees that need replanting.

Kupsik said the current council is a good one. Aldermen Bob Kordus, Chris Gelting, Rich Hedlund and Ken Howell all have good financial backgrounds, he said.
Newcomer Cindy Flower is a state Department of Transportation engineer and has considerable experience on the plan commission.
Doug Skates is another council newcomer, who has had considerable experience on the park board and plan commission.
Meanwhile, the council will consider applicants to take over Kupsik’s former chair on the council.
For the immediate future, the city’s financial situation looks bright, Kupsik said. “Jim left us in excellent shape,” he said, complimenting his predecessor, Connors.
All of the city departments are in good working order, as well, he said.
Kupsik has already accomplished his first goal. He presided over the closing of the city’s Tax Increment District 4. All of the final TIF funded projects are lined up and proceding with money set aside in escrow.
Making sure the TIF projects are completed is the second goal, Kupsik said.
The city is still doing what it can to alleviate the tight fit between parking demands and available space, Kupsik said.

Find more parking
“If we sit back and don’t do anything about parking, we’ll be a horse’s butt,” Kupsik said. He said the city’s parking manager, Sylvia Martinez-Mullally, is doing an outstanding job finding land for more city parking lots.
The city council most recently decided to purchase a lot at 227 S. Lake Shore Drive which will add between 44 and 50 new parking spaces.
He said the city now has a plan to put aside money for city equipment and vehicles.
“If we can reasonably turn over equipment, it will help,” Kupsik said.
In the past, the city often waited until a piece of equipment or vehicle was so old, that repairs and maintenance were costing more in the long run than just replacing it, he said.
There are some challenges coming, Kupsik said. In 2017, the city will lose room tax money, when the city has to give 70 percent of its room tax income to the Geneva Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, now VISIT Lake Geneva.
The loss could be as much as $400,000 to $500,000 a year, he said.
“We’re going to take a hit,” he said.
However, the city is pushing hard to become a premier resort area, which would allow the city to collect a half-percent sales tax to pay for infrastruction maintenance, largely streets and roadways.
The city faces an uphill fight there. To become a premier resort area, the city will need legislative assistance, but the area’s two legislators, state Sen. Stephen Nass and state Rep. Tyler August have said they’re both opposed to creating a special sales tax in their districts.
Talks with the two legislators is on-going Kupsik said.
Meanwhile the city council is continuing to review its committee system, to see if there is any way to streamline it.
At present, it appears the continued existence of the communications committee is up in the air, Kupsik said. And the tree board and avian committee may be made subcommittees of the park board.
“Do we waste a lot of time with meetings? We probably do,” Kupsik said.
He said city staff also puts in a lot of time on agendas and minutes. That workload can be cut back with a more rational committee system, he said.
On the other hand, the council and mayor have said they don’t want to cut back on citizen participation in city government.
The city’s utility commission is also going through some procedural changes.
There will still be separation between the council and utility commission, Kupsik said. But, the utility finances will come under city council review, he said.
Asked about the 720-acre Hummel property on the city’s south side, Kupsik said he doesn’t expect much to happen there in the foreseeable future.

Updated: Warrant issued for Melges
May 19, 2016
Michalene Melges and her three sons were found this morning in Savannah, Georgia.Lake Geneva Police Lt. Ed Gritzner said a tip to the department led to contact with the mother.
Officers trained in crisis intervention
May 12, 2016

Threats were made.
Implications of violence were voiced.
LaVern Jones’ comments, made in a Clinton bowling alley on a Sunday, about having a sniper rifle in a case he was carrying were taken seriously enough that police were called.

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