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Jive, Jive, and More Taxes

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City of Lake Geneva Wisconsin 03.23.2009

City council unanimously approves all TIF projects of $14.5M and adds another $1.5 to $1.9M that was recommended by staff. This brings the total to $16.2M.  Gary Dunham makes the motion, seconded by Tolar, to approve all documents from the staff and send them on to the TIF consultant Susan Hoeft of Vandewalle and Associates who will prepare the TIF Amendment in proper form.

Gary Dunham said that “We will get an idea what the budget is and get the projects done as soon as possible and release as soon as possible. We will do it from an escrow account as soon as all the funds come in for it.”

Currently the city has $7.3M in the TIF slush fund and will have about $9M at end of 2009. Tom Spellman wanted to add projects till we get to the $9M and than close TIF in 2010. With a total of $16.2M the TIF will continue to tax the city of Lake Geneva residents for another 7 to 8 years.

City Administrator Jordan said that after the documents are put in proper form they will go to planning and zoning for a public hearing and then come back to the council to be approved. The council than can cut any projects.

This is a good example of politicians talking one way and doing the opposite. The TIF pigs will have another 8 years to feed out of your pocket. If the TIF district was closed, property taxes could be between 12 and 18% lower, if all the taxing jurisdictions passed on the saving.

TIF funds are supposed to be used for projects that will increase the tax base.  According to long time TIF critic, former Alderman Ed Yeager, “nothing on this project list has anything to do with increasing the tax base.”  He went on to point out that in the last three years “the citizens have contributed $15M (in higher taxes) to the two districts. If it is not closed the citizens will get nailed for another $3M next year.” Mayor Chesen once again forced Mr. Yeager to stop criticizing TIF after 5 minutes.

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