Road extension moving forward in Lake Geneva
The city council Monday night approved the purchase of 20 acres from WE Energies that’s in the path of the extension. It also approved the demolition of a building on the property and cleanup and proper disposal of building materials.
City Administrator Dennis Jordan said the city will spend about $2.5 million on the boulevard extension. About $600,000 will come from a developer, and about $375,000 will come from special assessments on a property owner along the road, he said. The city will cover the remaining $1.53 million with money from its tax incremental finance district, he said.
City officials have said the extension, which voters approved in a referendum almost two years ago, is expected to improve safety and ease traffic on Highway 12 while making travel through the city easier.
Jordan said the city needs only about 3 acres of right-of-way for the extension, but WE Energies offered the 20-acre parcel for a good price, he said.
The council Dec. 21 approved the purchase to meet an end-of-the-year deadline set by the energy company. The council Jan. 11 again approved the purchase, but a couple council members questioned why the council didn’t vote on a resolution to transfer money from the reserve fund.
Alderwoman Mary Jo Fesenmaier said she would vote against spending money from the reserve fund because she is concerned with how city staff handled the process.
“I really feel like we had opportunities to do this correctly,” she said.
Jordan said allegations that city staff have not followed proper procedures are wrong.
“Staff are getting concerned that they didn’t do something right,” he said. “This (process) has been dysfunctional. … It’s just been a fight all the way. … All this about (not following procedures) is misinformation, and I think it’s for political purposes.”
The council voted 6-1 to spend $283,000 out of the reserve fund to buy the WE Energies property. Fesenmaier was the sole opposing vote. The council voted unanimously to spend $169,000 from the tax incremental finance district fund to buy the property.
The council voted 6-1 to spend $140,000 for demolition and abatement on the WE Energies property. Fesenmaier again was the sole opposing vote.
Jordan on Tuesday said the city council must approve a few more things before construction on Edwards Boulevard can start, including contracts for demolition and disposal as well as a road construction bid.