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Money tops issues in Lake Geneva District 2 race

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Kayla Bunge
March 26, 2010
— Barbara Hartke calls herself a "fiscal hawk" and wants the city to get its financial house in order before it spends any more taxpayer money.

Thomas Hartz agrees that fiscal responsibility is key and thinks the city can do more to increase revenues.


Hartke, who previously served on the city council in the mid-1990s, and Hartz, who has served on the plan commission since 2007, are vying for the District 2 seat.


Incumbent Penny Roehrer was knocked out of the race in the primary election.


Finances

Hartke believes the city has a responsibility to handle its residents' money with care.


"It's not just because we are in hard times. It's an ethical thing," she said. "We handle other people's money … and we are responsible to make sure that money is well handled, well managed and well spent."


Hartke is leading a group of people who are circulating a petition that calls for a freeze on spending and an independent and comprehensive audit of city finances. She also is pledging to vote against any tax increases if she is elected.


"We must get our financial house in order," she said. "I believe money is being misspent. … We bring in a lot of money, but we pay a lot of taxes."


Hartz also believes the city must be responsible with money.


"You spend only what you have, you spend money on what you say you're going to spend money on, and you take it from the proper funds," he said.


Hartz isn't sure the city needs an outside audit of its finances to ensure money is being spent properly, but he is sure the city could find more ways to generate revenue to make ends meet.


"I am fully against raising taxes to do that," he said. "There are lots of opportunities to generate more revenue—redevelopment, bringing properties that are off the tax roll onto the tax roll, encouraging people to expand their businesses and improve their homes."


Open government

Hartke believes city government should be open and accessible.


"People are not being encouraged to participate; they're being discouraged," she said. "That's got to change."


Hartke thinks the city should take steps to encourage people to participate in public meetings and other government functions. She also thinks the city council should allow more time for public comments at meetings and the city should televise and stream online all city meetings.


Hartz agrees that people should be encouraged to participate in city government, but he believes they already have plenty of opportunities to get involved.


"I don't think that people don't have that chance," he said. "People speak freely. I don't hear anybody getting shouted down.


"If people want to speak at meetings and their points are germane, then absolutely we should hear every voice. But right now, a lot of voices are drowned out because the pitch is so high."


Bios

Barbara Hartke


Age: 69


Address: 705 S. Lakeshore Drive, Lake Geneva.


Job: Retired teacher, librarian and counselor in the Chicago public schools.


Education: Bachelor's degree in English literature and elementary education, Mundelein College, Chicago, 1961; master's degree in education administration, Loyola University, Chicago, 1963; master's degree in television/motion picture production, University of California, Los Angeles, 1980; master's degree in counseling, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, 1987.


Community service: None


Elected posts: Lake Geneva alderwoman, 1994-1996.


***


Thomas Hartz


Age: 56


Address: 1051 Lake Geneva Blvd., Lake Geneva.


Job: Owner, Simple restaurant, Lake Geneva.


Education: Bachelor's degree in architecture, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo., 1976; master's degree in city planning, UW-Madison, 1979.


Community service: Member of the Lake Geneva Plan Commission, 2007-present.


Elected posts: None



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