Janesville61.3°

Spending is key to Lake Geneva District 4 race

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Kayla Bunge
March 27, 2010
— Terry O'Neill is upset the city has depleted its reserve funds, and he wants the city to reduce spending and lower taxes.

Alderman Frank Marsala says the city has worked hard to stick to its budget and believes the city is in good financial shape.


O'Neill, who is making his first run for political office, is challenging Marsala, who has served on the council since 2008, for the District 4 seat.


Spending

O'Neill is critical of the city for what he calls "excessive spending."


"The city has spent for the last eight years a million dollars a year more than it has taken in in revenue," he said. "The city had $9 million in its reserve funds, and it's all but gone; there's $2 million left."


O'Neill suggests the city try to reduce its budget for next year by 10 percent.


"That will force the people who are responsible for their budgets to better see where they can reduce spending," he said.


Marsala disagrees that the city has wasted money.


"We've tried to keep our budget down, and we have not affected any of our services or employees," he said. "We're in great financial shape. We have over $2 million in reserves. The auditors even said we're one of the few municipalities that is so financially sound."


Marsala thinks it's easier said than done to call for an across-the-board reduction in the city budget. He said staying within a previous year's budget is like a reduction because costs are not going down.


"We're being realistic," he said. "Holding a previous year's budget is an improvement."


Public comments

O'Neill believes the city council should stop restricting public input at its meetings.


"Our responsibility is to serve the public," he said. "The only way you can serve the public is to listen to them."


O'Neill suggests council meetings as well as committee meetings allow ample time for comments on any topic related to city business.


Marsala thinks public input is an important part of government but only if it concerns city business.


He also says people to get in touch with their representatives about concerns.


"There shouldn't be political grandstanding, and there shouldn't be any personal attacks when people step up to the podium," he said.


"There are plenty of opportunities for communication between the public and the people at City Hall."


Bios

Frank Marsala (I)


Age: 65


Address: 1823 Conant St., Lake Geneva.


Job: Semi-retired; operator of the American Legion canteen in Library Park.


Education: Studied business law at Wright College, Chicago.


Community service: None


Elected posts: Lake Geneva alderman, 2008-present.


***


Terry O'Neill


Age: 65


Address: 954 George St., Lake Geneva.


Job: Retired design engineer


Education: Bachelor's degree in electronic engineering technologies, DeVry University, Chicago, 1970.


Community service: None


Elected posts: None



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