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Two challenge incumbent on Lake Geneva City Council

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Kevin Hoffman
February 12, 2011
— Lake Geneva City Council Alderman Donald Tolar will face two challengers in next week's primary, with two moving on to the spring election.

Tolar, a six-year incumbent, is vying for re-election against Elizabeth Chappell, board president of the Lake Geneva Art Museum, and Terry O'Neill, a retired engineer.


The primary is Tuesday, and the general election is April 5.


Chappell did not respond before press time, but Tolar and O'Neill offered their views on some issues facing the city. Here's what they said:


n What is your top priority for the city if elected?


Tolar: Just to see that everything goes in the right direction, and that we try to settle these lawsuits that we have. Also, to keep our budget in the shape that it's in right now or try to get it better.


O'Neill: The main challenge facing the city is to change the financial direction of the city, which has gone from a financial surplus to borrowing. The second challenge is to reprioritize city spending so that despite the necessary spending cuts, the city will continue to cover essential city services.


By myself I cannot change city spending, but I will continue to speak openly and bluntly about the issues and with public awareness and support. The city's excessive spending and financial juggling of accounts can be replaced with a sound financial policy.


-- What has to be done in order to maintain a balanced budget?


Tolar: We made a lot of cuts so far that we're going to have to continue to do. We've reduced the budget for every department and we're working on a couple of things to try and improve the amount of money that we're going to receive.


O'Neill: The city needs to cut its current spending by about 10 percent. Each department must review their expenditures and determine the least disruptive cuts to accomplish the 10 percent reduction costs, and then present it to the city council with the adverse effects that these cuts will have, so that the council can make an informed decision and determine which spending cuts are most appropriate for the city as a whole.


-- Do you have any specific plans or ideas to bring more revenue to Lake Geneva?


Tolar: We've been thinking about what they call a ‘user tax.' They have it up at the Dells, and we've been trying to get that for the city. If we can get the legislature to pass it for the city of Lake Geneva, it would apply to anybody that came into the city to buy anything, including entertainment, restaurants, things of that nature. It gets the tourists to help pay for the operation of that city, that's really what it's all about.


That's the only way we can increase our revenue, otherwise you have to raise taxes, which we really don't want to do. And we certainly hate to have to turn around and start reducing workforce in the city.


O'Neill: As a general rule, I am opposed to raising or creating higher or new taxes or fees. However, rather than the city's proposed ordinance to ban individuals from short-term rental of their homes, I would be in favor of making it legal and considering a fee, tax or license as a means of creating extra income for the city.


BIOS

Donald Tolar


Age: 83


Address: 1365 Edgewood Drive, Lake Geneva.


Job: Alderman, Lake Geneva City Council.


Education: Attended high school in Chicago. Served four-year apprenticeship to be an electrician.


Elected posts: Incumbent Lake Geneva City Council alderman. Served 10 years as president of the Pell Lake Star Center School Board.


Major campaign issues: Balanced budget, tourism.


***


Terry O'Neill


Age: 66


Address: 954 George St., Lake Geneva.


Job: Retired design engineer


Education: Bachelor of electronic engineering technologies from DeVry in Chicago.


Major campaign issues: Spending, conduct of city officials.


***


Elizabeth Chappell


Age: 36


Address: 513 Broad St., Lake Geneva.


Job: Founder and board president, Lake Geneva Art Museum.


Education: Badger High School graduate



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