Tolar, O'Neill advance in Lake Geneva primary
Tolar edged O'Neill by two votes, as less than half the registered voters in the city's Fourth District cast a ballot. Elizabeth Chappell, board president of the Lake Geneva Art Museum, finished with 16 votes.
"To be honest, I don't really think a lot of people even realized there was an election today," Tolar said, adding that there are about 300 people in his district. "There was nothing to come out to really vote for."
Tolar, 83, is a six-year incumbent. Before that, he spent 10 years as president of the Pell Lake Star Center School Board.
O'Neill, 66, a retired design engineer, said before the primary he was most concerned with city spending and the conduct of public officials. Both the city and council members are involved in various lawsuits, including one filed by four former alders for legal fees after former Mayor Bill Chesen sued them.
O'Neill narrowly lost to Alderman Frank Marsala in last year's city council race.
"I wish to thank all of those who voted in this election, and I have a special thanks for those who voted for me," O'Neill said.
"As those who support me know, I stand for an honest government where public officials are public servants working for the city's citizens that they represent and not self-servants."
The challenger said he believed the biggest challenge for the city moving forward is its financial security. He recommended it cut its spending by about 10 percent and rely on other city departments to reduce their own spending.
Tolar agreed the city must continue to make cuts to keep its budget in line, but he said litigation issues with Lake Geneva and its city council shouldn't fall on his shoulders.
"According to (O'Neill), I spent all this money in the city and caused all these lawsuits," Tolar said. "I don't know how I could have done that being one individual."
O'Neill and Tolar will face one another April 5 in the general election.
Lake Geneva's Board of Canvassers meets at 9 a.m. today to certify the election.