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The Mayor John Dickert Plan: Rewarding political cronies, letting others unknowingly pay for it, bankrupting Racine, and maintaining a smile the whole time – PRICELESS~!  Except to the thousands of residents who have lost their jobs and  businesses, who have been foreclosed on, and who are now facing the largest tax increase in Racine’s history – SO the party can continue on for the cronies of  Mayor John Dickert.

The BAIT:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013  City of Racine Common Council Meeting.

Refer to Public Safety and Licensing Committee, by Ald. Helding

Subject: Communication from the Mayor requesting that the City
Attorney repeal and recreate Sec. 6-106 prohibiting the issuance of a
liquor license to premises that have delinquent accounts with the City.

Bar 4

The HEDGE

February 09, 2013 From The JT:

RACINE — Bar and restaurant owners in Racine may want to think about settling their tabs with City Hall.

If they don’t, they could find their drink pouring privileges revoked.

An ordinance update recently introduced by Mayor John Dickert proposes that the city not grant or renew a liquor license to any business that owes back taxes or other outstanding bills to the city.

Although the change would apply to all businesses that have liquor licenses, including stores, Dickert said he decided to make the proposal after learning that there were taverns that hadn’t paid property taxes for years but were still serving drinks.

When he called the City Clerk’s office to find out how the establishments were able to stay in operation, he found out that there was a loophole in the city’s liquor license law.

That loophole allows the city to refuse to license a business owner who owes personal property taxes, but says nothing about granting them a license if they or someone else owes taxes on the building or the land where their bar or restaurant is located. Personal property taxes are assessed on the property inside a business, such as equipment or furniture.

While the county reimburses the city for any regular property taxes it is unable to collect, Dickert said, he found the fact that business owners were allowed to continue to have a liquor license but not pay their taxes ultimately unfair.

“That’s just wrong,” he said. “We should go after people who are benefiting from our services and say, ‘at least you should pay up.’ ” 

Or was that merely more lip service from a dishonest politician?

The Hue and CRY

Wednesday, February 13, 2013  Public Safety and Licensing
Committee

Bar 5

Deferred. Why do these Bar Owners have no shame and think they are the only ones experiencing hardship in this new economy? They believe that it is up to the residents of Racine to subsidize their businesses and cover their losses! Could they stop thinking about themselves for once and consider Racine’s growing number of  working poor who struggle to make it another month , the growing number of unemployed, the Racine families who are foreclosed on daily,  and  the increasing number of homeless families in Racine? Instead of whining about how tough they have it,  why aren’t  these bar owners  leading the charge and demanding  an end to the endless SPENDING PROBLEM at City Hall?

Here is a look once again at the proposed Ordinance:Bar 4 a

- the proposed ordinance  seems rather clear to me, and it appears that the only objection which these Bar Owners have, many of whom are City Hall Players,  is that the City of Racine would  establish a fair and level playing field for all and ask them to pay their fair share in exchange for the privilege of a liquor license. It is a simple matter to contact the County Treasurer and check on the status of the property, and it is just as simple to write conditional compliance language into a lease.

Covering the BASES

February 14, 2013  from The JT

RACINE — The Public Safety and Licensing Committee on Wednesday also opted to defer action on a proposal from Mayor John Dickert that the city not grant or renew a liquor license to any business that owes back property taxes.

Dickert said he understood the tavern owners’ concerns, adding that the intent of the proposal was “to start a conversation.”

“We really need to work through some of the gray areas,” he said.

Well, that was as easy as taking candy from a baby!~

Perhaps the Mayor forgot that he previously said ““That’s just wrong,” he said. “We should go after people who are benefiting from our services and say, ‘at least you should pay up.’ ”

Or was that merely more lip service from a dishonest politician?

Ah, but the FIX was already in. The Marks, who are the honest taxpayers of Racine and subsidize far too many Racine businesses, just didn’t know it yet.

The SWITCH

Just one day PRIOR to the Common Council meeting in which Mayor John Dickert  would introduce his now DEFERRED proposed ordinance change,  “to start a conversation”, well connected City Hall insider and Bar Owner , Joey LeGath  made a request to discuss allowing taverns to participate in the Façade Grant Program.  It’s ironic that the  same  Bar Owners who  opposed an ordinance making the issuance of a license dependent upon  property taxes being paid in full,  were now asking to take  taxpayer money to fund their exterior building  projects.

Monday, February 4, 2013  Redevelopment Authority of the City of
Racine

minutes

Facade Program 1

The LOOT!  The formerly “BROKE” city now has plenty of funds available in the Intergovernmental Shared Revenue Fund account to expand it’s commercial building facade grant program. Bar owners will now be allowed to apply for this gift of taxpayer money.  According to the brochure  this gift of taxpayer money was recently increased  from $7,500 to $10,000, and even more if certain criteria is met.  I wonder if Joey LeGath knows of any bar owners who would be interested in this gift?

The Facade Grant program is yet another taxpayer funded welfare program primarily for Downtown business owners. Yet when budget cuts are threatened, it is never mentioned; why, most taxpayers don’t even know it exists. However, Downtown business owners do!  Mayor John Dickert will cut Fire Stations and Alderman Greg Helding will claim the coffers are empty but that is business as usual,  The Racine City Hall Hustle.

Facade Program 3Facade 4

You can find the City’s brochure for the Facade Grant program by clicking HERE. The cross-out and change from $7,500 to $10,000 is exactly as I downloaded it from the City site.

The INSIDERS

Who is JoeyLeGath, Lou Larsen and John McCauliffe? How deep do their  connections to City Hall and Mayor Dickert run?

Racine tavern league 2

Membership pays? YOU BET! Especially when a well connected City Hall insider and Bar Owner, Joey LeGath, can first suggest, and then get the Common Council to vote on gifting  taxpayer money to fund the business activities of  his special interest group while quietly passing the cost onto the residents. NO approval by the City of Racine taxpayers, The Marks, is necessary. It’s just another stealth tax increase and what the taxpayers don’t know won’t hurt them. Another opportunity for the Mayor to cry “BROKE”, demand the residents pay more, and the Common Council to hold the residents hostage and threaten cutting vital City services - The Racine City Hall Hustle!

This special interest group, comprised of  Joey LeGath, Anna LeGath, John McCauliffe,  Doug Nicholson, Sara Nicholson, and others,  are all very well connected City Hall insiders who are on various City of Racine Boards , Commissions and BIDs. 

Insiders

The MARKS

They are the steadily decreasing numbers of homeowners and businesses in Racine County that can pay the taxes demanded by the local taxing authorities.  TID’s (like TID #17 – Porter’s) taxes are frozen and don’t pay RUSD, Gateway or County taxes. The promised and hoped for growth has not occurred while the amount of debt has grown out of control and a day of reckoning is approaching. The larger the debt, the greater the debt service, and thus  less money is left for day to day operations. Here is a list of the estimated debt that local taxing authorities have amassed.

Taxing Authority              Known Debt  (Est)           Source

City of Racine                     $116,000,000                               CLICK

Water Utilities                   $125,812,581                                 CLICK

Gateway                              $50,700,000                                 CLICK

RUSD     Direct                    $27,611,331                                  CLICK

RUSD    Indirect                 $42,000,000                                CLICK

County of Racine               $70,635,000                                 CLICK

TID's

All those businesses and residents that are located in Racine’s numerous  TID’s already don’t pay their fair share and won’t be subject to any tax increase demanded by Mayor John Dickert and the Racine Common Council. Why else would certain businessmen be claiming that this referendum is in your best interest? It puts those businesses and residents who must shoulder the burden of others  at a great disadvantage and is why it is no longer profitable to do business in Racine, and cheaper to live elsewhere.

January 17, 2013  from The JT

RACINE — A total of three local nonprofits  Enablers have stepped forward to donate money to help the city cover  local bar owners some of its costs with their business expenses in 2013.

This week, Mayor John Dickert’s office sent out a press release thanking the Olympia Brown Unitarian Church, Beth Israel Sinai Congregation and the Racine Education Association who together donated $2,100 to the City. local bar owners.

The idea was that if the organizations donated even a little bit to city coffers, it would help  enable Racine better weather a nasty financial season. to continue with Business As Usual.

In the release, Dickert said, “In this difficult economy whether you’re a business, a nonprofit, government or a family,  if you’re not well connected, we all you have to make sacrifices, but the generosity of  enabling by these organizations serves as proof of the importance of partnerships.  that the community is clueless. All three groups are perfect examples of the positive results which happen when we pull together as a community.”   the system is manipulated for the benefit of cronies and insiders.

ON April 2, Racine voters will face two referendum on tax increases, one  from The City of Racine, and the other from Gateway Technical College. It is important for you to know that all those businesses and residents that are located in  those TID’s will not be subject to that tax increase, and will likely benefit by receiving still more subsidies.  They can vote a tax increase on YOU, that they are exempt from.

The VOTE

Tavern vote

No questions. No debate. Just Business As Usual,  another taxpayer giveaway to cronies and insiders. Expanded spending while threatening to cut vital services.   Unanimous approval. How could  Mayor John Dickert forget the words he spoke at his 2012 Budget Address,  “the City of Racine has been and will always be the model of fiscal efficiency…”  Were those words merely uttered from his lips and not his heart?

City Administrator Tom Friedel  threatened residents and told  The JT; “Any increase that we incur in expenses — whether that be the Wisconsin Retirement System contributions going up, or cost of fuel or electricity increasing — any of those costs that we incur will have to be borne by the property taxpayers,” Friedel said.

City Administrator Tom Friedel – Why then aren’t you saving this surplus for the rainy day you know is coming? Why are you expanding taxpayer funded programs and spending?  Why is Racine  not enforcing property tax accountability for liquor license holders – or isn’t that part of the plan?

The SILENCE

The front page of The JT  carried two stories concerning the decisions that were made at the Common Council meeting on Feb. 20; The  CAR 25 controversy and the City Hall weapons ban. There was nothing in the paper to let the residents of Racine that ANOTHER spending program had been expanded and was already funded. In addition to the program expansion the amount to be gifted was increased from $7,500 to $10,000.

Also on the front page of The JT, Racine  City Hall was threatening more cuts if additional money wasn’t coming from Madison or the residents. City Administrator Tom Friedel let residents know that they would pay more via property taxes  for any increases in costs of commodities, and once again  threatened more service reductions.  How can this dichotomy be – that Racine City Hall keeps expanding programs, giving taxpayer money to cronies and insiders, and no penalty for not paying property taxes,  while it claims vital services must be cut because City Hall is broke?

The STING

Our costs for fuel, salt, electricity, emergency services to name a few, continue to rise, and as they do, your services will continually have to be cut. It’s an unwinnable situation.

 – Mayor John Dickert

mayoraldebate7

Our plan of action is simple; no surprises and no gimmicks. I can honestly say that I am not happy with this budget, nor am I excited about the box the City has been put in. We are facing a no-win situation designed by people who do not understand or simply chose to ignore the fact that the City of Racine has been and will always be the model of fiscal efficiency…

- Mayor John Dickert  2012 Budget Address.

Mayor John Dickert’s  lips were certainly moving quickly while reading his 2013 budget address . Don’t listen to what he says. Watch what he does.

Rewarding cronies, and having the taxpayers pay for it all…

Feb. 21, 2013 from The JT

After nearly two hours of heated discussion that included failed attempts from some aldermen to have the discussion sent back to the Committee of the Whole and marked confusion, the City Council voted 10-4 on Wednesday to allow officials to negotiate a one-year contract with Skies Fall Media Group to run the cable access channel.

Running CAR25 cost the city about $106,000 last year. In its proposal, Skies Fall wrote it could run the station for $119,500 a year plus $47,500 in first-year expenses. Dickert has said he knows Ben Kasica, the owner of Skies Fall Media Group. He explained late last year that the two met years ago when Kasica was playing with the rock group Skillet.

john hostage

Feb 21, 2013 from The JT

City says without increase, more cuts to come

Without more shared revenue, “Any increase that we incur in expenses — whether that be the Wisconsin Retirement System contributions going up, or cost of fuel or electricity increasing — any of those costs that we incur will have to be borne by the property taxpayers,” Friedel said.

As the reckless spending spree continues unabated at Racine City Hall, default grows more likely each day.  A fact sheet on Municipal Bankruptcy is available from The League of Wisconsin Municipalities.

Question: Dickert, what are the specifics of your 10-year plan?

Dickert: If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. I’ll get groups together to focus on the areas where we have the largest problems. I’ll call it The Riverview area (instead of “Census Tracts 1-5.”) I said Top 10 because if I said Top 250 nobody would be excited about it.

The  road Mayor John Dickert  has led Racine down  is running out. It ends at the edge of a fiscal cliff.  Do you have your wings?

 

Update: Link HERE

tavern grants