Paris Town Board recall petitions submitted

(From left) Paul Terry, Joseph Kolnick and Robert Fleiss outside Paris Town Hall. /Contributed photo by Bart Smith

(From left) Paul Terry, Joseph Kolnick and Robert Fleiss outside Paris Town Hall. /Contributed photo by Bart Smith

Petitions calling for the recall of all members of the Paris Town Board were submitted to the town Wedensday.

An announcement of the action was made via email to local media by a group of residents who oppose the town’s intergovernmental agreement with Somers that would see some 2,500 acres of Paris land transferred to Somers in exchange for a secure boundary for the town. Paris and Somers in the IGA agree to share revenue from development in the 2,500 acres. Paris also agrees to pay Somers $1.25 million and fund two revolving loan funds designed to spur development.

To trigger a recall, valid signatures equal to at least 25 percent of the vote cast for governor at the last election within the town would need to be filed. Those working for the recall calculate that to be 202 signatures, per official. A spokesman for the recall campaign said the following numbers of petition signatures were gathered:

  • Gentz 293 signatures.
  • Kammerzelt 296 signatures.
  • Monson 297 signatures.

The town clerk will have 31 days to determine if the petitions are valid.

An intention to call for a recall for each board member was previously declared by the IGA opponents. At that time media reports said  Joseph Kolnik planned to challenge Chairman Virgil Gentz, Robert Fliess would challenge Supervisor Ken Monson and Paul Terry would challenge Supervisor Ron Kammerzelt. However, those names or any others will need to wait to be out on a ballot until after the recall election is set and they are formally nominated. Officeholders targeted by a recall will automatically be placed on the ballot.

14 Comments

  1. David Krueger says:

    Paris residents are so disappointed in the Paris Town Board that nearly 300 signed recall petitions for all three town board members. That’s well over 2x the number that elected each on April 7, 2015 (Virgil Gentz 118, Ron Kammerzelt 130 & Ken Monson 121). Source: http://www.co.kenosha.wi.us/1669/Election-Results-for-472015

    Are you asking what could cause such angst? Paris residents are disappointed because the Paris Town Board is:
    *Investing nearly $10 million in Somers (1/2 Town reserves)
    *Wasting Town of Paris money on lawsuits to protect their right to invest in Somers,
    *Enacting changes before getting resident feedback and
    *overall Treating people disrespectfully!

    When 1/2 Town reserves are invested in Somers, Paris residents lose. Previously, that money was used to help pay 3/4 of Kenosha County real estate taxes on behalf of Paris residents. Who will cover the County tax bill now?

  2. Perplexed in Paris says:

    “the town clerk will have 31 days to determine if the petitions are valid”. Isn’t this why we are at this point. Pretty well known how she ruled on the signatures needed to hold a referendum. Why would anything change now?

  3. ROCK THE VOTE says:

    AS A DEMOCRACY, NOW IS THE TIME TO LET THE PEOPLE CHOOSE.

    THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN:
    ~THEY’VE VOICED THEIR OPPOSITION TO THE AGREEMENT WITH SOMERS.
    ~THEY’VE SIGNED A PETITION ASKING FOR A REFERENDUM ON THE AGREEMENT WITH SOMERS.
    ~THEY’VE SIGNED A RECALL PETITION.

  4. The handwriting is on the wall says:

    At this point the current board should realize that their days are numbered and should save everybody the time and money of going thru a recall and just resign. True, the apathy for all these years gave them a sense of carte blanche, but not anymore.

    To make it easy it can probably be done over a couple of special meetings.
    First one resigns and the remaining two appoint one of the guys in the picture.
    Then the second guy resigns and the other two appoint the second guy in the picture. Then the third ….. and its done. Quick, easy, cheap.

    Those three new guys now just finish out the terms of the seats they replaced and everybody moves on. By the time the next election cycle comes along everybody will know if they did the right thing or not. And if not, those original three and anybody else are free to run.

    Now as for the money. You guys out there in Paris need to start paying your own county taxes. The town should not and does not have any reason to pay the county portion of your taxes any more than they should pay your mortgage.
    How many years has it been since the tipping fees went up and here you are now worrying about running out of money and having to pay the town tax too. My god, you’ve got a cash cow out there and the money has been burning a hole in your pockets for decades. But now the cow is drying up, so just stop paying the county tax and get with the rest of the world.

    But if you still feel the need to give away money beyond the town tax, than just write everybody a check for the same amount. That way it’s equally apportioned instead of the larger land owners getting more and the smaller ones getting less.

  5. Response to Handwriting on the Wall says:

    While we appreciate your support, the Recall is against higher real estate taxes for Town of Paris residents.

    The residents of Paris earned the right to have the Town pay a portion of the county taxes. How did they earn it? Joe Kolnik’s father Paul, along with other Town Board members at the time, saved money collected from the town dump (an eye and nose sore) and used such income to build a nest egg to use specifically for offsetting real estate taxes (not having a municipal tax and paying a portion of the county tax).

    Over the last 20 years, the next generation of Town Board members have been good stewards of that money until the recent decision to give that money to Somers – hence the recall petition.

  6. County taxes says:

    I suppose way back then the numbers made sense. However with the declining revenue from the dump (with an end eventualy) wouldn’t you rather have the payment of towns taxes go on for a very very long time until the money runs out, (which it will) than having it come years sooner with the county tax addition?

  7. Nothing new in Paris says:

    Actually this current, long standing board has not always done so well with the funds. They had to be called out a few years ago about some questionable investments and subsequently even changed banks.

  8. County Taxes says:

    I personally agree that revenues from the dump are declining and that things have to change. I don’t have an opinion regarding what I’d rather have happen. My only opinion is that it’s up to the electorate to decide – it should be put to a vote. Unfortunately, it’s one of those problems that somebody will be upset about so a process that’s fair will go a long way.

  9. A Paris Resident says:

    Quick question here – so who will be running Paris Township if/when the recall goes through. Who has experience and is qualified to do so? I hope those that are pushing for this have these answers……

  10. Dear "A Paris Resident" says:

    Ideally a few candidates with common sense will stand up and run.

    This isn’t the presidency of the United States. This is the bottom of the totem pole, this is where people cut their teeth in politics.

  11. Resident Also says:

    Answer to A Paris Resident’s question. Look at it this way, if you don’t like any of the new guys once they are in office, their names will be on the ballot again in April of next year. Sometimes when people are in office for too long (like the existing board members), they become a little bit complacent with things and believe they are above the law on everything. Maybe 20 years ago it was a “good ol’ boys” club, but, not anymore – people want accountability, and obviously they haven’t been getting that with the present board. Hopefully fresh faces will bring accountability back to the Town. Quite frankly, I believe that right now, the town lawyers are running the town. Have you ever been to a meeting when the lawyer isn’t there? No wonder they had to add another $200,000.00 to the budget for attorney bills. I’d have to question though the comment about the board being good stewards of the money, especially lately. Over the past 10 – 15 years, they have spent a lot of money on legal fees – there is no need for the lawyer to be at every meeting that the town has.

  12. A Paris Resident says:

    I’m not weighing in on the competency of the current board. What I would like to know is who is going to replace the current board? Common sense while a great treat (and one that I believe is pretty much extinct these days) is not enough to run a Township government.

  13. For what it's worth says:

    Salem has a attorney at virtually every meeting. That’s at least two a month plus what ever phone calls he may receive from board members or the town administrator. Not sure what his minimum fee is though.

    At the last meeting, which just had a couple of hearings for raze orders on a couple of old run down homes and to pay the monthly bills, the attorney was in his seat and never got asked a question. I guess it’s better to have him onsite to answer questions as they come up but it obvious when he does answer a question that he’s ‘working’ for the board and not necessarily for the residents who are asking the questions and ultimately paying his fee.

    And when he does get a question his legal answers are mostly ‘his’ interpretation of the law as he sees it, not nessesarily what the residents might want to hear. And if you have a beef against the town you have to get your own guy to fight for you. Which is a shame because then you are as a town resident then paying for the other sides lawyer.

    So unless you have a administrator like Salem does you probably are paying quite a bit to the lawyers who may be ‘de-facto’ administrators for the board. Might just want to hire a guy instead.

  14. Resident says:

    For what it’s worth: Look at the size of Salem and look at the size of Paris. Look at what Salem offers (full-time fire/rescue; ordinance; building inspector; highway department; sewer department) and I’m assuming a full-time clerk and treasurer. Paris has everything part-time, and about 1/10th the population. Attorney needed at every meeting? I don’t think so. Administrator? I don’t think so.

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