Paris adds to legal budget

town-of-paris-logoThe Paris Town Board at its Tuesday regular monthly meeting added $200,000 to this year’s budget for legal expenses.

Board members acknowledged that the change was necessary due to legal expenses related to its intergovernmental agreement with Somers, which is being challenged by some Paris residents and the city of Kenosha.

“As everyone knows, dollars and cents are needed for attorneys,” said town Chairman Virgil Gentz.

The vote to make the budget change was unanimous.

On April 7, the board approved an intergovernmental agreement with the village of Somers. That agreement designated about 2,500 acres of land now in Paris be annexed by Somers, with the idea that both municipalities would share future revenue coming from development of the land and it would protect Paris from further annexations. Villages have some powers to spur development unavailable to towns. Paris would also pay Somers $1.25 million and fund two loan funds for Somers. Kenosha, the likely provider of water and sewer service to the area, opposed the agreement and has mounted a legal challenge. Some Paris residents in the annexation area and at least one business in that zone also have file suit. A circuit court judge granted an injunction preventing the annexation from moving forward on April 15.

Before the vote during citizens’ comments, resident Joseph Kolnik, who is a party to a lawsuit challenging the IGA, made a motion that the board not make any budget amendments. Supervisor Ken Monson said that was out of order for a board meeting and the motion was not considered.

Another opponent of the IGA, Scott Kirschner, asked the board how long the board anticipated the additional $200,000 lasting. Board members and town attorney Tim Pruitt all said they hoped it would last the remainder of the budget year.

“Certainly it doesn’t mean it’s going to be spent,” Monson said. “I am certainly hopeful it’s not going to go over the $200,000. I am certainly hoping that’s a safe number.”

Supervisor Ron Kammerzelt pointed out some of the legal fees might be reimbursable, if the town prevails in some of the lawsuits. Regardless he said he has no qualms with the legal spending given the present circumstances.

“I will vote for any attorney fees to protect this town,” Kammerselt said.

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8 Comments

  1. Perplexed in Paris says:

    Supervisor Kammerzelt said: “I will vote for any attorney fees to protect this town”. He should have added “and my job”. He certainly wasn’t too concerned about “protecting” those of us living in the “Twilight Zone”. His contention that some of the legal fees might be “reimbursable” is ludicrous. For those Paris residents living outside of the area being “sold” to Somers, your pocketbooks have now taken a direct hit. $200 grand is just the tip of the iceberg. The lawyers are salivating. The madness continues.

  2. Pick Pocket in Paris says:

    “Perplexed” should be just that!!! On TOP of the $200,000 “legal fees” to “protect” our town, ALL residents are also “on the hook” for the $1.25 million “sweetener fee” we have to pay Somers. Last figure I saw, that worked out to about $800 per Paris resident. Hang onto your wallets, folks! Supervisor Ron doesn’t have any “qualms” about spending YOUR money!

  3. Affected Paris resident says:

    Not to mention the 500,000 that Paris has paid to Somers. I can’t imagine what they are going to do with that. I’ll bet they don’t have to increase their budget. Oh wait, maybe they will since they are broke. Wish this nightmare was over.

  4. Just askin. says:

    Kenosha’s part aside, it seems to me that the “Town” is defending itself from itself. Taxpayer money, (ok you don’t pay taxes) is being used by the board to defend against the those same taxpayers. Yes?

    I think the Town ought to be demanding the lawyers who drew up the agreement to defend their ‘work’ for free! It’s the agreement and ‘how’ it is being implemented that is being challenged correct? Not just the Towns right to implement it.
    The Town board hired lawyers to do a job. And the Town should have every expectation that the lawyers work is correct and legally binding on all parties according to the laws of the state. Otherwise why hire professionals at all? Could have gone to Legal Zoom.

    Additionaly if the town didn’t do some notifications correctly, then why did that happen? I would have thought that the lawyers who wrote the agreement would have givin the town a list of procedures to follow to make sure the agreement flew thru without any chance for debate or challange.
    When you buy a product you typicly are givin an owners manual on how to operate that product. In this case the town purchased a product,(the agreement) and they should have been told, in writing, how to implement it in a way that it would pass muster. Why should the Town now have to pay the lawyers (the manufacturer of that product) addition money to make sure it and the way it was implemented is correct?

    If in fact the agreement proves to be incorrect or faulty then the Town should ask for a refund of all money paid. They paid for a product and should expect it to work right out of the box.

  5. Bernard Punsley says:

    I think the governing bodies of Paris, Somers, and Kenosha should pay attention to the way that Salem, Silver Lake, and Paddock Lake addressed the pending merger agreement involving their communities. The entire project was handled in an open fashion, with the respective town/village boards working together. Lawyer fees certainly have been kept to a minimum, and it appears all 3 entities are satisfied with the process.

  6. Nothing new in Paris says:

    Bernard, They have always been very secretive. In my experience, that’s how people operate when they have something to hide. They have been working on this agreement for well over a year and a half but will tell you that it’s only been months. Their answers to the questions read like a fairy tale. Nothing new in Paris.

  7. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Just askin…….some very valid observations. I would add there may be some “buyer’s remorse” involved here!

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