Dental office must remain a part of Lake Geneva’s Business Improvement District because of state statute | Local News

Representatives from the Lake Geneva Business Improvement District have denied a dentist’s request to have his office removed from the district because of a state statute.

Mark Braden of Braden Dental Center, 101 Broad St., Suite 203, located on the second floor of Geneva Towers, recently requested that his dental office be removed from the Business Improvement District, because he feels he is paying taxes into the district and not receiving any benefits. 

Braden presented his request to the Business Improvement District Board during their Aug. 31 meeting.

The Lake Geneva Business Improvement District is a tax-supported business organization, which was established in 1991 to help improve the appearance of the Downtown area. The district also hosts events and community activities throughout the year to help attract people to Downtown Lake Geneva.

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People who own property within the the Business Improvement District’s boundaries help fund the district through property taxes. The city collects the taxes and distributed the money to the Business Improvement District.¬†

The Business Improvement District’s boundaries include from Geneva Street to Wrigley Drive and from Cook Street to Wells Street.¬†

No direct benefit 

Braden said he has been paying taxes into the district for about 30 years, but does not feel he is receiving any benefits from being in the district. He said the Business Improvement District benefits commercial businesses but not professional businesses- such as his dental office. 

“We’re talking about all these festivals. I didn’t hear anything about a ‘Molar Fest,'” Braden told the Business Improvement District Board members. “The only thing you’re doing for me is throwing out candy for Christmas. If you’re going to keep all us professionals in the BID, I would expect that you use your money to do something that benefits us.”¬†

Alexandria Binanti, marketing manager for Visit Lake Geneva, advised the board members, according to state statute, that business improvement districts are not selective-membership organizations, but membership is based on geographic guidelines. 

“You have to have a lot of processes to eliminate people who have been in the BID,” Binanti said. “Those are major amendments that would have to change. Whether you feel a value or not, it’s still geographical.”¬†

Deanna Goodwin, vice president of marketing, communications and development for Visit Lake Geneva, said business improvement district boundaries are determined by the municipalities. 

“The city defines the geographic boundaries, and any property within that district are the ones that pay the taxes,” Goodwin said.

Rules determined by state 

Spyro Condos, president of the Business Improvement District Board, said he agrees that Braden’s dental office and other professional businesses should not be included in the district, but according to state statute membership is based on geographic boundaries, so his business cannot be removed from the Business Improvement District.¬†

“Mark knows how I feel about this. I agree with him, but I can’t violate state statute,” Condos said. “To me, it’s very specific that we can’t do anything because that’s the definition.”

Braden said he would still like to look into whether his business is located in the district’s boundaries since his office is located on the second floor of a building.¬†

He said he would still like the district to do more for the professional businesses.

“You should do something specific for our group versus the commercial people,” Braden said. “I don’t know what the BID has done to help us out, but if you’re going to take our money, we should get some representation for what our money is going to be used for.”

Condos said the purpose of the district is to attract people to the Downtown area, not to any specific businesses.

“This is an old argument, because the BID people Downtown say, ‘What does the BID do for us,'” Condos said. “The job is not to bring them into the businesses. The job is to bring them to Lake Geneva. Each person, themselves, market their business to bring them in.”

Future ideas discussed 

Laura Thompson, vice president of the Business Improvement District Board, said the district officials have considered methods for reducing members’ property taxes during the past few years.¬†

Dimitri Anagnos, Business Improvement District Board member, said the district has reduced expenses during the past few years. He said the district could reduce the number of events that it hosts to help reduce taxes.

“Maybe we just privatize all the events and just use the BID to do a little beautification,” Anagnos said. “So the charge for everyone is a third of what you’re paying now and privatize all these events.”

Kristina Tarantino, event director for the Business Improvement District, said the district has published a directory on its website, www.streetsoflakegeneva.com, which lists member businesses including professional businesses.

The directory includes the businesses’ names, addresses, websites and phone numbers.¬†

“This is something we have been working on this year, and we budgeted for this,” Tarantino said.¬†


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