Black Earth Village Presidency up for grabs

Candidates answer questions and explain their positions
By: 
Joe Block

Change comes to local government, usually slowly, and usually a person or two at a time. Black Earth is seating four new elected officials in this upcoming election. A new village president will replace Troy Esser as well, the third president in three years.

Not only is Black Earth seeing change, but it is also seeing contested races, which is not the most common in small villages. Although the three trustee seats are uncontested, they include one new person. The Village President’s race is a bit livelier, with yard signs popping up for the two candidates facing off--both current board members. Of the four new board members--three trustees, and the village president--three are incumbents, and one is new.

Former Village President Pat Troge served for 11 years, until 2009, and spent three years prior as a trustee. Current President Troy Esser took the reins upon Troge’s retirement, when the village was faced with two vacant seats and a vacant Presidency. His nomination by the board was unanimous, as was the vote.

According to Village Administrator Shellie Benish, who has served since 2013:

“The Village President history is an interesting one.  I want to point out that this isn’t the first time with some turnover here on that position. A number of years ago, Ron Norris (1989-2001) was sitting as Village President and had to resign due to a work infraction that put him in conflict with his role as Village President, then Jeanne Post (2001-2006) came in and moved out of Village. Then Vern Wendt (2006-2008) stepped in and then resigned, putting Troge in that position.”

The League of Wisconsin Municipalities explains the unique role of the Village President:

“Although the [village] president is not generally considered a chief executive officer,

the president does have certain unique, statutory duties and also serves as a figure-head of sorts for the village. A

village president’s statutory duties include presiding at all board meetings and signing ordinances, bylaws, regulations,

licenses, etc.

The president also maintains peace and good order; sees that ordinances are faithfully obeyed; and in case of disturbance, riot or other apparent necessity may appoint as many special marshals as the president deems necessary.”

Below you will find the candidates’ answers to a series of questions posed by the Star News. Current Trustee 

In the race for trustee, Tyler Munson is running for his first time. Jared Brammerson and Scott Patchin are incumbents.

 

__________

 

Village President

(1 vacancy, two year term)

 

Name: Mitch Hodson

Occupation: VP Production

Years of residency in the Village of Black Earth: 47

Previous offices held, with years of tenure: 6 years late 90’s and early 2000’s Village trustee

How important to you is transparency in government?

Transparency is critical for a government body to efficiently and effectively accomplish the duties at hand. Transparency on the board level will be a key component to encouraging open lines of communication that will foster discussions and work towards the common goals of the village and its people.  I firmly believe that we can reach higher levels of success working together collaboratively through open dialog and inclusivity of all parties.  What will you do to encourage it?  I will ensure open dialog between the village board, village employees and the citizens.  I will hold trustees and staff accountable to do the same.

What will you do to encourage civil discourse and acceptable behavior at meetings?

 I will set guidelines and standards to be followed at each meeting and will ensure that they are acted upon by all trustees and citizens.  I believe in allowing trustees and citizens the opportunity to respectfully offer their opinions on all things pertaining to the Village of Black Earth.  Encouraging open discussion, giving the trustees or citizens a platform to speak, fully listening and maintaining a positive yet effective meeting are all key components.

There have been issues raised over the past 6 months about difficulties in getting an item placed on the agenda. The current village president's policy is if there is "general agreement" from board members, an item is placed on the agenda. Will this be the policy you will encourage (even if not running for President)? If not, what will your policy be? Explain why. 

As incoming President, I will review current policies (stop, start & continue) with new and current trustees to seek areas of improvement as well as build upon the strong foundation we currently have.

Communication with the Village Board has been raised as an issue over the past six months. The Library Board felt it necessary to create a separate communications subcommittee due to this. Several Library Board members have felt it necessary to speak during public comment in order to effectively communicate with the board. What will you do--specifically--to foster communication with the Village Board and other entities, including the public? 

Communication is key at any level and will be strongly encouraged.  There was a communication breakdown between a board member and the library board in the past six months that has increased tension between the library and the village.  I hope to restore and strengthen our lines of communication that we have had previously and build upon the many positive experiences that we have had in the past.  I will look into our lines of communication and take the necessary steps to ensure effective communication methods are in place moving forward.

How important is the Black Earth Public Library to the Village? Explain. 

The Library is very important and should be place that everyone can come together.  There are many opportunities that our library has to offer and the library is a vital part in maintaining and continuing growth.   It should be a rally point for the community and a safe place for all.

Will you pledge to keep Library funding at the same level? Will you pledge to increase funding to the Library? Why or why not?

The library has a board to answer that question.  As a village we need to fund places in our community where we can come together and make us stronger. If the library board approached myself and the village board with a thorough and detailed plan and a need funding, I would support it and encourage a review with the rest of the trustees. Myself and the village trustees would also look at the impact it would have on the taxpayers, as the village funds a majority of the library budget.

What do you think is the role of local government?

The roll of local government is to act as a team and an extension of the people that live in our community. The trustees and village president should work together for the common good of the village and not have hidden agendas. This is very important, as the president is one vote and needs to build a positive relationship with the trustees to effectively work towards goals and in the best interest of the village.  Through open communication with the new and current village trustees, I believe we will accomplish great things.

How do you feel about the Wisconsin Heights School District's plan for a single campus?

I believe it is important to bring the student together at a young age as it makes us stronger as a joint community. The taxpayers and citizens of this great community have decided this was the best direction moving forward.  It is my responsibility to now look for ways to support this venture and maintain the great educational experience for the youth in our communities.  The future is in our youth and I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead for this district.

What do you think should be done with Black Earth Elementary?

This is a complex question. If it would take $10 million dollars to potentially fix up a school and was not worth fixing for the district, then it would be hard for Black Earth village to take on another $10 million to make it into community center or office. We need to work with the economic development committee, chamber of commerce and the Wisconsin Heights School District to explore all options including talk to developers to make a decision that fit taxpayer’s needs and is in the best interest of the village.

How will you encourage development in the Village?

The recent growth in both of our current subdivisions has been great to watch.  Black Earth has a ton to offer and we need to look for ways to encourage people to come and lay down their roots here. We need to look at adding an additional development with single family, multi-family & senior housing.  I also believe that we need to look into and pursue a potential small business park. I would also use the recently completed economic development survey to looks for ways to revitalize the downtown and encourage small business growth.  We had a great response with the survey, and I look forward to encouraging and maintain economic growth for current and future businesses of Black Earth.  I would work with economic development and the board openly to try to get this done.  As I have stated previously, it takes a team to get things done and I am encouraged and excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.

What is your stance on the Village's current debt load, and under what circumstances and for what projects should the Village take on more debt?

The existing debt load is managed, but would like to see it lower. I support projects that invest in infrastructure and projects to improve the community. It is important to explore the multiple opportunities such as grants and other funding opportunities that can help with our infrastructure such as electrical, water and sewer. Debt is not the only way to fund project. I would also look at funding from managed growth to help improve the village, school district and community. 

Please add anything else you'd like to say here:

This community is very important to me and as village president I would be a member of a team not a lone individual and would work for the best interest of all citizens.  It is an honor to run for this position and I look forward to serving Black Earth.

 

 

Name: Mary A. Scott

Occupation: In-home Child Care; Collateral Antiques and Kitsch Resale- Independent Purveyor; Business Consultant- Independent Contractor; The Town of Cross Plains Plan Commission- Secretary; St. Francis Xavier Parish- Hospitality

Years of residency in the Village of Black Earth: 8 years.

Previous offices held, with years of tenure: 1 year of the following:  Elected Village of Black Earth Board Trustee; Black Earth Library Board Trustee and subcommittees   .member; Gateway to the Driftless Board of Directors- Village of Black Earth Representative; Village of Black Earth Economic Development Committee Member; Fire District Committee- Village of Black Earth Representative; Village of Black Earth Emergency Management Committee Member

How important to you is transparency in government? What will you do to encourage it?

Transparency in government is paramount to democracy.  “Eyes” on our activities motivate village officials to act honorably and encourage us to behave according to legal and ethical expectations with this input from the people.  I insist we fully inform the public of issues and decisions with descriptive agendas, timely posted minutes/audio, surveys, referendums, and by using media outlets and the new village website.  I have been ridiculed, chastised, and threatened for my insistence on transparency, and this intimidation has not stopped me from keeping the people, other boards, committees, and departments informed without delay and without bias.

What will you do to encourage civil discourse and acceptable behavior at meetings?

One of the premier duties as village president is to maintain order.  I take this very seriously because I have been unfairly denied such protections.  Meetings must be a safe space for officials and the public to foster communication for action.  Anyone who cannot contain themselves to appropriate behavior and mannerisms that encourage rather than demean will be cautioned and then asked to remove themselves from the meeting.  We do not have to agree.  It doesn’t matter who your buddies are.  We must be accountable for our behaviors that affect others and conserve our energy for things that promote our village.

There have been issues raised over the past 6 months about difficulties in getting an item placed on the agenda. The current village president's policy is if there is "general agreement" from board members, an item is placed on the agenda. Will this be the policy you will encourage (even if not running for President)? If not, what will your policy be? Explain why.

The president’s duty is to approve agendas for publication, not interfere with transparency by arbitrarily muting issues that affect our village.  A “general agreement” is okay because it conveys the importance of the full board, but some topics unfold between meetings and some people are consistently under-represented for a voice.  As president, I will find a way to include issues presented that matter to our village, not find a reason not to.  I have experienced threats and intimidation requesting agenda items.  That is legally and ethically unconscionable.  The people, not just the popular, must be able to weigh in on agendas.

Communication with the Village Board has been raised as an issue over the past six months. The Library Board felt it necessary to create a separate communications subcommittee due to this. Several Library Board members have felt it necessary to speak during public comment in order to effectively communicate with the board. What will you do--specifically--to foster communication with the Village Board and other entities, including the public?

As president, I will continue to assist and support a safe space to convey and receive timely and comprehensive information through community surveys, referendums, staff, agendas, media outlets, and our new website.  Trustees, administration, and departments must communicate informative and transparent presentations during meetings.  Incomplete or evolving presentations will be postponed.  Departments will be informed of relevant agenda topics ahead of time.  I will not run our village as an autocracy, but as a board of trustees by insisting that the entire board is informed equally and legally of issues affecting the village.  We will answer to the people.

How important is the Black Earth Public Library to the Village? Explain.

Libraries are described as the cornerstone of democracy because libraries promote and defend literacy, equity, involvement, inclusivity, community, transparency, and freedom of speech for all people.  All are welcome to this safe space and many in our community and surrounding communities feel this support through the thoughtful programming and outreach developed by an amazing staff of professionals. The library is statutorily protected to remain separate from the influence of government officials, so it can remain a safe space of neutrality for its patrons.  I honor this unique quality as checks and balances for good governance, as well.

Will you pledge to keep Library funding at the same level? Will you pledge to increase funding to the Library? Why or why not?

The budgetary needs of the library are determined by the library director.  This is an area for which a library director is professionally qualified.  If the library should need additional budgetary consideration, I trust it would be warranted, frugally devised, and fully transparent, as always.  Our library is a vital service for the people of our community and the surrounding communities. 

What do you think is the role of local government?

The role of our local government by definition is to be responsible for the day-to- day function and delivery of services and infrastructure like sewer, roads, power, parks, the library, housing, police, and the like.  As representatives of our village, we have a responsibility to be congenial, informative, encouraging of community activism, and welcoming of input.  It is our duty to make sure our offices and departments are operating with this mindset and that we are working toward decisions that are responsible for our community and our budget.

How do you feel about the Wisconsin Heights School District's plan for a single campus?

The plan of a combined campus is predicted to save the district over $200,000 per year.  In addition, an adapted campus with competitive, modern facilities and services will go a long way to encouraging families to choose our community to live in and educate their children in.  Open enrollment and voucher systems can allow district families to be broad in their choice of school.  I am in favor of the combined campus as a way for our school district to make wise financial investment in our public education services, and that that investment will build our communities and exceed the proposed enrollment growth rate of 7-10% per year.

What do you think should be done with Black Earth Elementary?

The school district owns the campus and the decision of how to proceed is theirs to make.  That being said, I would like to see the site appear on the tax roll with a multi-use development plan that incorporates a business incubator for small and fledgling businesses with a community rec facility and community area with services that benefit our diverse community. 

How will you encourage development in the Village?

I am a proponent of a business plan like ecotourism because of the financial assistance that is available from government funding and small financial commitment from the village.  Matching County funds for investments from the village up to $1 million dollars would stretch any village investment farther and provide a catalyst for small business development geared toward tourists, but also enjoyable to locals.  A regional marketing plan would combine branding efforts and investments between partners and stakeholders for an environmentally low impact concept that preserves our rural integrity and will help to encourage people to live, work, play and spend their money here.

What is your stance on the Village's current debt load, and under what circumstances and for what projects should the Village take on more debt?

Our community has 717 tax roll payees.  That is not a lot of people who are expected to cover financial needs for infrastructure.  Our taxes will increase in the village as we pay back loans for the combined campus school and afford a plan for the new substation.   Both of these investments in our infrastructure will have long range benefits for expanding our community.  In the now, I don’t think that the village should take on any more significant debt, but any significant investment in question should be voted on by the people before decisions are made by the board.

Please add anything else you'd like to say here:

Our village cannot afford another expense like the $850,000 that will be levied on our property taxes for the Community Park project.  In order for the village to recoup the ballfield that sits almost entirely on school district property, the village will have to consider another investment in infrastructure that will add to the bottom line of the Community Park expense.  To see the evolution of the financial investment without a referendum, please see the Village Board and Parks and Rec Committee minutes beginning March of 2019.

 

 

Village trustee

Three vacancies, two year terms

Name:  Tyler Munson

Occupation:  Environmental & Well Specialist

Years of residency in the Village of Black Earth: 5

Previous offices held, with years of tenure: Secretary - Wisc. Heights Youth Baseball (2 years), President – Wisc. Heights Youth Baseball (0.25 years – current), President – Wisc. Heights Youth Tennis (1 year).

How important to you is transparency in government?

What will you do to encourage it?  Transparency is fundamental to democracy in America. I encourage the public to attend meetings, and if they need help finding out when the next meeting is, I would encourage people to ask. 

What will you do to encourage civil discourse and acceptable behavior at meetings?

I will obey the rules set forth that require such civil discourse, and avoid discussing personal individual feelings, rather than actionable ideas based on facts and data.  I will consider the viewpoint of any board member so long as their facts show that their position is what is best for the community.

There have been issues raised over the past 6 months about difficulties in getting an item placed on the agenda. The current village president's policy is if there is "general agreement" from board members, an item is placed on the agenda. Will this be the policy you will encourage (even if not running for President)? If not, what will your policy be? Explain why.

I do not see any issue in Chapter 90-13 of the village ordinances that causes concern for bringing forth matters to be included on a village board meeting agenda.  For ease of looking this ordinance up, one can go to our new village website, Select “Government” > “Ordinances” > “Village of Black Earth Ordinances”, and search “meeting agenda” in the search bar.  If the president omits an agenda item request, the board can still force the discussion by calling a special meeting, if the board determines it to be of importance to the public.

Communication with the Village Board has been raised as an issue over the past six months. The Library Board felt it necessary to create a separate communications subcommittee due to this. Several Library Board members have felt it necessary to speak during public comment in order to effectively communicate with the board. What will you do--specifically--to foster communication with the Village Board and other entities, including the public?

 Standing reports given by committees and partner groups should properly summarize the needed communication between their entity and the Village Board, and vice versa.  Representatives who are appointed to serve as such liaison between entities have a sole purpose to ensure they communicate the decisions and positions of their entities, in a clear and concise manner, ensuring that they do not allow personal opinion to obscure such communication.  As a possible representative of the Village Board, even if I personally disagree with the board’s or committee’s stance, I would not allow my disagreement to obscure the team’s decision or position.

How important is the Black Earth Public Library to the Village? Explain.

Education and access to free and open information is critical to any community’s success.  It is critical that a library serve all in the community.  The library serves as one of the most important public institutions for open community involvement.

Will you pledge to keep Library funding at the same level? Will you pledge to increase funding to the Library? Why or why not? 

Being the spouse of a librarian, I believe the librarian position in general is undervalued by our society. Looking at the salary posted on our current Library Director position displays that.  The educational requirements for professional positions cause the applicant lost personal revenue as well as tuition costs, and the theory is that higher salaries will justify that investment.  If the budget allows, funding for the library should be increased in order to ensure we can both retain qualified staff and that such future staff can implement the necessary programs to provide superior service the public. 

What do you think is the role of local government?

The role of local government is to prepare and enforce ordinances that ensure harmony in the community, serving all in the community, not just a small group or individual.  If the majority of the public determines they want (or do not want) a specific ordinance, that wish should be heard, and the board should legally do what it can to make that happen.  Realizing however, that most (not all) ordinances already in place, in general, serve the best interest of the community. 

How do you feel about the Wisconsin Heights School District's plan for a single campus?

I personally would have liked to have been able to keep the elementary schools in the existing configuration.  However, after reviewing all the data presented, it was obvious that moving to a single campus was the best overall solution for the communities.

What do you think should be done with Black Earth Elementary?

Black Earth Elementary still belongs to the school district, so anything the village board considers for it would be highly speculative.  But if wishes are granted, I would love to see Black Earth Elementary turned into a YMCA (summer day camps, public gym, open basketball, etc.).  I also believe there would be a possibility for the Village Administrators to move into a portion of the building, allowing for future expansion of the library in its current space, pending funding.  Alternatively, another dream would be to attract an operation like the Red Cross into the space, bringing jobs to the Village.

How will you encourage development in the Village?

In order to continue development in the village, I would continue to encourage my neighbors to support your local businesses as much as possible.  The best way to attract new business is to show prospective new business owners that existing businesses can be successful here.

What is your stance on the Village's current debt load, and under what circumstances and for what projects should the Village take on more debt?

Unfortunately, I received this questionnaire on Saturday morning, with a deadline on Monday at noon.  Due to work, I am unable to speak informed as to the current debt load of the Village.  However, when considering debt, it is important to consider many financial variables, such as interest, payment terms, risk and expected revenues.  In general, it makes sense to take on debt to fix a required issue, when the alternative to not taking on the debt would be more costly in the long run. 

Please add anything else you'd like to say here:

Having worked in the environmental industry, I have been a part of many developments in Madison and Dane County.  I see lots of opportunity to revitalize several properties in Black Earth, but I only see that happening if everyone in the community puts aside their differences and supports everyone.  The Village has done an excellent job coming out of some dark economic predicaments, and we have really started to turn the corner, as evidenced by gaining a Kwik Trip, Macker Backer and Dry Fly Sales, while seemingly maintaining healthy business at Black Earth Lanes, The Shoe Box, and The Shack. 

 

 

Name: Jared Brammerson

Occupation: IT Systems Developer

Years of residency in the Village of Black Earth: 3 years

Previous offices held, with years of tenure: Village of Black Earth Trustee – 6 months

How important to you is transparency in government? What will you do to encourage it?

Transparency in all acts of life is important to me. If we are not transparent about our actions and motives than how can we expect to build trust and unity throughout our community? I have assisted the village staff with technical solutions while uploading board meeting minutes. I have also encouraged and supported the creation of a YouTube channel to allow residents to attend and review the board meetings. Governmental transparency is the responsibility of all citizens. I will continue to encourage all of our residents to attend the village meetings, and to participate in our local government.

What will you do to encourage civil discourse and acceptable behavior at meetings?

If I have learned anything in life it is that I cannot tell anyone how to act or behave. However, I can lead by example by being an active listener and engaging with the community with humility and professionalism. As a Trustee our responsibility is to the village as a whole. Our work is not about me, or my ego. It is about creating an atmosphere of camaraderie that will allow for everyone to work towards creating the best future for our village that we can.

There have been issues raised over the past 6 months about difficulties in getting an item placed on the agenda. The current village president's policy is if there is "general agreement" from board members, an item is placed on the agenda. Will this be the policy you will encourage (even if not running for President)? If not, what will your policy be? Explain why.

In the past 6 months, I have not seen an item of discussion that was brought forward during a village meeting refused to be put on a future agenda. However, there has been some question around clarity. I would encourage the incoming Village President to be candid and forthright about any agenda item they decide to include on future agendas.

Communication with the Village Board has been raised as an issue over the past six months. The Library Board felt it necessary to create a separate communications subcommittee due to this. Several Library Board members have felt it necessary to speak during public comment in order to effectively communicate with the board. What will you do--specifically--to foster communication with the Village Board and other entities, including the public?

I will continue to encourage open and collaborative discussions between the boards. I would encourage the public to attend meetings in-person or virtually and/or watch the meetings on YouTube. I would also discourage closed sessions and any “bar room talk” that may inflame the situation outside of designated meetings.

How important is the Black Earth Public Library to the Village? Explain.

I believe all libraries are important to the communities they serve as forces for unity and equality. The Black Earth Library is no different. It is a cultural center where multiple generations can come together to share a common interest. The library builds relationships through community activities, and provides a refuge of quiet for members of the community. Our library is often the first educational resource for the young children who grow up in this community. It is a safe place for teens to gather, and a place where anyone can have access to technology that they might not have at home.

Will you pledge to keep Library funding at the same level? Will you pledge to increase funding to the Library? Why or why not?

No comment.

What do you think is the role of local government?

The role of local government is to help provide a better future so residents want to stay long term and invest in the community. Local government should do everything it can to be frugal and innovative to avoid raising taxes while also maintaining the infrastructure necessary for a healthy population. Local government should strive to bring in businesses that benefit the entire community. The role of local government is to be the voice of the residents.

How do you feel about the Wisconsin Heights School District's plan for a single campus?

I approve of the single campus plan. I believe the value of creating a single modern campus outweighs the value of renovating the existing elementary school buildings. However, I am disappointed that the School District’s Plan did not include a plan for what to do with the old school buildings.

What do you think should be done with Black Earth Elementary?

From what I understand of the condition of the elementary school I feel that it is in everyone best interest to clear the land for new building. I think our community could benefit from installing an affordable grocery store, like Aldi, or developing the space for local small businesses that would help draw in out of town tax dollars.

How will you encourage development in the Village?

I would encourage development in the Village by promoting the building of affordable housing, decreasing spending on items that bring no lasting monetary value, and collaborating with neighboring villages on mutual projects such as the completion of the trail system, remediating the creek to prevent future flooding, and developing the thoroughfares to promote local businesses.

What is your stance on the Village's current debt load, and under what circumstances and for what projects should the Village take on more debt?

The current debt load is an unnecessary burden to the Village. The Village should only take on projects that will incur more dept if they will: bring in revenue to compensate for that dept; are a part of necessary infrastructure; or are critical to the health and well-being of the residents.

 

 

Name: Scott Patchin

Occupation: Retired (Owned and operated DW Heiney's Dining & Spirits, Black Earth)

Years of residency in the Village of Black Earth: 28

Previous offices held, with years of tenure:

Two terms trustee at large City Of Platteville, two terms trustee Village of Black Earth, currently serving appointed trustee, Village of Black Earth.

How important to you is transparency in government? What will you do to encourage it?

Telling the truth for some people isn't very easy. I find no trouble with it. Obfuscation by way of misinterpretation of codified statutes has been a problem recently. I'll encourage transparency by always telling the truth.

What will you do to encourage civil discourse and acceptable behavior at meetings?

Follow Robert's Rules of Order.

There have been issues raised over the past 6 months about difficulties in getting an item placed on the agenda. The current village president's policy is if there is "general agreement" from board members, an item is placed on the agenda. Will this be the policy you will encourage (even if not running for President)? If not, what will your policy be? Explain why.

I have not experienced any problem getting items added to the agenda. My belief is that agenda items need to be from our committees.

Communication with the Village Board has been raised as an issue over the past six months. The Library Board felt it necessary to create a separate communications subcommittee due to this. Several Library Board 'members have felt it necessary to speak during public continent in order to effectively communicate with the board. What will you do-­specifically--to foster communication with the Village Board and other entities, including the public?

The library board has been a complete disaster with regards to operating separately from the Village Board. Mary Scott has been a poor communicator and Village Board representative. There is no trust with between Mary Scott and the Village Office staff. Why does the Village Board get blamed for the operation of the library when they are truly separate entities? We are establishing a new website and YouTube Channel for the public to be in the know....any questions please call me direct at 608-577-9978.

How important is the Black Earth Public Library to the Village? Explain.

We are fortunate to have a library in Black Earth. My wife and I are big users and supporters. It is important to everyone in the community for different reasons.

Will you pledge to keep Library funding at the same level? Will you pledge to increase funding to the Library? Why or why not?

I will pledge not to spend my time speculating about where the money will go. I support current funding levels for the library.

What do you think is the role of local government?

To ensure safety, transportation, infrastructure improvements, clean water, reliable electricity and gas, clean parks and reliable representation.

How do you feel about the Wisconsin Heights School District's plan for a single campus?

I chose to let the school board as an individual taxing entity have responsibility for that decision.

What do you think should be done with Black Earth Elementary?

There are many ideas that are currently being discussed with Economic Development Committee. Currently sole responsibility lies with the school district. Until we hear back from the school board we are unable to make any decisions.

How will you encourage development in the Village?

By trying to keep the tax rate as low as possible. Private sector moves where the lowest cost benefits can help the bottom line.

What is your stance on the Village's current debt load, and under what circumstances and for what projects should the Village take on more debt?

Currently we need another electric substation that is estimated to cost just a bit over 15 million dollars. This comes before anything else as we have no back up capability to restore power in the event of a catastrophic happening. Until we capture some industry I would say our debt load is not able to withstand many more projects.

 

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