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Two people, one seat on Shullsburg Council

City of Shullsburg

Two people, one seat on Shullsburg Council

Emmett Reilly

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POSTED March 30, 2017 9:54 a.m.

Incumbent Emmett Reilly, alderperson for District 1, Wards 1 & 3 is running against Tom Lethlean on the Shullsburg City Council. Duane Wedige is running unopposed for the open alderperson District 2 seat, which was held by Darrell Morrissey. The following is a list of questions answered by Reilly and Lethlean.
Tom Lethlean
Occupation: Retired from John Deere Dubuque Tractor Works and still engaged in farming
Family background: Have lived my entire life in the Shullsburg area and attended the Shullsburg School. Married to Deb Lethlean (Wiegel) and we have three children: Brian Lethlean, Erin Lethlean and Cherry Miller.
What position are you running for?
Seeking election to the Shullsburg City Council as Alderperson for Ward 1 & 3
What previous political experience have you had? Or any positions held?
Previously served as Mayor for the City of Shullsburg from 2010-2014. I also served in various civic organizations over the years.
What qualifications do you have for the position sought and what do you feel you have to offer?
Based on my past experience on the city council, I feel I am able to bring insight and cooperation to the council. I have always been willing to search for answers and bring findings to the table that are the best interest of the city and its residents.
Why are you running for city council?
In recent years, I have observed a lack of cooperation and acceptance of decisions by members of the council. I feel the council should debate any and all issues that come before them but once a vote is taken and the course of action approved it becomes the responsibility of the council members to accept the decision and work together in supporting the decision.
What are the most important issues facing the city of Shullsburg right now?
The City of Shullsburg has the same issues every municipality faces. We need to address the needs of the public, year-to-year funding issues, keep our taxes inline without ignoring our infrastructure, maintain and train our employees and promote our community. Presently the city is in the process of finalizing a gift of real estate that will provide for residential building sites. Based don cost estimates and tax increment being generated by TID #7, the cost of the development should be totally funded by TID #7. I feel this is a great opportunity that will not result in a financial burden to the city taxpayer! We need to keep moving forward on the development project.
How do you feel the city has dealt with budget issues or other recent issues so far? What could be done differently?
I feel the council has done a good job in dealing with budget issues. They are undertaking major street and infrastructure renovations at the present time and the city has received a major grant to offset the costs. We need to continue to maintain/replace and always pursue any and all grants that may lower our input costs. The degree of state funding to the city remains a political issue and as such creates uncertainty on an annual basis. We must maintain our due diligence on the budget and address items that come before us.
What would be your approach to be the best steward of taxpayer dollars?
In the present system, the annual city budget is based on the prior year’s budget with an allowance of increase determined by the state. To go above state mandates, any additional increase in tax revenue, (levy), must be based on new construction or additional debt approved by the council. The rules are in place to control taxes but it also creates a financial hardship for the council to address unforeseen expenditures that may be required. Operating costs will continue to climb and the best means to increase city revenue is to promote new construction. The current system is not conducive of maintaining a rainy day fund. It is more apt to be stated to borrow when needed.
What do you believe needs to happen now and in the future to give the city of Shullsburg and its citizens the best advantages?
We need to possess a progressive attitude for the community. We must be committed to growth and promotion that will provide a reason for people and businesses to locate in the City of Shullsburg. Providing residential development and a mill rate that is conducive to residents and businesses is paramount in the decision-making! We have an outstanding community comprised of history, opportunities, caring individuals who volunteer time and effort and immeasurable community pride! As we continue to build off these qualities we will be prepared to move forward.
Additional comments:
Seldom is there any issue that comes before the council that has only one clear answer. I feel an elected official should research the issue, make decisions based on relative information and support the decision of the council. I believe discussions that are held in an orderly manner will best promote unified action by the council.
Emmett Reilly
Occupation: I’m in insurance sales
Family background: Married to Jeanne with 5 children and 3 grandchildren. Grew up in Shullsburg, but went to school in Fennimore. Moved back in 1983 and have lived here ever since.
What position are you running for?
Shullsburg City Council Alderperson, Wards 1 & 3
What previous political experience have you had? Or any positions held?
This was my first term on the Shullsburg City Council. I was elected three times to the Shullsburg School Board.
What qualifications do you have for the position sought and what do you feel you have to offer?
I have an interest to serve the public and enjoy being on the city council. I enjoy all the challenges that come up and all the different people we get to listen to and help. I believe I’m a problem solver. People have so many different ideas and I love to listen to them. People you grew up with and people you may not know, I enjoy listening to all their different points of view.
Why are you running for city council?
I made it a goal to serve two terms and this is the second term I am seeking. There are also some issues that I would like to see through. I would like to see the city run in a good orderly manor. I believe I am there to represent, to ask questions, search and find the answers and details that will help the majority of the people.
What are the most important issues facing the city of Shullsburg right now?
The most important is concentrating on doing the city’s business and not to be a developer of property of homes. The biggest issue on our agenda for the last year has been the McCoy Subdivision. I have pushed consistently to have the information out to the public and to have a referendum. The McCoy Subdivision is not usual city business. We are not giving enough attention to our regular city business. The wastewater treatment, snow removal, and pool are regular city business. Developing the property should be left to private individuals.
I believe strongly that if this is going to proceed, it needs to have a referendum. I don’t the people of Shullsburg should be paying for a gated community, with different rules from the rest of the city. Everybody in the city should act under the same rules and ordinances. The proposal that we haven’t acted on yet to receive the land from the McCoy’s should be that simple; they give us the land and we accept it, no strings attached. Nothing should be involved with the McCoys being able to take the land back if we don’t meet their requirements. I don’t know why the city should give lots away for $1 and the burden for paying for those lots, the infrastructure will go to the citizens of Shullsburg and they will have to pay for it on their taxes and sewer and water bills.
How do you feel the city has dealt with budget issues or other recent issues so far? What could be done differently?
There are so many regulations that you have to follow and you have to meet the levy limits but I think Shullsburg is on a good path for reconstructing streets on a regular basis. One of the goals we put on the back burner that needs to attention is finishing the lower end of Water Street because the McCoy Development has pushed it out of the way and we need to get back to doing our regular business. We need to stop spending thousands of dollars and time on hiring lawyers and consultants for a development that we shouldn’t be developing. I would drop the McCoy Development and have private individuals take care of that.
What would be your approach to be the best steward of taxpayer dollars?
To do the research and ask the questions. We need to use the same philosophy that you use in your household; can we afford it now and how much can we do later? It’s not city money, its resident’s money. It belongs to the people. Spend it like you would your own.
What do you believe needs to happen now and in the future to give the city of Shullsburg and its citizens the best advantages?
We need to come together as a community and support each other. If I see my neighbor that needs some help, I will go help that neighbor. We need help one another. That is a major goal of mine. Help that neighbor instead of turning them in.
Additional comments:
It’s a great day for America.

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