To District 1 Ald. Mike Dalecki, the Platteville Common Council election should be decided on two issues.
The first is how the council has done in the past three years.
“We have more money going to capital, we’ve cut costs, we haven’t raised your taxes,” he said. “We’ve created places for people to live in town. If this isn’t a good set of policies, then what do people want?
“In the end, I’m very proud of what we’ve done.”
The second is what the council will do in the future given the city’s fiscal issues — “sustainable fiscal policy or make short-term decisions with disastrous long-term results,” he said.
“We cannot keep doing what we’re doing forever. It’s not sustainable and if we are truly interested in the stewardship of the city, we can’t keep doing the same.”
Dalecki, a UW–Platteville professor, is running for his second term after he was elected in 2010. He also served on the Common Council from 1994 to 2000.
“The issues that existed when the economy went down five years ago still exist, even though we’ve weathered the pretty well,” he said. “You can’t always do everything everybody wants.”
One of the biggest issues in both the District 1 and at-large campaigns is the perception that aldermen don’t always listen to constituents.
“The idea that we don’t listen — I think we do,” said Dalecki. “We don’t always agree, but I always listen.”
Dalecki pointed to the creation of an overlay zoning district near the UW–Platteville campus on West Main Street and surrounding streets, to respond to concerns of homeowners near campus. He also pointed to how the council dealt with parking issues stemming from the new UWP Rountree Commons dormitory.
Of parking, he said, “If there’s a problem, we’ll fix it.”
Another of the biggest issues in both campaigns is the reduction of hours for the city’s hourly employees from 40 to 37 per week, along with the closing of the Municipal Building on Fridays.
“What happened was that city services were provided,” said Dalecki. “I had one complaint from anyone in Platteville that we weren’t doing the work we needed to do. I tried to see — are we cutting too thin here? I didn’t see any evidence there.”
Dalecki pointed out that the council reduced employee expenses without laying off employees and without cutting employee benefits.
“I’ve always said I’d like to get people back to 40 hours. I don’t think that should happen until employment is reduced” through attrition and retirements, he said. “I appreciate that no one’s happy. I got cut at the university; my wife got cut at the school district. We have to realize who we represent, and they have an interest in making sure that they money they pay in in taxes is spent as effectively as possible.
“I don’t represent [city employees] as a special interest; I represent everybody, and I have everybody’s needs to consider. This isn’t an anti-city employee diatribe, but we have to look at the needs we haven’t met yet that we’re going to have to meet.”
Dalecki supports the employee reorganization plan that creates vacancies through retirements and departures instead of layoffs, funds some positions through water and sewer revenues, and changes job titles and responsibilities.
“One of the biggest complaints we had from people was that the website is lousy, communication is bad, and people don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “Now you have different communication needs. We have different needs for employees; that’s happened forever.”
Dalecki supports UW–Platteville’s efforts to expand on-campus student housing, including Rountree Commons, which opened in August, and Bridgeway Commons, which will open in August. Expanding on-campus housing “creates places for families to live” in the city, he said, including UW–Platteville employees whose hiring is the result of UWP’s enrollment growth.
He also supports other efforts to expand housing, such as the apartment complexes opened on West Main Street and Washington Street within the past year.
To complaints about the council’s micromanaging the city, he said, “I would rather the council be more strategic and less detail-oriented.”
Dalecki realizes he has become one of the campaign’s issues.
“I’m not perfect, but I do listen to everybody,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean I’m going to agree and that goes for the rest of the council.”