The Platteville Common Council at-large race might be seen as a referendum on how city government is operating.
Even though Amy Seeboth isn’t on the Common Council, Seeboth is already involved in city organizations. The UW–Platteville sustainability coordinator is on the Main Street Program sustainability committee, the Platteville Community Arboretum Board, and the city’s Extraterritorial Zoning Board of Appeals.
But Seeboth believes that to say she’s the establishment candidate for the council is “overstated. I think there’s always room for improvement on different issues. I don’t agree with everything that’s been done.
“Most importantly, I work for myself — certainly I work for the university, but my role on the council is to respect the whole community, not just a special interest.”
One area Seeboth sees a need for improvement is communicating with city residents “to explain why decisions are made, and to make people aware of how decisions are made before the decision is made.”
Seeboth also said the council needs to “take an approach that’s not adversarial ... to try to listen to each other better.”
Seeboth has lived in Platteville since she came here to work with the Southwest Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.
“I enjoy being in Platteville,” said Seeboth. “I’ve done a fair amount of community volunteerism in the past, I enjoy it, and I’d like to continue to help make Platteville a great place to live.”
Seeboth is particularly interested in getting young professionals to Platteville, and in getting UW–Platteville graduates to stay in Platteville.
“I think a lot of them would like to stay in Platteville, and a big factor is whether they can find a job here,” she said. “We’re exporting our assets. A lot of employers would love to have assets like UWP, but you have to be able to provide them with quality of life.”
Seeboth mentioned the city’s housing stock, the PCA Trail, restaurants and recreational opportunities — “and in a small town like Platteville, we continually struggle with providing that resource,” she said.
As for housing, she said, “Incentives are huge, to make sure we make processing and permitting easy to remodel existing homes. Promoting what we already do would be a good start.”
Seeboth suggested patterning Platteville efforts on two growing Iowa communities, Decorah, which is smaller than Platteville, and Fairfield, a university town.
“We need to create a robust economy, not just a tourist economy,” she said. “Having tourism is good, but we should be investing in the residents who are here.”
Seeboth believes the city needs to take more of a leadership role in economic development, even if that role isn’t always visible.
“The city sets the tone for the community in a lot of ways,” she said. “The chamber, the [Platteville Area Industrial Development Corp.] all look to the city, and the city has to set the tone … and work with business and help them locate in Platteville.
“It’s difficult to measure economic development strides. It’s great when the jobs come in, but a lot of economic development happens before the jobs come in.”
Seeboth added that business prefer stability in government and policy.
“They want to know that business incentives are stable so that things aren’t going to change overnight,” she said. “We need to look to each other and make decisions in the best interests of the community. … leaders who can work together and not be adversarial.”
Seeboth believes the city needs to work with the Fire Department and Platteville EMS to “find a solution to meet their needs and the city’s needs.” As for city and county dispatch, she said it’s “good to consolidate where you can, but you have to make sure the city gets service out of consolidation.”
In keeping with her UW–Platteville position, Seeboth said the city should “use the resources you have in the most wise way possible … it’s in every-day decisions – buy locally as much as possible, frequent each other’s businesses.
“It’s really important to have a vision with top priorities, and we pursue those goals. You need to have a plan and work toward those goals and how to make those happen.”
Seeboth is optimistic about the city’s future.
“It’s an exciting time to be in Platteville,” she said. “The growth of the university has brought a lot of potential resources. And it’s up to the community to make the best use of the resources and to position Platteville ahead of our peers.”