SHULLSBURG - In a Shullsburg Mayoral race that will be decided by voters on April 3, two aldermen, Emmett Reilly and Duane Wedige will square off with the city’s Mayor position at stake.
1. It is natural that disagreements will emerge between constituents and their civic leaders. How would you lead the community and council to work for the good of Shullsburg?
2. Opinions vary on what type of jobs Shullsburg needs. What is your plan for economic development?
3. What are your future budgetary outlines that would continue to strengthen the municipal treasury while restoring services and improving infrastructure?
4. What is the city’s biggest financial challenge and how will you address it?
5. How will your approach be to increase Shullsburg’s tax base?
6. The biggest problem facing Shullsburg that doesn’t get much attention is:
7. The Parkview Development has been a foremost discussed topic. What is your final word on the matter?
1. I would tell the council and civic leaders that we would never agree on everything, but let’s be adults and discuss the issues. Let the majority vote decide the outcome and agree to disagree and move on.
2. I don’t understand why there would be an opinion on what type of jobs Shullsburg needs. We will take any type of job we can get. There have been comments made that we have enough cheese plants and don’t need any more. I will gladly welcome any new cheese plants that employ 25-30 people. I would contact state leaders such as Sen. Howard Marklein and Rep. Todd Novak to help us attract new industry or retail business to help with job growth and creation of decent paying jobs.
3. City budget went up this year 6.5 percent, which barely covers the cost of inflation. Costs for everything go up each year, but I will endeavor to keep taxes down. My three previous years in office taxes averaged only one percent increase each year. It is hard to keep that kind of increase without increasing the tax base. I’m not saying I will keep it at one percent, but I will keep a tight rein on the budget.
4. Our biggest financial challenge is to keep costs down. We have purchased several pieces of equipment so that much of city work can be done in house to keep costs down.
5. The best way to increase the tax base is through manufacturing and residential growth. As I stated I will work with civic and state leaders to help attain these goals. I will work with Advance Shullsburg to help local businesses grow and hopefully increase employment.
6. The problem that gets some attention but not enough is keeping our city looking clean to attract new people and business. The police chief has his hands full when it comes to these issues. I intend to work closely with Chief Jerry to help make our city look like we are proud to live in Shullsburg.
7. My final word on the Parkview Subdivision is that this is something that will never again happen in our lifetime. We have been offered donated land to help our residential growth. Approximately 3 years ago the state legislature has made it possible to use TIF funds to finance this project. If it were not for the TIF fund our taxes and utilities would increase greatly which I’m sure no one wants to see. This is the best situation to happen to Shullsburg in our lifetime. To my knowledge only two communities in Wisconsin fell into this situation. Ten homes in the development would increase the tax base about $2.5 million. Increasing the tax base will help to keep taxes down, not increase them. The more people there are to pay into the tax pot, the smaller everyone’s share will be. I hope we are smart enough to get on board with this development to help our city grow and keep taxes to a minimum.
1. First thing I would like to say is to thank the people of Shullsburg for the opportunity to be a public servant for the last three years. I look forward to serving them for another two years as mayor. I believe that the basic thing being a public servant is to listen, give respect and do the right thing. In Shullsburg, you have an opportunity to move forward and change the way business is done and I particularly enjoy listening to people and their comments and concerns. I might not have the same point of view but it has always been astonishing to me how much you learn listening to all points of view and how you can make things come together. The basic part is to listen and give respect and then do the right thing.
2. I have a firm belief that the more money people have in their pockets the more they have available to spend. It is our duty as public servants to keep expenses at a minimum so people have more money to spend. When people have more money to spend, that improves what they can spend adding to their house, building a house, adding to their business and that improves property values. The number one thing a public servant can do is to do the best job for the city of Shullsburg and to keep the expenses as low as possible at the same time providing the infrastructure that needs to be there. At this time we have a very strong concern about the storm sewers. They don’t have the capacity that they need to have.
What we need is more people living in Shullsburg. They need a place to live. Development is a good thing. Many of the people in Shullsburg may not be able to build new. The Wisconsin Main Street Program came down and did a study in Shullsburg for over a week and in that study they have a page that says Shullsburg’s needs are for low-income housing. Their housing is very inadequate for low-income and seniors. We need development for those types of housing. Many of the people that work in Shullsburg can’t live there and they can’t afford to build a large house. Many retired people have had to leave due to inadequate housing for their needs.
3. Our number one concern for any public servant or official is to keep things in good shape at the lowest cost possible. Move people in Shullsburg increases the tax base; people spend money in town. The housing that we need is low/moderate income housing and senior housing. The senior population is growing everywhere. If there is one need in Lafayette County right now it is a new skilled nursing facility and if we could do that in Shullsburg that would probably provide enough jobs and we would have people that would be making all types of salaries. If there is any specific need that Lafayette County needs is a new skilled nursing home and I would love to have it in Shullsburg.
4. Don’t believe we have a big financial challenge right now. Our biggest financial challenge moving forward is keeping all the services viable, keeping things affordable for the people of Shullsburg. There are people in Shullsburg that $50 a month means a lot to and that is our biggest financial challenge to keep things affordable. If it is affordable for the people then the city will survive.
5. The more people in Shullsburg increase the tax base. The people that work in Shullsburg can’t all live there because there isn’t adequate space and that is all backed up by the Main Street Program’s study. I have to say that I am very proud of my parents. They developed some land; one piece of property they paid all the costs. There was no government money involved. They also saw the need for housing for lower-income and sold some their best piece of property for an apartment housing. I don’t know where Shullsburg would be without that because they are full all the time.
6. I think the largest problem in Shullsburg is trying to find new people to be involved in government in city and school issues because they are afraid to be bullied. We need to really encourage people that will listen to different points of view and respect what other people have to say. Right now we have an opportunity and a turning point to make changes in Shullsburg, to make more people involved. It is the greatest concern I see going forward. I respect other people’s opinions and that is the most important thing in the world to respect that opinion and listen to what they have to say and give them the time to say it without being interrupted.
7. Development for any city is a good thing. This particular project has some restrictions of what you can build and how you can build; it doesn’t fit Shullsburg. If the land was just given to the city of Shullsburg with no restrictions, and didn’t have TIF district money controlling size of lots and number of houses per acre and we had private developers developing the lots, it would be beneficial. All the questions over the last two years, I have gotten very few answers. I have never been asked to sit down and discuss it. Moving forward, Shullsburg needs housing. This particular project isn’t our primary need. We need housing for the people that work in Shullsburg and our seniors.