March 21, 2018 – West Bend, WI – Four candidates vying for two seats on the West Bend Common Council participated in a forum this week held at West Bend City Hall.
Andrew Chevalier and Justin Reichert are running for the seat in District 3. The winner will succeed alderman Mike Chevalier who decided not to run for a second term.
In District 7 incumbent Adam Williquette is running against Justice Mandl.
Voters can take advantage of absentee voting and cast a ballot today; in-person absentee voting runs through 5 p.m. on Friday, March 30.
After a brief introduction the candidates answered a series of questions.
District 3 – Andrew Chevalier – attended UW-Whitewater, emphasis on insurance, works at WB Mutual, not a yes man, running to be more involved in community, on Library Board and Library Facilities, Habitat for Humanity, issues are to lower debt and help with police force.
District 7 – Justice Mandl – grew up in Barton, parents worked in town, wants to make city a destination, keep community safe, have a safe bike route, roads are decaying, member of Historic Barton Business Association,
Dist. 3 – Justin Reichert – six and a half years in military, lovely wife and kids, environmental safety manager in Hartford, with United Way, address road issue and opioids, great public safety,
Dist. 7 – Adam Williquette – works in commercial real estate, chairman of finance committee, plan commission, tourism commission, issues are public safety and road maintenance. Helped with new PD station, support public safety, increased road maintenance budget by 30%, business environment is more friendly with Meijer and Delta Defense, helped get façade grant extended to Barton.
Qualities you bring to benefit community
JM – Work with people my entire career. I manage my own business. Have not been in public service before. Based on my people experience it would be a good fit.
JR – I like to listen to people and empower their thoughts and encourage growth. We have businesses but should be proud of locally-owned businesses. Delta Defense and Healing Elements are growing. Wants to work with small business owners.
AW – I have a strong background in finance. I’m 32 and have the entire common council elect as chairman of finance. The city used to not be an easy place to do business and now we reach out to see what we can do to help business thrive. I have a thorough understanding of how City Hall works. It’s a great fit.
AC – I would take the time to make strong decisions. We have to make the right decisions and look at return on investment. I want to be able to attract people here.
If elected what would be your major goal to accomplish in first year in office and your second year?
JR – I’d focus on the budget and work with what council has done. We have to keep our focus on public safety and in both years work to have a small-town feel as it expands. Family friendly community and make it a welcome place.
AW – so many things in motion in the city. Biggest thing – WB used to be known as city of varied industries, want to become more business friendly and want to relocate and expand here. Reducing our debt and keeping our taxes low as we’ve done the past six years.
AC – tax dollars come when businesses are attracted here. Not in favor of raising taxes. Second year – if we have more tax dollars from businesses I’d like a larger budget for roads.
JM – establish a relationship with my district. See more of a hands-on approach and getting to know the businesses and people in District 7. I want to grow a relationship with the people in my district in Barton and then representing WB.
Position on roads and advisory referendum
AW – roads are the No. 1 complaint and we’ve increased road maintenance 30%. Had a lot of new construction in 2004 and seeing a huge amount that needs to be addressed. Looking at 7th Avenue and the areas of Glenn Ivy subdivision but the pavement deteriorated. Fully support getting the roads done and it’s at top of list.
AC – some people the roads are fine. It depends where you live. I travel 18th Avenue. We need to equate the volume and what roads are used the most. I’m a no for most answers on the advisory referendum. Not for a tax increase and the money can’t go directly to the roads. The $20 wheel tax – not for it. Finally share county sales tax
JM – none of the options will hit home. Wheel tax will be an unfair burden on people. I’m sure roads are much more complicated then I understand.
JR – roads that are bad are bad. Important to fix the roads in a responsible manner that makes sense. Prioritizing on a common sense mentality of what needs to be done. Curious to see what happens to advisory referendum. Not a clear cut answer.
What city services need to be improved
AC – tough question.
JM – bike friendly path is needed, fire department is operating at a pace that will be dysfunctional before too long. More money for public safety
JR – need to be able to adapt. Public safety is a huge topic. Drug abuse – police and fire need the tools to properly serve the people of WB.
AW – over past six years we’ve seen an overhaul of City Hall and be more friendly and can’t point to any one improvement. The council and mayor keep a close eye on that – we address issues on an at-need basis. Councils prerogative to maintain public safety. We have a great city.
Topic city got wrong over past two years and what city should have done
JM – the deer thing. Things were done in the past and just getting a few deer at the end
JR – I’m not going to criticize what the council has done. A hot topic was the elimination of the Emerald Ashe Borer. It was quick and random and maybe could have done it different.
AW – echo deer management but there will be changes moving forward. Going back further – it was when city played developer on Veterans Avenue and added millions to debt payment. Nothing in the past two years was very contencious
AC – main problem was prior management. Our debt peaked. City is actually run pretty well.
Most important issue facing city and district
JR – We’re asking businesses to grow and stay but we’re not giving them the tools to do that. To encourage businesses to grow we need to work on the roads. Opoids are more important but in growth the roads are important
AW – growth and development. We’re down to one empty storefront and this year I had public works clean up the river above the dam in Barton. This will be more attractive and help draw business. Helped fill Bagg End and Long Branch Saloon. Trying to attract grocery and hardware store
AC – large concern – out of my friends and graduating class I’m the only one of 10 in my group – to stay. We need to be attractive enough for people to stay.
JM – feel there’s a lack of vision for Barton and I can bring that to the area. Adam has done a few good things and there’s more energy the district needs and I’ve got it.
Five percent sales tax and revenue sharing
AW – that discussion started prior to council meetings. Brainstorming with the mayor. County sales tax was to go to capital improvements and now money goes to offset their general fund. We asked for a portion of the sale tax and let us use it for the roads. We got the response we expected but its’ a fair request.
AC – county needs to approve the request.
JM – I don’t have specifics.
JR – not sure how county is using the money now and I don’t think it’s the greatest idea. Seems we’re taking from Peter to pay Paul. Depending on how it’s used now. County supervisors are supposed to do what their constituents like. Can’t we go after the money in a different way.
AC – my fiscal skill set I’m a representative of Dist. 3. The decisions I make will represent the needs of my district. I look forward to giving back to the community
JM – hope the Dist. 7 representative gets involved with the people in Barton. I have a successful business and applaud the council and mayor for getting budget on track. I can bring a broad perspective to our humble bureau.
JR – I’m a dad, husband and it’s important to encourage the people of West Bend. We need WB to be a place where people want to come back to. I’ve been overseas and it’s important to take knowledge any of us have to work well moving forward. We need to work together. If elected I won’t take a salary.
AW – important to educate yourself on issues that affect us. We’ve seen very positive steps the past six years. I promise to keep a business friendly and stable environment. I’ve learned how to work better as a team while on the council. As elected official I’ve been able to meet great people and that’s taught me to be a great listener and give back to the community. Running again because I care about my city and neighbors in the district. We have a great team in place but our work isn’t complete.
Election Day is April 3.