October 6, 2021 – West Bend, WI – Property owners in Barton came to City Hall in West Bend with their game faces on Tuesday night as they lined up before the Plan Commission to make their case against development of a proposed Business Improvement District.
The idea to impose a special tax on 72 property owners in Barton had reportedly been initially floated in August 2021. Many property owners on Tuesday night said they were never notified.
A letter was sent via certified mail in September and property owners rallied to represent their interests and protect their investment.
Brian Bruendl runs Vrana Lock and Safe with his uncle Terry Vrana, who served as alderman in District 7 for 16 years. “For years my Uncle Terry said no business gets customers by having benches outside, banners or flowers. They get business by providing a service people want,” said Bruendl.
Jerry Zelenka owns property on Commerce Street. “It also reminds me of this idea of Obamacare where we have to pass it to find out what’s in it. We know how that turned out and I’m really not interested in agreeing when I don’t know what is.”
Jason Miller from A-1 Pools. “I feel that just raising the money and putting it into a kitty to spend on what we think we want to do at the time is sort of irresponsible.”
“It’s not fair and it’s not the right thing to do,” said Bruendl.
Overall, about 21 property owners were in the council chambers for the meeting.
Within minutes after the public hearing concluded the Plan Commission sided with the property owners and dismissed the idea of a BID district in Barton. Many of the members of the Plan Commission agreed with the taxpayers saying the proposal was “rushed and not enough information was given” and “it doesn’t seem this is supported by the business community.”
I’m thankful this did not pass. My dad put his own money and sweat into refurbishing the Barton roller mill.
I read that certified letter three times and could not make sense out of what EXACTLY money (tax) would be used for. It disappoints me that alderman in Barton was spearheading this. I find it sneaky and self serving trying to pass a tax in convoluted terms.
Very happy that many showed up to oppose this
Have a fundraiser. Then people will give if they WANT to and it’s all out in the open. That most business owners would probably be willing to do. Just ask.
Business and politics should not mix