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VIDEO | Candidate forum – West Bend Alderman District 5

West Bend, WI – Common Sense Citizens of Washington County held a Candidate Forum at the Washington County Fair Park & Conference Center. Two candidates running for District 5 alderman in West Bend participated: Jed Dolnick and James Knepler.

What are your views on the recent study of the staffing and facilities situation for the west Bend Fire Department?

JK – agree there are needs for more firefighters and needs to upgrade facilities. Question procedures and room for improvement especially medical transport which is expensive and inefficient. Need to accommodate facilities for female firefighters.

JD – interfacility transport – it brings in revenue but straining resources. Review Station No. 2 need that station on that side of town.  Study indicated response times would increase. Give up public safety dispatching to Sheriff. I disagree with that. A lot to be reviewed along with staffing shortage.

Do you feel that the city is adequately funding road maintenance and repair, and keeping pace with the road needs as they arise? Why do you have this belief?

JD – bad roads are No. 1 concern in the city.  Previous administration was concerned about debt service. We borrow money for street repairs – that amount was reduced. Now we need to catchup. Kilbourn Avenue needs to be reconstructed in two phases over two years.  We need to borrow more money, but we can’t get ourselves in trouble.

JK – Agreed, road maintenance is an issue. As a businessman you don’t like to borrow long term for year to year. Need a pattern of borrowing for street maintenance. Schedule out work maintenance and divvy up assets.  Long-term borrowing is not a best practice for road maintenance.

If elected/re-elected, will you commit to supporting a merit-based pay structure that uses both public and private sector employees as benchmarks?

JK – yes. Outsourcing some aspects currently being done by City. Try to keep costs low. Medical transport is top of list.  Have to work similar to private sector. Not everyone needs to get same raise every year.

JD – it is difficult to find corresponding positions for public and private positions. It is a challenging effort. Needs to be done fairly.

With the nation projected to face 7%-10% inflation, how would you manage the budget and would you support or oppose tax increases?

JD – you have to act responsibly when you take the position. With 8 cent increase we kept PD and FD in place and maintain parks. Nobody wants to raise taxes. We have to use dollars responsibly but keep services running. Community understands paying taxes to keep city running.

JK – need to review budget before money allocated. My private sector experience would be to look for efficiencies. Can we be smarter and better without cutting people and raising taxes. Not opposed to raising taxes but want to find priorities and efficiencies. When you keep raising taxes, people leave high tax areas for more favorable tax climates.

Would you support or oppose saving money by consolidating emergency dispatching with the county’s 911 dispatch center and why?

JK – take an intense look at what is cost effective. There are other ways and at a lower cost. Look at cost accounting.

JD – No. Do not want consolidation. This would be turning it over completely to Sheriff. City would have no voice. Talking to local dispatcher is reassuring. There are practical disadvantages rather than cost savings.

CLICK HERE as Village of Jackson Clerk Jilline Dobratz answers ballot questions
before April 5, 2022 election
If elected/re-elected, do you commit to leading and communicating efforts to identifying efficiencies up to and including potential elimination or outsourcing of functions where appropriate?

JD – That’s a broad question. Outsourcing of EMS – that would not be appropriate. Need it to make sense in order to ensure quality of service. Need to have an open mind.

JK – finding efficiencies is top of my list. People immediate start worrying about losing their job – in my job we’ve looked at attrition or shifting jobs for best efficiency. Are there better ways to do business. Whatever we can do to make this work better with taxpayer funding.

There have been several large apartment developments within the city over the last few years, with several more in the works.  Do you think the city has a proper balance of housing needs, or is the city too heavy in one type of housing over another?

JK – I’m capitalist, free market person. There must be a need. I support development to help tax base grow and be strong.

JD – city has a comprehensive land-use plan. That plan does need to be updated. Now the market is for multifamily housing. Demographics have changed. County is going crazy with affordable housing. A lot of tis is dictated by the marketplace.

Click HERE to view more candidate forums tied to the

April 5, 2022, Spring Election

The Spring Election is Tuesday, April 5, 2022. In-person absentee voting starts March 22, 2022, and runs through 5 p.m. on Friday, April 1, 2022.

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