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VIDEO | Candidate forum – Town of Erin Supervisor race | By Common Sense Citizens of Washington County

Town of Erin, WI – Common Sense Citizens of Washington County held a Candidate Forum at the Washington County Fair Park & Conference Center.

Common Sense Citizens of Washington County logo.

Two of the four candidates running for a 2-year term for Town of Erin Supervisor participated including Maripat Blankenheim and Jeff Millikin. Eric Casetta and Michael Stapleton are also on the April 5, 2022 ballot.

Opening statement:

Maripat Blankenheim – Seeking third term. Volunteering and giving back is important to me. My job is to do what is best for Town of Erin. Managed project to remodel town hall, no local funds were used. Worked for wired broadband service for community.

Jeff Millikin – Served community for many years. Served 25 years in Navy. 23-year business owner. Strong desire to serve people in Erin. Preserve rural nature, parks and roads. Kids involved in Washington Co. 4-H. Continue to do best to maintain quality community.

Eric Casetta – Opening statement read by moderator. Proud to live in Erin and want to be more active in community. Graduated from Hartford HS and served in military. Got engaged in local government following conversation about bad roads. Not proposing raising taxes, there doesn’t seem to be a long-term plan. What if we get federal funding? To me, there should be a better plan. Need to drive accountability and transparency into decisions we are making.

The Richfield Fire Department services 8 square miles within the Town of Erin but is facing a shortage of volunteer staff.  As a result, they are now supplementing their volunteer staff with full-time staff, which adds to the cost of service.  How would you approach addressing these concerns for the Town of Erin?

MP – Erin accounts for 8-12% of calls from Richfield FD.  We enjoy services but Richfield is looking at a possible referendum.  Based on usage – we should not see that big of cost increase.

JM – this is working for us with Richfield but to raise prices I don’t see that for us. We should continue as we are.

Town of Erin candidate

The placement of the County Emergency Communications radio tower within the Town of Erin has been a significant issue.  What approach did you support for the tower location and why.

MB- originally looked at pit off Hwy 83. Legally we have a contract that restricts what is currently done. The county purchased land on 83 and 167 for the tower. I was opposed to that. If there are four corners in our community that, is it. Definitely opposed. On Friday the lease was delivered to Wash Co and now agreed to it.  Co passed a referendum the authority.

JM – Town of Erin opposed to STH 167 and Hwy 83 location. I’m totally opposed to it.

Do you feel that the Town is adequately addressing road maintenance and repair, is adequate funding being invested into roads, and what can be done to improve forecasting and budgeting for road maintenance and repair?

MB – Whatever money we get we use but it is never enough. We always need more. There was a county meeting to see about federal infrastructure funding. But if you take federal funds you need to meet their standards. That costs more and not good. What is the solution? We passed a resolution to look at a referendum over 10 years to put on ballot in November. Costs are always going up. We have a responsibility to provide good roads.

JM – referendum is a way to pay for the roads over 10 years and in full support.

Deer herd management within the town is an issue, and there is a need to reduce the deer population.  What approach would you support and how would you increase resident education and cooperation to reduce the deer herd?

MB – we have a hard time now hiring someone to pick up dead deer on the road.

JM – not as many residents hunting deer and that’s why herd is increasing. I would encourage local hunters to participate. Deer are good eatin’

All town of Erin residents vote at the Erin Town Hall, 1846 Hwy 83. Voting hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for all elections. Visit myvote.wi.gov to register to vote or to request an absentee ballot.
With the nation projected to face 7%-10% inflation, how would you manage the budget, and would you support or oppose tax increases?

MB – Erin budget is tight and small by comparison to other communities. Not a lot of leeway. How do we manage with funds we have. We have a bucket of money. I’m not opposed to raising taxes when it makes sense to do so. Increased costs for basics

JM – I’m all for a referendum for roads and if we have to raise taxes, the money has to come from somewhere and if we have to raise taxes I’m for it.

As our County grows, how will you balance the rural atmosphere of the Town of Erin with the projected need for more development.

MB – the last person in Erin wants to be the last person in Erin. I love rural nature. We don’t have conglomerates coming to town. We’ve very rural and it is our responsibility to maintain it.

JM – I agree with it.

CLICK HERE as Village of Jackson Clerk Jilline Dobratz answers ballot questions
before April 5, 2022 election

Closing statement

MB – Enjoy work I do. I’m results driven. If there’s a problem, I want to solve it. Love meeting people and working with the community. We’re a small town. I want to see more people involved and I want to be reelected.

JM – Served as Town of Erin supervisor for 15 years and in next election I have the qualifications and experience for another term.

 

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.

 

Charter Steel

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