March 16, 2018 – Jackson, WI – Four candidates vying for two seats on as Trustee on the Village of Jackson Board took part in a forum on Thursday at the Jackson Area Community Center. The very respectful forum was hosted by the Greater Jackson Business Alliance.
Village of Jackson Trustee – Two seats for two years
Keith Berben – advocate for stewardship – waste not, want not, affordable solutions with set budget. Business owner, find an affordable solution. Jackson will continue to grow and will advocate for smart development. Work with Park and Rec to plan for events.
John Kruepke (I) –Grew up on farm in Jackson. Has farmer work ethics. Graduated from UW-Madison and then got into gas station business. Wife of 50 years and two sons and seven grandchildren, past member of Jackson FD from 1978. Current member of Plan Commission and personnel committee, past member of Park & Rec and DPW. Business owner and has learned a lot on Village Board
Debra Kurtz (I) – Homeowner for 18 years in Village of Jackson. Works in Glendale as accounting mgr. On the Village Board for two years and got on because she’s seen good and bad and thought it best to be a part of change. Wants to grow with Jackson
Gary Malcolm – love Jackson. Member of ethics committee. In industry for 35 years. Marine Veteran and member of Trinity Lutheran Church.
Capital projects for village and how to pay
JK – couple major projects and one is the new school in Jackson. It’ll be a major project. As a board we don’t have to come up with funds. Other project is new PD and new FD. PD is working out of what used to be FD. Buildings will be $10 million and working with financial advisors to see how it works with revenues and TIF district. Tax money will have to come from public. We don’t want this to be heavy impact on taxpayers.
DK – School project vs safety building. Discussion about where school should be and where FD should be and I’m concerned about spending money on property that is in my mind we don’t need. We have 6.5 acres where FD is now. Why can’t we build right there. I don’t know what type of agreement with WBSD and now there’s talk of school building. There’s word the school wanted to buy the house. I’m for schools and safety buildings but we have more discussion.
GM – our school is obsolete. We need a new school and I don’t know about the finances.
KB – my kids are in a private school. I’m for a new school but it would make Jackson grow. The FD needs to make changes and would be nice to have larger space. Not sure how to pay for it. The PD is fine where it is.
How to lure more industry to Village
DK – No answer now
GM – we need industrial park
KB – if we can make it easier for companies to come in and work with them. Make it easier for biz to come into village
JK – TIF districts would help bring biz into town. Biz park there are large industrial buildings and small incubator buildings. Putting in place TIF No. 6 and as these fill up we need to extend the TIF districts.
Action in Jackson and declining attendance – should it be replaced with a new event
GM – Action in Jackson has become a beer drinking party and not a wholesome type of family thing to have in Jackson. Replace it with
KB – Always loved AIJ. How do you replace? Not sure there’s room for fireworks but that would be great. Get more softball and volleyball tournaments, but how to get people involved and then competing with other surrounding events is an issue.
JK – As time went on the population that came to AIJ dwindled. Work to put it on increased but less volunteers. Legion getting older. Food stand was a horrendous job. When FD had beer stand then a lot of income was generated. Eventually beer stand went away. Bands have to be paid to be in parade. I have no idea and I give all the blessings in the world
DK – AIJ has history of fun and family. Want to see some it stay but needs changes. One good thing is our Sprecherfest has brought in a lot of people. Bring more family stuff in for village.
Village growth and lots for single family housing are fewer – how to grow
KB – We need to find land and then develop. Doesn’t come with a lot of cost. Need to update sewer in Village if we bring in more housing. All for development but thinks it’s a big risk for a developer.
JK – No matter what type of housing it depends on what public is interested in. Went from condos to now single family. Need a developer who can make a buck. As a village we can work with developers best we can. We can make the process as simple as possible. You need a balance in the community. We have a percentage laid out for various housing.
DK – We don’t need more apartments or condos, single families we could use but not sure how to make that happen.
GM – appalled at resistance from the Town not to be joined with the Village. In former home the community simply annexed the neighboring property. Why can’t that happen in the Village.
Raising chickens and bees in Jackson
JK – chicken is the buzz word. We’re looking at other communities and exploring ordinances. This will end up at Plan Commission and it would be logical to set parameters. Chickens yes and roosters no. How many chickens, size of lot, coops – all will be discussed. If someone wants it the neighbors have to agree.
DK – not a big deal for chickens but neighbors have to agree.
GM – how about a minimum of 1 acres to have chickens or bees. Hesitate to bring into small neighborhood.
KB – I’m for chickens. There are noise concerns. Bees scare me. Need more land. I’m allergic to bees.
Steps to strengthen or repair town of Jackson and Village
DK – that’s tough because there’s a lot of animosity. Not sure how to repair that situation. Hopefully with time – that will be healed.
GM – at one time the Village and Town got along great. Need to talk to each other and have meetings to settle differences.
KB – There are a lot of old time farmers in the Village and we all just have to be adults and come to a conclusion and plan our futures.
JK – Talked about 1970s when pres of Village and Town wouldn’t talk to each other. Over the years new blood helped end lack of communication. Some reports make it off kilter. I think the two parties are working together and now it’s in hands of the state. We’ll have to wait and see decision. No matter what happens the Village will work with the Town. We’re too far in to not do it. This will heal itself.
Level of village debt and new trend
GM – not know enough
KB – spoke with John Walters and he said Village is doing well financially. Will numbers stay this way, I hope so but I think upcoming projects will put a damper on the budget numbers and roads.
JK – financially we’re ok. Water utility and treatment plant are both paid for. User fees help with maintenance issues and expansion issues. Village is down to $7 million in borrowing and with police and fire building will need help with that. Working hard with financial advisors.
DK – Village has worked hard to be in positive financial situation and I see things getting better.
If you had to identify single most important topic facing village and why
KB – School needs to happen. Sooner than later. It will open many doors to community. As far as paying for it – has to go through WBSD and one board meeting they tried to do this and people in WB wouldn’t vote for it.
JK – you can’t pick a number one thing. Everything hinges on everything else, TIF, PD, FD… everything takes money. Need to work together. PD and FD have been patient. Jackson people want Jackson PD and Jackson people want Jackson FD. They need a safe place to work out of. Need for FD and PD to be happy or there will be a budget buster for a fulltime FD.
DK – School not sure what answer is. There’s only 276 students and that’s not a lot of kids. Many kids are going to private schools and a lot of parents are choosing that option. It’s trying to find balance.
GM – children are our future. As far as money goes – there’s free money from government programs and there’s a possibility to do the same thing.
What motivated you to run for office?
JK – I started when I moved here in 1976 to run for Village Board. I campaigned. I got elected and it just grows under your skin to help the community. You work with these people and it’s challenging at times. My son says, “I don’t know how you can stand that.” But you learn to work with people.
DK – I wanted to know where my tax dollars are being spent and for me that was to run for a village position. This gives me a better understanding of how my money is spent.
GM – I have a lot of passion for this community. I show my passion by volunteering. Started in transportation and now for 3 years I deliver meals to shut-ins and also volunteer at Jackson Area Community Center.
KB – I’m young. I’m a sponge. I want to learn. Knowledge is power. The economy is going good. I want Action in Jackson to prosper and be able to build up Jackson with more homes. I want to be here the rest of my life.
GM – I’m passionate and want to put that to use
DK – Look forward to serving another term
JK – Happy to be trustee for a couple years. I have enough of a mind to benefit the village
KB – This has been fun, even though I was scared. I hope you vote and thanks for coming out. I want to learn