West Bend, WI – Rebroadcast of candidate forum at West Bend City Hall. Candidates included Brett Berquist and Mary Ann Rzeszutek vying for Dist. 3 alderman and Oscar Estrada and Justice Madl vying for Dist. 7 alderman in the April 7 Spring Election.
Dist. 3 – Brett Berquist – Went to UWWC, 25 years in Military with three deployments, retired WBPD. Public safety, growing community and responsible with tax dollars. Top issue is roads and attracting new business.
Dist 7 – Oscar Estrada – Dist 7 – lived here 11 years with two daughters. Eucharist minister and member of Knights of Columbus.
Dist. 7 – Justice Madl – Incumbent. Business owner in Barton. Increased pressure on police department and be careful to remain safe. Work with new mayor, focus on roads and and make Barton safe and clean.
Dist. 3 – Mary Ann Rzeszutek – Recently moved from NY. WB is a beautiful place to live. I have no agenda and can look strategically at issues. Works part time at WB public library. Want to be active member of community. Experience with local government. Was in manufacturing with Kodak Co.
What qualities do you bring to council that would benefit district and community
OE – 29 years of experience and working with customers. I would work united. Would spend more time listening. Improve and grow WB. Quality of products and people and drive cost out but doing right thing for people of WB.
JM – Direct line to how people in district feel about issues
MAR – I’m a good problem solver. Good at communicating. Broad background. Experience to spend money wisely. I would treat taxpayer money like I do my own.
BB – I like working as a team. I can see the big picture and help communicate. As a former police officer I can think on my feet. I’m just one person but I want to work for taxpayers.
If your campaign is successful how will it affect area business?
JM – HBBA has put on 10 local events. Installed bike racks. I’m already doing it.
MAR – I have experience in biz and residents of Dist. 3 are concerned about empty stores. Thriving business means thriving community.
BB – Positive impact. I shop local. Work as a team and I’m going to rely on others and learn about developers agreements and special assessments. Look out for what’s best for the community.
OE – My strength is working with businesses around the world. I know how to develop growth and bring people into the city of West Bend. I’d look at marketing and our great safety factor. Key is to develop trust and respect, understanding, sincere, and providing time to listen to taxpayers to help grow home.
What’s more important building more homes and commercial space or rehabbing, expanding existing storefronts?
MAR – Using the existing storefronts and space is important. Effectively fill empty stores.
BB – It’s a fine line. We don’t want to be stagnant. Don’t want to limit housing. Empty buildings – it would be great to encourage business growth and development. Biz are in biz of making money. Yes, City is involved but important to allow them freedom to want to come here. Teamwork is important to get to the point to benefit biz and community.
OE – WB is home. Attractive part is the local stores. At times other businesses are needed. There are opportunities for us to grow.
JM – There has to be a combination. Can’t always afford to tear something down and build new. Bermico building needs to come down.
City roads are hottest topic in community. Should city spend more to address problem?
BB – We’ve been trying to address it. Important to be part of the solution. Instead of tearing up roads how about just resurface and make a short-term fix. If a road needs to be replaced then it has to be considered.
OE – If we can do assessment by district and look at worst roads by volume of vehicle. Try something different – look at it from total cost of operating. Review bidding process and rate bidders. Look at all corners of WB to please everybody.
JM – City has PASER rating to rate the roads. We’ve improved debt situation. Roads are tough.
MAR – Spoke to city engineer. There is an evaluation process along with traffic count. City has prioritized roads and it’s a good plan to follow. City does a good job to fix roads when it coincides with sewer and water repair. Suggests taxpayers may be ready to spend more.
One thing to be done at government level to have biggest impact on WB
OE – Public safety. Want to make sure people feel safe.
JM – Staff. Work with new marketing person.
MAR – Better communication.
BB – Teamwork. The important thing is the taxpayers. People want someone to listen to them.
How are you different than other candidates?
JM – I have an ability to connect with my constituents.
MAR – I’m learning about the city, have an open mind and clean slate.
BB – I have strong communication skills.
OE – I’m more like a coach and help to get the best out of people.
What challenges has no one started discussing yet
MAR – Safety and make sure WBPD and WBFD are funded adequately
BB – Where do we want to go from here. What are our priorities
OE – Barton Park improvements
JM – Improve downtown Barton
What does a successful term in office look like to you
BB – Work on issues and find important things to address and work towards a better community for all.
OE – Build trust with constituents, provide support with businesses and increase activities for all ages.
JM – I’ve been very successful the last two years. New banners, bike racks, Christmas decor….
MAR – Have a good relationship with residents.
Polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Click HERE for details on polling location and races on your ballot.