Lannon trustee candidates have different priorities
Candidates differ on development, agree on fire consolidation
Village of Lannon - Four candidates for three village trustee positions generally agreed on the proposed merger of the Lannon and Menomonee Falls fire departments, but expressed divided opinions in a Sussex Sun questionnaire regarding whether attracting commercial development or maintaining a friendly, small-village atmosphere should be the Village Board's greater priority.
The candidates who responded to the questionnaire included incumbents Scott Balsiger and Janice Manor-Schmidt along with challengers Thomas Gudex and Dave Nagler, who is also a candidate for village president.
A fifth candidate, incumbent Trustee Dave Bartelt, chose not to respond to the questionnaire. The three candidates who receive the highest number of votes in the April 2 municipal election will be declared the winners.
"I would prefer the small-town atmosphere. With the village's small population and location, you are not going to have big box stores or large retailers. We have some very nice 'mom and pop' small businesses in the village and I think the Village Board should do every thing it can to support those businesses," said Balsiger.
Gudex responded, "We can and must attract commercial and residential development in order to expand the tax base, reduce individual tax rates and offer economic opportunity for all, thus insuring that we can maintain a friendly, small village atmosphere."
Incumbent Manor-Schmidt added, "Residents reside in and move to Lannon because they like the small-village atmosphere. Although some commercial/industrial development is necessary to maintain a lower residential tax rate, placement of these properties must be carefully considered. When the character of a neighborhood changes, property values plummet. I support maintaining an attractive and harmonious community."
Nagler decline to choose which would be his priority.
"I don't feel we need to have to prioritize these efforts differently. They both warrant a top position," he said.
Nagler did endorse the proposed consolidation of the Lannon and Menomonee Falls fire departments and suggested the merger was one "specific and unique proposal" that could help the village maintain, or reduce, present spending levels.
"The village is able to look at the possibility of cutting costs by working with Menomonee Falls to possible provide fire and emergency medical services to Lannon," he said.
"As much as I personally would like to see an independent Lannon Fire Department, the reality is that the costs will make it prohibitive to keep the Lannon department as a cost-effective standalone entity," he added.
Gudex also endorsed the possible consolidation of fire departments.
"Consolidating the Lannon and Menomonee Falls fire departments will improve service at a lower cost for both communities," according to Gudex.
Balsiger said it is too early in the discussions to know how much money, if any, a consolidation might save the communities. He pointed out that the elected officials from the two communities are just beginning their negotiations. He added that he preferred more village trustees were involved in the discussion instead of only the village president.
"If it would save us money, yes I would support it," he concluded.
Balsiger added that the village has been "very diligent" in its efforts to control cost. He noted that the village relies heavily on paid, on-call volunteer firefighters and other parttime employees in addition to village residents and trustees who volunteer their time on village projects.
Manor-Schmidt added, "I support the merging of the fire departments if the current coverage and protection is maintained and costs do not increase."
"If this merger takes place, the Lannon Fire Department will hold its identity as a long as services are provided to which residents are accustom," she concluded.
Manor-Schmidt suggested that a "specific and unique proposal" for increasing municipal reviews would be to review all permit, license, and impact fees to make sure they covers costs of the municipal activities associated with those fees and they are comparable to what other municipalities are charging.
Scott Balsiger (I)
Education: technical education and apprenticeship
Honors/Awards: Owned business for 16 years
Previous offices: Plan Commission, village trustee
Years in village: 12
Family: Wife, Jacqueline, five children ages 4 to 14
Janice Manor-Schmidt (I)
Occupation: Office work
Previous Offices: Village trustee
Family: Husband, Dennis, two adult children, three grandchildren
David F. Nagler
Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bachelor of Science; various advanced degree work
Previous Offices: Plan Commission, Lannon Village Board
Years in village: 12
Family: Wife, Liz; teenage son
Occupation: Co-owner Green Acres Self Storage; Milwaukee Electric Tool retired, U.S. Air Force Reserve, retired
Education: Bachelor of science business administration; associate egress in mechanical design and logistics management
Honors/Awards: Air Force Combat Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force and Army Commendation medals, Meritorious Service Medal
Previous offices: none
Years in village: 26
Family: Wife, Sandy, four children
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