Lisbon candidates differ on key issues
Landry, Plotecher disagree with Panten, Heinritz
Town of Lisbon - There are sharp differences of opinions on key town issues among the four candidates who are seeking two town supervisor seats on the Town Board in the April 2 election.
Former Town Treasurer Rebecca Plotecher and Plan Commissioner Steve Panten are campaigning for the Supervisor 3 position that became vacant last year when Dan Fischer resigned.
Former Supervisor Wendy Landry and citizen activist Hanna Heinritz are campaigning for Supervisor seat 2 since incumbent Dan Heier is not seeking re-election.
A Lake Country Publications questionnaire asked the candidates whether the town should extend its shared funding agreement with the Village of Sussex for the Pauline Haass Library or terminate the agreement at the end of 2014.
"It concerns me that Lisbon shoulders half the library's cost while Lisbon residents merely check out 36 percent of the items. Presently, the library receives the second-highest allocation of funds of any town department. Consequently, I favor ending the agreement and paying the county library tax," Heinritz responded.
"I believe the Town of Lisbon should look into a long-term contract for continual joint-funding of a cooperative library," Landry rebutted.
Plotecher added, "The Town of Lisbon has invested a great deal of money and time in the Pauline Haass Library. I feel we should continue to participate in this joint venture. I believe an agreement can be reached that is fair to both municipalities.
Panten said, "I am always looking for a chance to save up to $200,000" as long as Lisbon residents continued to have access to the library. He added that he was "the only candidates running for Supervisor 3 that did not sign the Gov. (Scott) Walker recall petition."
The candidates were also asked whether Lisbon should continue as a town government or attempt to either consolidate with the Village of Sussex or seek state approval to incorporate as a village and who should pay for those efforts.
"The Town Board should look toward incorporation in the future, and any costs incurred should be paid out of the general fund," said Plotecher.
She suggested consolidation with the Village of Sussex is a moot point because voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea in a referendum last year.
Panten said, "If we are going to continue the services we enjoy, we will need to look at all options," but added that he opposed any merger of Lisbon and Sussex.
Heinritz said she would prefer Lisbon "maintain its own identify instead of consolidating with other communities."
She said she might support another incorporation effort as long as it met the state's criteria for incorporation and did not result in the town going into debt.
Landry noted she was one of the leaders in the effort to obtain state approval for incorporation as a village.
"It is clearly evident we cannot remain a town forever, but together we can work for a sustainable future as a village," she said.
Landry said she was hopeful the state would not require the town to pay the $25,000 for a second application fee for an incorporation petition.
The candidates were also asked what suggestions they had for either reducing spending or raising nontax revenues.
"We need to explore the structure of all user fees as well as Plan Commission fees," responded Landry.
Heinritz said ending the library agreement could save about $250,000.
"Our town needs to prioritize spending, eliminate debt and save for future needs," she added.
Panten agreed that ending the library agreement would save the town money. He added that "the money to upgrade equipment may not be available as quickly as we would like." He encouraged "long-term" planning from all town departments.
Plotecher noted recent state laws have helped the town reduce spending on employee benefits which provides for more flexibility in the town budget.
"There is also a possibility of looking at the town's fee schedules and making some adjustments in those areas, if necessary," she concluded.
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