Town of Salem Approves Utility Engineer

After more than a year without a Utility Engineer, the Town of Salem voted to approve Strand Associates, Inc to help the town plan for its future.

The Town Board received more than ten applications from engineering firms and narrowed the selection down to four. According to Town Administrator, Patrick Casey, each of the four were qualified to represent the town.

“We evaluated each of them and then each gave a presentation to show how they would best fit the town’s long term interest,” he said. “Their presentations were excellent, but after review, we felt that Strand would offer the services we needed to grow.”

While the board unanimously approved Strand Associates, a national firm whose local offices are based in Madison and Milwaukee, Casey explained that the firm would not be involved in every aspect of the planning.

“We try to solve our own problems first and then call the engineers if we need to,” said Casey. “And with the availability of email, aerial photography, pdfs and phone calls, we can do a lot of the work electronically and save money that way.”




  1. Steve says:

    Wow – how did they EVER get along without one??? How can there be money in the budget for that, but, the town administrator got rid of three employees with this year’s budget. The Town used to have a Utility District Engineer, AND a Utility District Attorney – but, alas, after the last batch of “leaders” and administrator, they BOTH quit. I’d much rather have my taxes going to pay employees that WORK, than an administrator that GIVES ORDERS. I still say that the Town should eliminate the administrator position and do the job that we elected THEM to do. It seems like they’ve given all their power to one man that “we, the people” didn’t even elect!

  2. Steve says:

    A question here – just who will Strand answer to? The Town Board, or the Administrator? Just who’s got the power in our Town? Once again – We The People, elected Four Supervisors and a Town Chairman to run the Town of Salem. If the Board that WE elected has decided to turn the reins over to an administrator, then maybe, the Board should be taking a reduction in pay.

  3. Steve? says:

    Bring it up at an THE ANUAL MEETING in April. Last I heard, the board things they deserve to have 7500 per supervisor and 15000 for the chairwoman.
    If you dont agree, you will have to campaign for your beliefs to the other attending electors who attend that meeting, as absentee ballots are not possible. April is your chance; your only chance.

  4. Jim V. says:

    I have come to the conclusion that the taxpayers in the Town of Salem love to pay taxes. At the Tax Levy meeting last year I showed where the Town was overtaxing us by $850,000. Out total tax levy is $3,400,000. If voters wanted too, they could have forced the Town to lower our taxes by 25%. They did not listen. The approved the Town’s plan.

    Take your tax bill out. Look at the line that shows Town of Salem. Divide that number by 4. That is the amount of money your taxes could have been reduced if the voters had listened to me.

    But no one seems to care. I guess we just love paying taxes.


  5. Steve says:

    In the early 90’s, at the November Budget hearing, the people in the Town voted to eliminate the position of Ordinance Officer – the motion passed with a majority wanting to eliminate the position. The position was eliminated. It would be the BUDGET hearing, and NOT the annual meeting where the PEOPLE could eliminate the position of Administrator. Remember – the “position” must be eliminated – NOT the person. If this is done (as it should be), at the budget hearing, the budget could be lowered immediately. Why wait till the Annual meeting after the tax bills have gone out? If Jim is so concerned about paying high taxes, why didn’t his wife try to eliminate the administrator position? The administrator is the highest paid employee with the least seniority.

  6. Jim V says:

    The administrator has a 3 year contract that is do up at the end of this year. Linda did not hire this person as she was Chairman during the middle of the contract. Dianne was part of the Board that approved and hired him. Remember the referendum we had prior to that when the Town voted against an Administrator. But the Board hired one anyway.

    The Administrator’s position is up for renewing now. But it automatically renews if the Board does nothing.

    But… to answer your question, Linda was only one of 5 votes just like any Board member. The Chairman does not have all the authority everyone thinks he/she does.


  7. Steve says:

    Well then – people of Salem, I would suggest that we all get off our duffs and attend this year’s budget hearing and make our feelings known. I believe the administrator has made about $240,000.00 too much, from us taxpayers.
    As far as being one of five – Jim, you make Linda sound so humble! If that were the facts, then why, oh why, did Salem have soooooooooooo many problems while she was chair? We won’t even GO there! Whatever the case may be – the problem was made, and now, the people have the power to “fix the problem”. We have that power and I suggest that we use it.

  8. Jim V says:

    Hi Steve,

    There were so many problems because Linda challenged the status quo. She fought to cut our taxes. She fought to make changes to the “system”. She fought for more open communication with the taxpayers. She fought for accurate meeting minutes, which she never got. She fought for everything the townspeople wanted. She wanted to have the town inform you of what was going on instead of the way it is today. Now if you want to know something you have to call into the town and try to find the answers.

    If you had a problem, Linda was over at your house to help you. She made things happen. That always ruffles feathers.

    If you would have attended the meetings you would have seen where the problems were and how she was trying to to fight for you.


  9. Steve says:

    Let’s get off the “Linda soapbox” for a moment Jim. The whole meaning behind this post is to alert the people that they CAN get their taxes lowered – come to the budget hearing in November and vote to eliminate the administrator position.
    Now, back to Jim’s comments:
    #1 “she fought for more open communication with the taxpayers”.
    In answer to that – I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the communications. As a matter of fact, I’ve live here for over 25 years and not had a problem.
    #2 “she fought for accurate meeting minutes, which she never got”.
    Accurate for who? Linda, or the Town??? I’ve been on many boards and taken numerous minutes myself – minutes are just that – they are not, repeat, not word for word. What Linda got us in this situation, were numerous attorney bills because of a lawsuit – geez, thanks for THAT, Linda.
    #3″she wanted to have the town inform you of what’s going on”
    Why spend lots of taxpayer money on this??? If I want to know something – I’ll simply ask. And, if I don’t want to know something – I guess it’s not important, right? People SHOULD have to call the Town Hall if they want to know something. Any time I’ve ever contacted the Town Clerk, she seems to be on top of things. I used to be able to speak to either the Clerk or the Deputy clerk, but the Administrator got rid of her too!
    #4 “she made things happen”.
    I’m still scratching my head at this comment.

    As a side note Jim – I HAVE attended numerous meetings – more than you’d think. I’ve attended meetings at Salem since the 1990’s, when Shirley Boening was chairman, and, in all those years, I’ve never seen the Town in the sad shape that it’s in right now. Quite frankly, I wish Ms. Boening’s name would have been on the ballot in April. I don’t believe ANY of this would be going on.

  10. Jim V says:

    Hi Steve,

    An elector tried to eliminate the position at the Annual Meeting in April and it failed by a huge margin.

    1) You were probably happy with the communication because the Town does not tell you what is going on. Linda tried to set a system where the town would e-mail you information on a regukare basis, like the minutes from the last meeting. Linda tried to get draft minutes out to everyone 5 days after the meeting and was beat down. Did you know the Town Board approved the Purchase of a truck at the August meeting and it wasn’t in the Budget? It feels like they are communicating but they really aren’t telling you anything. Obviously you did not attend last years Tax levy meeting in November where I showed everyone how the Town was hiding $850,000 in cash. You could have had your taxes reduced by 25% if you were there and voted. You didn’t knowabout that either, did you?

    2) She wanted accuarte minutes not word for word. Have you seen a recent copy of the minutes from a Board Meeting? They do not even follow the policy the Town Board adopted. The lawsuit did not stem from meeting minues. The cost tot he town was $2500. The lawsuit was dropped immediately after the election. A wonder why? and now no one in the town office will talk to the clerk, because they know the truth. Linda did not bring the law suit, Cindy ernest did. She is the one who cost the town the money and never followed through. If you looked at the lawsuit you would see how unwinable it was.

    3) Well, do you care the Town spent the money on a truck that was not in the Budget. It doesn’t even appear to be on the agenda either. i wonder how that happened? Yes the Deputy clerk was let go by the Town Adminsitrator, but you won’t get rid of him.

    4) Let me give you an example. In the years prior to Linda coming on board, your R/E taxes increased 3% every year. Her first year she brought it down to 1.92%. Her second year there was no R/E tax increase. She fought for that. So ask yourself this question. How are we paying for a brand new building on Rte C and your taxes didn’t go up? I will tell you. This Town Board has been over taxing the people for years.

    I don’t believe you have attended many town meetings at all, simply because you seem to be very uninformed. I attended those meetings as well. I know Shirley. Shirley Boening got fed up with this Town Board and that is why she does not run for it again, and now she is fed up with the Library Board and she is quitting that as well. I find it surprising that you even live in Salem. No offense met here, but your comments seem somewhat odd.


  11. Marcy says:

    I’ve been following this post and I now see the need to chime in. Jim, you said in an earlier post that Linda was one of five people on the board. Well, if that is true (which it is), then, Linda was not the only one instrumental in lowering the tax rate – she had help – from the other board members! As far as no one talking to the clerk – how often do you go into the Town Hall??? I’ve been there on a few different occasions, and she seems to be doing just fine – a little overworked because of no deputy, but she’s doing fine. If you feel the Town did something wrong, regarding the truck purchase, why don’t you contact the da’s office? IF there was really a law broken, I guess they’ll take care of it, won’t they? As far as getting the minutes out within five days, again, how is that possible when the clerk needs to do everything alone? I would need to ask – is she salaried or hourly? If it’s hourly, she’s going to be putting in a lot of overtime; if she’s salaried, why should she be working 10 hour days when everyone else is working 7-1/2???
    I’ve live in the Town for over 50 years, and sure, the taxes have gone up, but, the only frivolous spending I’ve seen is the administrator salary.
    I happen to know that Shirley was a great leader – I don’t think she’s gotten “fed up” with anything. Quite frankly, I think it’s just the fact that it’s going to take a lot of time to fix the things that Linda broke. Not only time, but money as well. I think if someone were to ask the previous engineer and utility attorney why they left, you’d find out it was conflict with the chairman, not “the board”.
    As a last thought, I’d like to give kudos to the people working in the Town Hall – you’ve put up with a lot of guff over the last two years, and stuck it out – something a lot of people wouldn’t.

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