Election 2014: Salem town supervisors

Note: westofthei.com will be posting questionnaire responses from contested local village and town  board, Western Kenosha County county supervisor and some school board candidates over the next week. All candidates in a given race were asked the same questions. Their responses are printed as received. — DH

Salem town supervisor

Mike Culat, age 61. Has served one, two-year term as Town of Salem Supervisor.

Dennis L. Faber,  age 68. Appointed by the town board in August 2003 and re-elected ever since.

Amee Janus, age 39. No previous political experience.

Why are you seeking this office?

Culat: “I am seeking this office for several reasons. Primary being that a number of people have asked me to run again. Secondly, we have started several projects which are not yet completed. Last year, the Town committed to a very aggressive road rebuilding program which included, repairing/replacing any necessary sewer lines, storm-water drainage issues, and re-paving of roads in several subdivisions. This year the plan is to completely re-do the Salem Oaks subdivision. We were able to put this plan together by taking advantage of historic low interest rates. I want to be around to see this project through. We still have many issues facing this town and I feel my record demonstrates that I am very qualified to help address them. It is my strong belief that we as a board have been good stewards of the people’s assets and have done a commendable job of providing the highest level of service with a diminishing amount of revenue. Testaments to this are our highly professional fire department, roads being maintained in the best manner possible, our public works department operations, the high level of safety we have provided our residents, and our helpful and friendly office staff. I also believe that this board has been extremely open and transparent in every aspect of our business, always seeking public input and counsel. When I ran the first time I talked about starting town-wide events to bring everyone together and create a better sense of community. The first was Pumpkin-daze, which started out as a small event and has grown to what people say is an extraordinary event. Currently I have several ideas for more town-wide events, which will continue to bring a larger sense of community.”

Faber: “Many folks have made Salem a great place to live and raise their families. Mine dates back to the 1800’s. It is with this heritage in mind, I decided I wanted to serve this community and give something of myself back. In 2003, I was appointed to fill a Supervisor vacancy and have been re- elected ever since. Over these years, the issues and problems confronting Salem have changed dramatically. Along the way much has been learned and accomplished and I am proud to say I have played an important roll in successfully and affordably guiding Salem through those years. Today, there is an even greater need for experienced, knowledgeable representation to help guide us through these difficult times. I consider the knowledge and experience I have gained to be a valuable asset in facing these challenges. The passion and pride I have proven to have for Salem along with my accomplishments is why both old timers and new comers have given me their support and encourage me to continue serving Salem. It is with this trust, appreciation and encouragement that I am again seeking re-election.”

Janus: “I am running for the Town of Supervisor position because I am truly passionate about our community and where we live. I want the choices we make to be the seed we plant for future generations. I put my heart into everything I do and work hard at seeing results. I would like to help represent the younger community members. I could help bring in more involvement from them in our community and have a say in our town’s decisions.”

Why are you a better choice than the other candidates?

Culat: I believe that I have demonstrated a great ability to listen to all sides of an issue, research the facts and make informed decisions. Also, I think that I have shown that I am able to work in large or small groups to resolve issues. I have strived to represent fairly all the citizens of our town and show no prejudice or bias. Prior to running for my first term, I attended as many committee and board meetings as possible to be ready to serve if elected. After being elected I met with the department heads which fall under my committees and spent many hours learning the workings of these departments so that I can represent our citizens to the best of my abilities. I have also attended many meetings outside of the Town as a representative to bring back pertinent information. I will say that prior to being elected last time; I had no idea that this job would consume as much time as it does. Even so, my wife has given me her blessing to do this again. I think my history of dedication and commitment , prove that I am the most suitable candidate for this position.

Faber: “There is always much to be done, improvements to be made, little reward and occasionally a few bitter individuals who viciously be-smirch those who serve their community. Knowing this and just stepping forward deserves accolades but that is not enough. There are difficult challenges facing Salem and our residents. Plummeting property values, families in foreclosures, lay-offs, jobs eliminated, our elderly on fixed incomes, high gas prices, decaying infrastructure, a lower tax base are just some of the more important problems facing Salem’s residents and our town. Just a few years ago we knew what to expect, “rapid development growth” and it was extremely important to me then, as it is now that this growth did not adversely affect our quality of life, our roads, our sewer or our lakes. Now our future development growth is uncertain and it will be for some time so without these additional tax dollars we will have to continue to be extremely careful about our priorities and what we spend our tax dollars on. We certainly can not afford to pursue costly grandiose ideas or return to the bickering and shenanigans we were embroiled in a few years ago that made Salem a laughing stock. I have had the privilege of serving in harmony with Mr. Joe Meyer, Mr. Pat O’Connell, Mrs. Josephine Weidman, and Chairman, Mrs. Diann Tesar as well as our current board. We haven’t always agreed but these individuals have treated one another with respect and is one reason why we have been able to successfully and affordably make Salem significantly better. Here are a few examples of why the experience and knowledge I have gained over my years of service are important for our future: We have refinanced debt and paid off loans so the pay back on our ten plus million dollar, state of the art combination Highway, Fire EMS building has not and will not increase taxes. We have bought approximately 140 acres of land for parks using impact fees and DNR grants and again most importantly, these purchases did not raise taxes. Additionally, experts tell us that parks increase the value of the land around them which will more than offsets any property taxes these lands have provided. Our credit rating is now AA. Financial institutions aggressively bid to buy Salem bonds which mean lower interest rates. We did not raise taxes or our budget for four years (2010 to 2013) and until recently our utility charge for over twenty. This year we have reduced our garbage and recycle cost by two hundred fifty thousand dollars and we are currently spending over three million dollars to re-pave roads, and over one million on storm water and utility repairs. An example of the modest 2014 tax increase these road, storm water and infrastructure repairs will cost a two hundred thousand dollar home will be less than eight dollars per year for ten years. Furthermore, here are some facts I would like you to know. The Town of Salem is the largest town geographically in the state at thirty two square miles. Salem also is the third highest assessed value municipality in the county at slightly under one billion dollars which ranks us just behind the City of Kenosha and the Village of Pleasant Prairie. Salem’s 2013 assessed value is 4.48 times greater than the Village of Paddock Lake and 5.73 times greater than the Village of Silver Lake and our population is larger than the City of Burlington. We have much to be proud of and protect. My knowledge, experience, proven accomplishments, citizen support, continued desire to serve and the respect I have been given and I have for our citizens, elected officials, other municipalities, the county and state are reasons why I am a better choice for Salem. Thanks for your continued support and please remember to vote April, 1st.

Janus: “I am a better choice for a candidate because I have developed successful relationships with numerous residents through the “slow down” campaign I have developed in the community as well as Kenosha County and beyond its borders. I have worked with people from many different cultures and various backgrounds and I am able to successfully work in all different types of environments. Yes, I have not been in an elected government position other than the District President of AITP (Association of IT Professionals), Student Chapter at Gateway Technical College, but I am ambitious and highly driven working within a team or as an individual.”



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