Election 2014: Silver Lake village trustee

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 

Silver Lake village trustee

Janet Brager, age 57. No previous political experience.

Carolyn Dodge,  no response to age or previous political experience.

Roger Johnson, age 61. Silver lake village president 2007-2011; county board supervisor 2006-2010.

Paul Snellen, no response.

Sotiria Wilber, 41. Current village trustee.

Chris Willkomm, no response.

Why are you seeking this office?

Brager — I would like to be notice as a elected person, looking to help make a difference in our village, we need to become citizens for our village, some bullying, and look out for the village people, not ourselves, I am for the village people. I am 57 years old . I have been employed at Travel centers of America for 25 years of service to the company. I am very good with the public. I am a listener. 4 children and grandmother, 8 grandchildren. Married to Thomas Brager.

Dodge — The Village of Silver Lake will benefit with a change in the board. The current board has not moved forward in a positive direction. The village needs to move forward with positive attitudes, growth, financial stability, allow the residents to be heard, employ their ideas and begin to develop a plan for the future. I want to be part of this movement forward. Dissolving the Village of Silver Lake is not the answer.

Johnson — I believe that I offer valuable experience that was gained in my time as a County Board Supervisor from 2006-2010. While serving in that capacity, I demonstrated my ability to work with people from varying political backgrounds in an effort to accomplish a common goal. Additionally, I served as Village President from 2007-2011, and I recognize that the most important purpose of the Village Board is to heed the will of the other Village residents, and to always support what is best for the Village. I think that in recent years too many people in political office have been letting their political affiliation determine their agenda, as opposed to putting their constituents first. They’ve been too quick to dismiss opposing viewpoints and seem allergic to compromise or alternative ways ofthinking. I hope to bring common sense and altruism to the board.

Snellen — No response received.

Wilber — I would like to continue to support the community in which I live in and have become very involved in. I would like to be able to find more ways to save money and frivolous spending. I would like to continue to work with the Wisconsin Economic Development Committee and the UW-Extension program to bring in the Connect Community Project to help us with improving our downtown area with all their available resources they have to offer.

Willkomm — No response received.

How should the village move forward with the fire department and providing emergency medical services?

Brager — No response to this question provided.

Dodge — There has been discussions with Salem Township. The proposal of dissolving the current Emergency Services and the Fire Department is not the answer. The Village of Silver Lake losing assets and the cost of emergency and fire services escalating every year, that cost would out way the benefits. Working towards joint services can be beneficial and I would be open to discussions with Salem, Randall and Wheatland townships.

Johnson — I understand the appeal of joint services with neighboring communities as a method of cost saving, however, the current proposed agreement with Salem Township for Fire and Rescue is not what I would define as a joint service. Essentially, it is a takeover of services that were formerly performed by Silver Lake Fire and Rescue. Under the proposed ten year contact, Salem would own all equipment and supplies that are currently owned by Silver Lake when that contract expires. This would leave the Village of Silver Lake with the financial responsibility of buying or leasing their old equipment, or possibly new equipment, at that time. Even without the future financial burden, I still believe it’s in the best interest of the Village to maintain their own Fire Department/Rescue Squad as a matter of public safety. I care about the people in my community and am opposed to compromising their safety with a lesser quality of service and increased response times. One of my goals as Trustee would be to restore the Silver Lake Fire and Rescue Squad. In the many conversations that I’ve had with people regarding this matter, the one common theme has been that they felt more comfortable and safe with the services provided by our former Fire and Rescue, which was locally based and funded. They had been a vital part of our community for several years, and their presence in Silver Lake provided a comfort to many with their quality of service and dedication to the safety of our citizens. I believe most residents would prefer to have them back if given the choice.

Snellen — No response received.

Wilber — With the pending referendum item, I cannot say how we need to proceed until the decision is made. But I feel in the meantime, we need to find ways to support our fire department and their members. We need to continue to allow our fire men and women the opportunity to use the skills that they have acquired as first responders to help the community. I feel they are a huge asset to the community and on an emergency scene, the more help the better in my book.

Willkomm — No response received.

How should the village move forward with the Silver Lake library branch issue?

Brager — As far as the village on the library that was approved by the trustees, that are on the board now.

Dodge — The current Village board did approve the purchase of the building. The new location, close to the school and away from the busy highway was a good choice. The current board was made aware of the financial liability. This purchase agreement needs to move forward. Perhaps, additional space at the library can be used for teen and seniors activities.

Johnson — I most definitely am in support of the purchase of the building to use as the new public library in Silver Lake. The current facility is small, in a poor location and extremely dated. I believe anyone who values the importance and encouragement of education would agree that a larger, updated public library would be a valuable asset to the residents of Silver Lake. I am disappointed in the recent course of events that has transpired under the current Board. They approved the purchase of a building for the new library, but are now seeking an investigation by the District Attorney’s office regarding the purchase. The Village’s valuable time and money may be wasted on litigation and legal fees instead of working on getting the new facility up and running as soon as possible, which I believe was the original intent when the Board voted in favor of it. This present state of chaos caused by the delay due to pending litigation may jeopardize the ability to seek financial commitment from other County municipalities to contribute to the cost of the building as well as remodeling and maintenance. The longer this dispute drags on, the more difficult it will become to secure commitment from surrounding municipalities and Silver Lake could be left to foot the entire bill. It stands to reason that the sooner we can move forward with the new library, the sooner we can secure their financial commitments to offset the purchase of the building, convert it into a library, and begin paying the building maintenance fees with the money allocated through the Kenosha County Federated Library System without cost to the Village. As far as agreements for use, I believe that free membership should be restricted to Kenosha County residents, but membership for non-residents could be offered for a fee if deemed appropriate as a source of revenue. Of course, private donations will also be accepted and encouraged for upgrading library resources and attempting to keep pace with technology.

Snellen — No response received.

Wilber — I think the only way we can financially afford to fund this building, without the additional communities involvement, is to re-finance the purchase. The terms need to be longer than the current five-year agreement and without a balloon payment due at that point.

Willkomm — No response received.


One Comment

  1. Bruce Francart says:

    Please, Go and vote! Let your voices be heard.

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