Salem to send $10,000 to The Sharing Center

new-sharing-center-logoThe Salem Town Board voted unanimously Tuesday to send a $10,000 donation to local relief agency The Sharing Center.

The action came at a special Town Board meeting.

The donation was initiated and approved by electors at the April 2014 annual town meeting in a 53-3 vote. The funds were included in the 2015 budget.

“We should have done this sooner, but we didn’t,” said town Chairman Diann Tesar.

In 2013, resident Tim Squier made a motion, approved by electors, for the town to donate $5,000 to The Sharing Center. In 2014, he made a motion to increase that by $5,000 to $10,000. This April, Squier again made the motion to increase the amount to $15,000 to be donated in 2016. That motion passed by a single vote.

Paul Gagliardi, a Paddock Lake based attorney and president of The Sharing Center Board of Directors, thanked the board for the donation.

“Thank you for your support and the electors for their strong support,” Gagliardi said. “Salem stepped up much more than any other municipality.”

While voting for the donation, and saying “we love have The Sharing Center in Salem,” Tesar also seemed to have some reservation about the size of the donation.

“It’s a lot of money,” Tesar said. “It’s a lot of taxpayer money.”

town-of-salem-sign-webResident Mike Ullstrup, speaking from the audience, expressed concern about the impact of the town donation on taxpayers already having a hard time making ends meet.

“You’re putting more stress on the tax levy,” Ullstrup said.

Gagliardi defended the donation saying the center supports people who are even more in need of help and that the amount was not significant when spread over the entire town’s tax base.

“It’s $2 per resident,” Gagliardi said to Ullstrup. “Do the math.”



  1. Helping others says:

    This is exactly what tax money should be used for and people don’t want to spend tax money on helping others? What kind of human does that?

  2. Stop taxing me says:

    @ helping others
    So pony up and stop using my tax dollars. It is folks like you that are the cause of my charitable donation’s have dropped majorly over the past 10yrs.

  3. Ughhh says:

    @Stop taxing me – I really hope you are never one who needs to use the service. It’s a great asset! I lost my job once, and until I could find another job, they helped me with some basic life needs. You definitely have an arrogance about you. We live in an age where no job is secure anymore. I hope you never need their service. Just sayin

  4. lucky to live in salem says:

    and right when they are in desperate need!!!
    i know the shelves need replenishing!!!
    anyone able, please donate!!!
    it will make you feel good and some local family feel good!!!

  5. Stop taxing me says:

    @Ughhh Actually I lost my job after 20yrs about 2 yrs ago. You don’t see me asking for a hand out from the tax payers do you? Charity s should be funded by private donations not the tax payers money. I can assure you that the Salem board will have a tough time getting re-elected next time around.

  6. Mike Ullstrup says:

    Since I was quoted in the article….

    First of all, Gagliardi’s cockie answer to me (“Do the math”) was indeed cockie and I responded, “I can indeed do the math very well, sir.”

    His reply was in response to me stating that through my volunteering to work on many political campaigns over the years walking the streets of Salem going door to door and meeting residents and working as an election official over the last eight years or so hundreds of residents come to vote, I have seen a lot of Salem and its residents. Many homes are modest, barely kept up, not always well furnished. The people aren’t always dressed in new clothes. Winter doesn’t mean wearing a winter coat, which they can’t afford, but rather more layers of the worn clothes they already have. A lot of people are living on fixed incomes, many of which are only Social Security. Now, there are many organizations, both not-for-profit charities and governmental (like the county and state), who provide food and clothing and such to people that need it. In fact, my father is a resident in a group home in Milwaukee his payments for which (and most of his medical expenses) are paid for by both state and county programs. (And, he is not wanting at all.) An aunt for whom I am power-of-attorney gets help for her medical payments from the state. The question I asked that evening was who helps people pay for their property taxes? There’s help for most other expenses but in fact the only organizations that can really help people in a meaningful way with their property taxes is the government by keeping taxes low in the first place! Yes, I am very good at math and realize that $10,000 divided by the 12,000 people in town is about $1 a head. However, that dollar is on top of every other dollar that the town is asked to spend much of which is mandated by the state (like fire, ems, property valuation, clerk’s office, treasurer, roads, sewer, library, etc). And yes, it’s only a “bit” more on top of the other expenses but every little bit does indeed add up and only adds more stress to the board to increase the levy. When Social Security does not go up and local taxes do (like in Trevor-Wilmot), no one is there to help out those property owners. I had to laugh that Gagliardi said they were working with the Shalom Center to get a homeless shelter open. So, we help people once they lose their homes, but nothing beforehand.

    The “do the math” answer and other such bullying remarks are always in response to this low-income/fixed income question…who helps people in need with their property taxes? Since people like the president and director don’t have an adequate answer, they resort to quick put-downs.

    This $1 a head argument only seems to work on Salem residents. The County kicks in $25,000 (a quarter a head). Silver Lake pays nothing, Paddock Lake pays nothing, I think Twin Lakes only pays $700 (Diann had the numbers). There’s a part of me which feels like a sucker.

    I have thought that the Sharing Center was a worthwhile organization that deserved our support. I am starting to have questions, though. I have heard from too many people that when in-kind donations (like clothes and blankets) are offered, the Center has turned them down. When the director and the board president have been asked how much other municipalities donate, the answers come back evasive. Diann in fact said this to the director at the meeting on Monday, that the director was not forthcoming at the last electors meeting and in fact was mis-leading. The board president did the same Monday night and was caught by Diann when his answer wasn’t the whole truth. In all my years of management, a manager was expected to know his or her numbers. Why wouldn’t the director and the board president know their numbers? And why wouldn’t they then not be willing to be open with them? As a 501(c)(3), the IRS form 990’s and their other corporate documents must be shown to anyone asking to see them.

    What is the shame in this matter is that the objectives of the Sharing Center are noble and worthwhile. It’s questionable, though, if the right team is in place to execute to those objectives. If it were any other company or organization, it wouldn’t be my or anyone else’s business. However, when you get taxpayer money, you are beholden to scrutiny by those taxpayers.

    And maybe those taxpayers should be a bit more respected.


    PS: For the record, in the 2014 annual electors’ meeting where this donation was voted upon, I voted “yes”.

  7. Stop taxing me says:

    @Mike Ullstrup
    Well said.
    Thank You.

  8. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Mike Ullstrup……..Mike…..funny……you dont’ have any problem citing your dad and your aunt receiving taxpayer funding to help them out(“he is not wanting at all”…your words, not mine!) but went on a rambling dissertation as to why the Sharing Center should not receive taxpayer funds. Just wondering how you get paid when you are out “assessing” properties? Your comments at the meeting were not only “out of order”, they were bizarre as well. Keep showing up with your legal pad and “concerns” for the taxpayer. By your own admission(read your post above), your family has no problem “tapping” the “government assistance’. The Sharing Center does a TERRIFIC job of helping out those in need in our community. Maybe you should try “walking a mile in their shoes” before you accuse,
    when you are out “volunteering to work on political campaign”(your words, not mine). You don’t like “entitlelments’, unless your family members benefit. How convenient. Paul Ryan teach you that?

  9. Punsley has missed the point says:

    The Sharing Center is a private company; not a government organization.
    One has oversite, the other does not.
    One is controlled by the body which taxes, the other does not.
    One is subject to open records request, the other is not.

    Mr Punsley, it isnt much different that the village government vs the rescue squad in Silver Lake.

  10. Bernard Punsley says:

    @”Punsley missed the point” Um, no, Mr. Ullstrup’s primary “concern” was keeping taxes low, and the impact the Sharing Center(the donations they receive from government entities) has on taxes. He cited those concerns at the meeting, he citing them repeatedly in his lengthy post(read it again!). He certainly is entitled to those concerns. He has family members receiving government “assistance”(taxpayer money) and seems to be OK with that. That’s my point. According to him, they should be “beholden to scrutiny”.

  11. Punsley has missed the point- again says:

    Yes, they should be beholden to scrutiny….
    No, Ulllstrup’s primary concern is not keeping taxes low.
    He is concerned about accountability for which there is none with this organization to anyone, benefactors included.
    The topic is the Sharing Center and not MR ULLSTRUP. Your post reeks of an attack on the man for questioning taxes going to a private concern.
    His family members may be receiving benefits but they are from a government, repeat, governmental entity, not a 501c3 that is supported with unregulated taxes on citizens.
    It is operating exactly like Silver Lake Rescue acts in relationship to the Village of Silver Lake – or did work- in secret. This is not a good relationship when accountability is not forthcoming – as you well know Mr Punsley and which you well documented over the years.
    The Sharing Center has openly balked at creating a sustaining revenue outlet, that being a resale shop rather than perpetuating taxes.
    The Sharing Center makes appearances at events, like Pumpkindaze. At this recent event, were they promoting the need to garner help from the visitors or promoting their services to attendees?
    Promoting services when the ability to provide those services without financial support is a concern to me and is one reason why this is a service best controlled and administrated by the government.
    Um, yes, Mr Punsley has missed the point.

  12. Mike Ullstrup says:

    Mr. Punsley…Yes, indeed I have family receiving government benefits. Those benefits and the administration of them are overseen by the taxpayers and their representatives in the statehouse and in the bureaucracy. (And that I know first-hand also being the one that has to prove to those bureaucrats the need of my father and aunt of those benefits.) Who is overseeing the $10,000 that the Town is handing over to the Center? No one.

    Of course, the Sharing Center should be beholden to scrutiny! Silver Lake will hold Salem to scrutiny for the Fire and Rescue services and the sheriff for the police services. The town clerk is made to account for the money the town is spending on new voting equipment. The fire chief is questioned on every expenditure no matter important is is to respond to an emergency to save life and property. Why is the Sharing Center above that?


    – And I do not get paid to walk door to door volunteering my time talking to voters about candidates that I support.

    – Do not assume where “my shoes” have been or not been.

    – How were my comments out of order? The chair called on me.

    – “Bizarre”? Your opinion. I was thanked by some for my comments.

    – I have been showing up to town board meetings and committee meetings and volunteering for various boards and working for elections for almost ten years now. The comments I made were the same as I have made in the past at other meetings. Thanks for showing up to just one. And have the guts to publish under your real name.

  13. STOP TAXING ME says:

    Mike…..funny……you dont’ have any problem citing your dad and your aunt receiving taxpayer funding to help them out(“he is not wanting at all”…your words, not mine!)

    Ok So they paid into the fund so they do not deserve anything back?

    As much as I hate politics maybe my wife and friends have been right all these years that I should get involved. If I chose to it’s your job I am coming for!

  14. Bernard Punsley says:

    How did Silver Like Rescue Squad get pulled into this issue, along with Salem Fire/Rescue? And Mike, “bait and switch it” all you want, the “entitlements” that YOU told us your family members receive(read your post)(and I have no reason to believe that they do not need nor deserve those benefits) do NOTHING to keep taxes lowered. Try analyzing that for us. Funny thing, I didn’t realize that this was the “just one” meeting(your words, not mine) meeting that I have ever attended! E-N-T-I-T-L-E-M-E-N-T-S = HIGHER TAXES. “Do the math”!

  15. Bernard Punsley says:

    @STOP TAXING ME……”they paid into the fund so they do not deserve anything back”…….I never stated they don’t DESERVE the funding/help. I stated the fact that they are receiving the funds from the GOVERNMENT(you know, that “bureaucracy”) does nothing to decrease our tax burden. It’s a shame that those folks who truly need the services provided by the Sharing Center have to be dragged into this. I fear that if you “come after my job(your words, not mine)I too may need to avail myself of their services.

  16. Mike Ullstrup says:


    – Who paid into what fund? Not sure what you mean.

    – What job do I have that you are coming for? I am not on the Town Board if that is what you think.

    – On the mission of the Sharing Center, see my response to “Bernard” below.

    – “BERNARD”…

    – Where did I mention Silver Lake Rescue?

    – I have no problem with the mission of the Sharing Center or those receiving help. Never said I did.

    – What I have a problem with is the director and the president of the Sharing Center board being deceptive and evasive when answering questions of the Town Board and specifically of the chairperson. When asked at the town electors meeting how much the other villages and town were kicking in, the answer from the director was evasive and left many with the impression that everyone was contributing at the same rate (in other words, so much per person of their population). When the town chair found out that not all municipalities are contributing or are contributing as much per person as Salem, she felt that the director was not entirely truthful. The chair stated this in open session at the budget workshop and again at the special board meeting last week when the director was present. The director said nothing: no apology or explanation. And then, the board president tried the same tactic implying that Silver Lake was contributing and the chair had to correct him that Silver Lake hasn’t contributed for two years, at which point the president had to walk back his answer.

    – I agree! Entitlements mean higher taxes! And based on personal experience, some of those entitlements could be pulled back! Samantha Kerkman (among others in the statehouse) is making sure that the state agencies that are providing those entitlements are doing so efficiently and according to law. I expect my town leaders to make sure that ALL town expenditures, be that for a firetruck or a donation to the Sharing Center, be well spent. I find it a shame that the management of the Center might be causing questions and getting in the way of the Center’s mission.

    – There are many, I among them, that do question the propriety of the town donating to an independent 501(c)(3). Yes, it’s mission is worthwhile. But then, too, are the works of various churches, food pantries, soup kitchens, etc…..why aren’t we donating to them, too? And if they do approach the town for a donation, what will be the criteria for deciding whether we donate or not? My guess is that one of those criteria would be the pitch they give to the board and right now, the pitch provided by the Center to the taxpayers and the board is less than honest.

  17. Rick Fors, Co-Founder of the Sharing Center says:

    In re to clothing donations:

    Based on my observations, in the first 13 years of operation a lot more volunteer hours were available. 7 of the volunteers were there 5 or more days a week, plus part-timers and groups. In kind donations require a lot of sorting, cleaning and repairing. Also we were very fussy about what we gave out.

    Some of our in-kind donors had the attitude that this item is not perfect but it is good enough for poor people. That was a concept that we did not condone. Therefore our trash bill was second only to our rent bill. For some-one concerned about using resources wisely, what could be worse than putting your limited monies in the land-fill.

  18. Mike Ullstrup says:

    Sheesh, Rick, why do you show such disdain to your donors with that tone?

    Your explanation makes sense. Maybe you and the rest of management should get word out there about some of this kind of thing. Not knowing the reasons is leaving a lot of questions unanswered and turning people off.

  19. Rick Fors says:

    Is it correct for local elected officials to use tax dollars to donate to a charity? Shouldn’t that decision be left to the individual taxpayers?

    As that question is stated, I would be of the opinion that local officials should not donate tax dollars to local charities, but to re-state the question in a form that more accurately represents the circumstances in Western Kenosha County: is it correct for local elected officials to use tax dollars to acquire, maintain and retain a local emergency provider for their citizens? To this question I would say that using tax dollars to assure emergency services for their citizens might well be the most correct use of tax dollars.

    While nearly everyone knows that the Sharing Center is a food pantry, not everyone knows that while food is the core of the Sharing Center’s purpose it is just the tip of the iceberg. The Sharing Center provides a very broad range of assistance. The need for the Sharing Center’s services is in many ways as justifiable as an ambulance.

    Because the Sharing Center is a charity that relies on your neighbors donating time and energy, the Sharing Center is able to provide services for 80 to 90 percent less tax dollars than even a non-profit company could providing the same services.

    Consequently I suggest a big thank you to your officials.

    Rick Fors Sharing Center Co-founder.

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