Spring Election 2016: Salem town supervisor Q&A

Salem voters will be able to cast a ballot in a contested town supervisor race on April 5.

Voters will be able to vote for two at-large candidates out of a field of three.

The same questionnaire was submitted to each candidate, by email or by mail.

Here is their biographical information, followed by their question responses:

Mike Culat — Age: 63. Education: Graduate of Allied Institute of Technology; Numerous Real Estate related classes and courses over the last 25 years. Occupation: Licensed Real Estate Broker Illinois & Wisconsin. Previous elected experience: serving my second term as Supervisor-Town of Salem.

Tim Driscoll — Age:  58. Education:  BS in Medical Technology (Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX)  MBA – UW Parkside Kenosha, WI. Occupation: Laboratory Product Development. Previous elected or governmental experience:  Wheatland Center School Board – 8 years.

Dennis Faber — Age: 70. Education: Associate Degree in Marketing; Graduate, Lake Leaders Institute. Occupation: Semi retired Sales and Marketing Consulting. Previous elected or governmental experience: In 2003 I was appointed to fill a vacancy and have been re-elected ever since. As a testament to my commitment to serve Salem and make our community better there have been 151 regular monthly board meetings over these 13 years and I have missed only 1.

1.) Why are you running for Salem town supervisor?

Culat — I am running for Supervisor to continue the forward progress we have made in the last 4 years. I feel that my years of experience selling Real estate have given me great skills in negotiating and resolving issues. I have enjoyed relationships with officials in neighboring Villages and Towns, along with members of our County Board, and those elected to statewide offices, and plan to further those relationships.

Driscoll — I want to see Salem grow to be a place where all the community feels involved and comfortable in the knowledge that their town board is responsive and working for them. I feel that it is critical for the town government to operate as a team making consensus decisions that benefit the community.

Faber — My family has lived in Salem since the 1800’s. It is with this heritage in mind, I decided I wanted to serve this community and give something of myself back. With me, Salem has always come first; I have sacrificed many family events because I made a commitment to study all issues and make the best informed decisions for Salem. Respectfully, because of this commitment many old timers and new comers have shown their appreciation by continually supporting and encouraging me to once again seek re-election and I am proud and excited to do so.

2.) What will be your top priorities if elected?

Culat — My top priorities will be to continue to work with all people on every level to help bring additional revenues into the town to support the high levels of service we have been providing, and hopefully diminish the costs to our residents.

Driscoll — 1. Incorporation – I am supportive of incorporation if the community supports it and understands that it may impact the environment that we have. 2. Public Relations / Board Transparency –  It is important that the public feels that the decision-making process is fair and open minded. 3.  Growth – Should Salem be a residential area, business or a mixture?  I think growth can be a good thing if it is organized and executed according to a plan.

Faber — The same priorities I have always had for our citizens and community. I am proud to say I have played an important roll in successfully and affordably guiding Salem through the years I have had the privilege of serving them. I consider the knowledge and experience I have gained to be a valuable asset in facing new challenges. 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 are one reason why we have been able to successfully and affordably make Salem significantly better. What have my priorities accomplished? Our tax per thousand has once again gone down to just $3.48 per thousand. Our credit rating is AA. Financial institutions aggressively bid to buy Salem bonds which mean lower interest rates in fact; we recently borrowed money for the development of the infrastructure in our Kenosha Area Business Alliance partnered business park at under 2% interest. We have refinanced debt, paid off loans and negotiated lower garbage service costs so we could very affordably re-pave roads. We have built a ten plus million dollar combination Highway, Fire building that is state of the art and not raised taxes one cent to pay for it. We have bought approximately 140 acres for park land using impact fees and DNR grants and again this did not raised taxes. Because of this it’s little wonder why we are held in such high regard by neighboring communities. I am also very proud of what we have been able to accomplish with our Highway, Fire, Rescue and Sewer and Storm Water Utility. We have excellent employees who are managed with respect and an administration that again is the envy of our neighbors and little wonder why they want us to provide these services for them. We have new, state of the art equipment and budget to save money for future replacement. Very simply we have been able to put all those embarrassing events and shortcomings of a few years ago behind us and are now once again well respected politically. Another priority I have is that I vehemently represent Salem’s SILENT MAJORITY against self serving individuals and minority special interest groups whose agenda has little regard for what it will cost our tax payers, or the effect it will have on our Town, environment, or our lakes. I recently voted NO to changing our lakes high speed wake time to sunset. After the vote I said I am not opposed to lengthening the wake hours I just thought a specific time would be easier for everyone to remember and enforce. Everyone knows when it is 7:30 PM as an example but you have to look up what time is sunset which changes virtually every day and this is why I voted no. I made the motion to form our Storm Water Utility but was the only no vote in the amount we would charge to fund it however, we recently were able to correct tremendous storm water problems that amounted to over $400,000 in the Salem Oaks subdivision because of this utility and now have our eye on other problem areas. When these problem areas are addressed I strongly recommend we restructure the fee.

3.) Salem is in the midst of an effort to bring business to a commercial park. Are there other kinds of development the town should actively seek?

Culat — We were fortunate to be able to put a quality Industrial Park together along with our partners at KABA. Once completed this park should bring need revenues to our Town without any impact on the local schools. Everybody who plans any type of municipality knows that you need a good balance of Residential, Commercial, and Industrial type properties to have a healthy economic base. This Park will also bring jobs to our local residents, which should positively affect our local economy. As far as any other type of development in Town, I would like to see some additional retail space such as a small to medium size grocery store and related commercial venues.

Driscoll — 1. Smaller residential community development – particularly in the western part of Salem – 1-2 acre lots. 2. Community beautification – improve the overall look of the area to make it attractive for businesses and residential development. 3. Support services for small to medium size businesses that may be located in the new commercial park.

Faber — In 2003 when I interviewed to fill the board vacancy I was asked about our parks. My answer was that I firmly believe a mini Rex Plex is something we should peruse in Salem rather than more parks. At that time I said I would support working out a very favorable arrangement with a private business to develop this attraction. My primary idea is to capitalize on the large population in Illinois who make up a significant number of those who patronize the Pleasant Prairie Rex-Plex. The idea is that Salem would benefit from tax revenue and other fees to reduce our citizen’s town tax rate. I believe this is something the town should study pursuing. Thanks for your continued support and please remember to vote April, 5th.


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