Spring Election 2018: Salem Lakes trustee candidates Q&A

Voters in the village of Salem Lakes will be able to vote in a contested election for village trustee on April 3.

A Feb. 20 primary election narrowed an initial field of seven to six. Up for election are three at-large seats on the Village Board. Voters on April 3 will be able to vote for up to three candidates.

Salem Lakes was created by the merger of the village of Silver Lake and town of Salem on Feb. 14, 2017. The initial board was the Silver Lake Board. In April 2017, village president and three trustee seats were filled by an election, while the three carry-over Silver Lake trustees remained. Those carry-over seats are up for election for the first time throughout the new village in this election cycle.

Each trustee candidate was sent the same request for biographical information and a set of questions before the Feb. 20 primary. Following are their answers:

Dennis Faber — Age: No answer given. Education: Riverview Grade, Wilmot High, KTI, Associate Degree Marketing. Occupation: Semi-Retired, Currently Sales, Marketing Consulting. Previous elected/appointed public office: Town of Salem Supervisor 2003 to 2017.

Laura Francart — Age: 36. Education: Concordia University, in progress – Administration, Alverno College – Master’s of Arts in Education, UW – Milwaukee – Bachelor’s of Science in Education. Occupation: Teacher. Previous elected/appointed public office:  Trustee for the Village of Salem Lakes 2016 – 2018.

Ron Gandt — Age: 65. Education: Wilmot High School. Occupation: Owner of Woodcrafters. Previous elected/appointed public office: None.

Bill Hopkins — Age: 63. Education: No answer given. Occupation: Retired – previously 20 years US Navy, and 22 years Abbott Laboratories/Hospira. Previous elected government experience: Riverview School Board President early 1990’s.

Amee Janus — Age:  43. Education:  Continuing Network Specialist and Network Security AAS at Gateway Technical College. Occupation:  Senior Network Voice and Telecom Analyst & Founder of WISE, Wisconsin Initiative Safety Education. Previous elected/appointed public office:  Community Library Board.

Joe Wade —  Age: 51.  Education: Bachelors degree University of Iowa. Occupation: National Sales Manager. Previous elected/appointed public office:  I sit on planning and zoning board as well as the Hooker Lake board.

1.) Do you live in pre-merger Salem or Silver Lake?

Faber — My family has lived in Salem and Silver Lake since the 1800’s. I was raised in Silver Lake and for all, but 3 years have lived here my entire
life.

Francart —  I currently reside in Silver Lake, but grew up in Wilmot and Trevor.

Gandt — Salem.

Hopkins ––  Silver Lake for the last 29 years.

Janus — Salem (Trevor).

Wade —  I live in Salem.

2.) What will be your top priorities if elected to the Salem Lakes Village Board?

Faber — I am committed to rehabilitating and protecting all our lakes and see our new “Village of Salem Lakes” as the perfect “namesake” to advance this agenda. We have three lake districts that have the ability to finance their DNR approved rehabilitation plans, but we have other lakes that need our help. I want to explore developing a Village of Salem Lakes, Lake District that will assist Lake Associations, Property and or Home Owners Associations in developing rehabilitation plans and obtaining DNR grants. Just to be clear, the current Lake Districts are exempt from this strategy and the Lake Associations, Property and Home Owners Associations will manage the DNR approved rehabilitation plans, not the village. In 2003, when appointed to fill a vacancy on the Town of Salem board I proposed developing a mini Rex-Plex. Now, this could become a reality and I want to
contribute to this strategy using my knowledge gained with development and grants as a Town supervisor. I also propose that we explore partnering with others including the YMCA, and schools that can use a pool and ice arena as an example. I have many years of experience contributing to the development of Salem’s Comprehensive plan and want to utilize that knowledge and experience to develop the new Village of Salem Lakes 2035 plan. Of particular interest is the future of our historic down towns, Highway 83 (our I-94 corridor from Illinois) and Highway 50.

Francart — As an elected Trustee, I intend to continue working as a part of a great team, making sure that decisions made are best for the Village.  I would like to see our business parks develop further, our park system grow and our community become a desirable place for everyone to enjoy.

Gandt — To ensure the maintenance and protection of our lakes, waterways and parks continue, as this is a very large asset of the Village. Commercial development and smart mixed-use development should be sought after. Commercial development is very important to go along with our bedroom community and is needed, especially with our new Business Park and along the Hwy 50 and Hwy 83 corridors. The area is going to be growing and
changing and we need to capitalize on this.

Hopkins — A.) Comprehensive Master Plan of 2010 – Review and update the Comprehensive Master Plan, identify opportunities to improve our existing business districts, bring in new businesses along the Hwy 50, Hwy 83 and Hwy C business corridors. B.) Business Strategy – Create a Strategy which provides Positive Growth for our village. C.) Parks – Improve our existing parks and recreational areas. Identify and create new parks in neighborhoods currently without them. D.) Emergency Services – Ensure we maintain the best Emergency Services Department here in the village.

Janus — Now that the village has merged, we would require finding ways to synergize and re-evaluate the entire budget for inefficiencies, I would like this to be one of my top priorities. Other priorities include, safeguarding and preserving our lakes and recreational areas considering major entities building near our village. The board should prioritize development strategies by planning and zoning where future development is needed, not needed and/or desired while simultaneously preserving the rural character and integrity of our community. The board will need to stay clear and free of all tax-payer funded developments. We will need to make dynamic and tough decisions and have a comprehensive plan to keep our taxes low.

Wade — There are many issues facing the village . I think we need to look at areas and cost saving measures  to make the village more efficient and unify the governments.  There are many way do this  by eliminating duplication of services, combine infrastructure . unify all ordinances and laws in the community and bring the residents from all combined communities together.  I will look at all issues on an individual basis and make my decisions based on what is best for all citizens of Salem Lakes.

3.) Why are you the best choice for Salem Lakes village trustee?

Faber — As a testament to my commitment to serve Salem, I only missed 2 regular monthly meetings over my 14 years as a supervisor. Because of this commitment and my accomplishments many old timers and new comers have shown their appreciation by supporting and encouraging me to continue this dedication as a Village Trustee. Over those years I have a proven history of making things happen that were an important part of affordably benefiting Salem. After thorough study I motion to build a state of the art, ten plus million dollar highway, fire building without raising taxes to pay for it. I motioned to buy approximately 140 acres for parks using impact fees and helped obtain DNR grants. I have championed lowering service costs, paving many miles of roads, correcting storm water drainage problems while keeping our Town tax low. We have bought new trucks and rescue equipment and only raised taxes by pennies to do so. I am proud to say that I have played an important roll in making Salem what it had
become prior to its merger with Silver Lake and am anxious to give that same dedication and passion as a trustee, to The Village of Salem Lakes.
I want to continue contributing to making our community an affordable, great place to live, raise a family, retire and enjoy our lakes.

Francart — Over the past two years, I have had the great pleasure of serving our community.  I am very proud of the work that has been done with regards to the merger and the progress of our village.  I hope to be able to continue this work with the village and the parks.  As a long time resident of this community, I am proud to call our village home and hope that it continues to be a well desired place for all to live and visit.

Gandt — My previous appointments on the Town of Salem Planning and Zoning Commission, the Board of Review and my current seat on the Parks Commission for the Village of Salem Lakes give me an insight to the workings of our board. As a lifelong resident of the area and local business owner working for over 30 years locally. I’m not afraid to ask the tough questions to get things done.

Hopkins — My 42 combined years of leadership and management, coupled with my community involvement, provides me a wealth of information and resources when working together with board members, and village residents, I believe the Village of Salem Lakes will become an even stronger magnet drawing more families and newer businesses in.

Janus — I am passionate about my community and helping others, one of the main reasons I have established WISE, Wisconsin Initiative Safety Education, that partners with local agencies and police departments. WISE is a grassroots initiative reminding drivers to slow down in neighborhood streets where our children play. My (our) focus is building relationships with the community and raising road safety education through our events and social media.  I have have also recently been appointed as a board member of the Community Library. I would be an asset to the Village of Salem Lakes board and our community by bringing 25 plus years of corporate business experience. I have worked with many groups of people and individuals from many diverse backgrounds in the Information Technology profession in multiple types of industries.

Wade — I moved up here going on 5 years now. I feel it is important to get involved in your community.  I can bring fresh ideas and new perspectives to the board. I have no personal agenda and will base my decisions on the benefits to the citizens of Salem Lakes. I want to move this community into the future and make this a place people would like to call home. Finally, I have  attended as many  board meetings as possible to be ready to serve if elected.

4.) A year ago, we asked candidates what efforts they saw as necessary to bring the new village together as a single unified community. Do you feel this is still a need? If so, what would you do? If not, why is it no longer an issue?

Faber — I do not believe it is possible to make the new village a single community because the reality is that the Town of Salem has never been recognized as a single community and the Village of Salem Lakes will have those same characteristics. In 1842 the Town was formed six years before Wisconsin became a state. Wilmot, Trevor, Camp & Center Lake, Lake Shangri-La, Silver Lake, Shorewood Terrace, Rock Lake, Paddock Lake and other neighborhoods (subdivisions) have grown from that foundation and have always maintain their individual identity. In fact, in years past these hamlets competed against one another in sports and fire department barrel fights as an example. Wilmot, Trevor, Silver Lake and Salem Fire Departments took tremendous pride in besting one another. The Village of Salem Lakes is approximately 32 square miles in size, its children attend three grade schools named for the communities they serve, two high schools and our Post Offices in Silver Lake, Camp Lake, Trevor and Salem have there own zip codes and identity. In my opinion, what is unique about Salem Lakes is the fact that these communities will keep their individual identity, can have their own main street parades just as before but now are part of a single community under the umbrella of The Village of Salem Lakes. I do support community unifying activities under that umbrella though, such as our Pumpkin Days, Easter and Santa comes to the village and will gladly support other good ideas that won’t have to be subsidized by tax dollars.

Francart — I am happy of our progress, but believe that it still need works.  Change takes time to be done correctly, and we are still working hard to unify our community.  As a part of our board, I intend to see that the progress continues, that processes are done efficiently and that the end result is what our village needs to be the best it can be.

Gandt — The majority of the combining of the 2 communities is almost completed. There are a few policies and procedures that need to be adopted by the new Village. This was a major undertaking but I believe that the Village of Salem Lakes is coming together as both sides continue to work together.

Hopkins — We are still a new and young Village in Wisconsin. We are today, more unified than a year ago. We need to continue moving forward, identifying opportunities to improve what we have, that moving forwards drives improvement, brings prosperity and that looking backwards we will become stagnant.

Janus — There is still some need to bring the village together, by adapting to the changing conditions together. We will need to continue to emphasize our existing assets and distinctive resources. Some of those approaches include, identifying and rebuilding on existing assets, engaging all members of the community to plan for our future, and support a clean, healthy environment, by protecting our natural resources.

Wade —  I think this is still a need. I think there are still ways to save money and unify the communities. We need to eliminate duplication of services, combine infrastructure and continue to unify ordinances in the community. We need to look at the big picture and rank items by importance and work our way down the list. The top priority should be keep our equipment up to date and current.

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