Janesville51°

Magnolia challenger makes town meeting notices an issue

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Gina Duwe
March 29, 2013

— A former Magnolia Town Board member is throwing his hat back into the ring because he says he thinks government should be for all the people, not just a certain percentage.

Ron Sloniker is challenging supervisor Kurt Bartlett, who has been on the board the last five years, in the April 2 election.

Sloniker has made the publication location of the town's meeting agendas an issue in the race. He said he never liked the board's decision a few years ago to only publish notices in a Brodhead newspaper instead of both there and in the Evansville Review newspaper.

He felt so strongly that he paid to run town agendas in the Review for two winters a couple years ago because he didn't want people to have to drive through snow to look at a bulletin board posting. He said the publications averaged $30 to $40 per month.

“I think it's unfortunate that people don't get the notices that they need to make a decision,” he said. “People aren't informed. You need information to be informed. If you're not informed, you're not going to want to participate.”

Bartlett defended the board's decision, saying it involved two issues.

He said the Review was more expensive, so the board saved a lot of money. The other issue, he said, were inaccuracies in the town's ads.

“Many times they got the wording wrong, and when we went back to get them corrected,” he said, it still wasn't right.

“It really reflected bad on us,” he said. “I guess I feel it's better not to advertise at all than to advertise wrong.”

Bartlett said the only complaint he's heard over the issue has been from Sloniker.

Sloniker has run ads saying the board is doing a disservice to its residents by not publishing the notices in the Evansville paper, and the money the board spent on recent litigation could have published the notices.

Sloniker served on the board from 2003 to 2007, when he decided not to seek re-election because of a health issue, he said. Now that his health has improved, he said he feels he can fulfill the job's duties.

Like anybody else, you choose where your money goes, Bartlett said.

“We don't choose to pay for inaccuracies,” he said. “Money can always be found for something if it's important enough.”



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