Three incumbents, one write-in seek Milton City Council seats
MILTON Alderwoman Anissa Welch and Alderman Don Vruwink have brought progressive voices to the city council table in Milton.
Brett Frazier has been a fiscal conservative and, at times, the lone pestering voice during heated debates over large spending measures.
Frazier, Welch, and Vruwink all face re-election as their seats come up in a four-way race for the Milton City Council.
Last month, Lynda Clark threw her hat into the ring as a write-in candidate. Clark, a former council member from 2002 to 2010, seeks one of the three seats up for election.
Frazier is mounting a simultaneous bid for Milton mayor against sitting Mayor Tom Chesmore and council member Nancy Lader, whose seat is not up for re-election.
Another resident, Mike Verran, bowed out of the council race, according to a Milton Courier report. The Gazette was unable to reach him for comment. Verranís name will appear on the ballot, however.
The Gazette asked the remaining candidates the following questions:
Q: What do you believe should be the cityís top priority as it prepares for the completion of the Highway 26 bypass in 2014?
Vruwink: The cityís top priority should be to ensure that our business community gets as much support as possibly and to ensure they can maintain and grow their business in a time when much less traffic will go through our city. We should take a look at more weekly or monthly events to bring in peopleóvisitors who might not otherwise come to Milton.
Welch: The city needs to focus on the planning and goals it has developed to address the impact of the bypass. We must continue working with our business leaders and citizens collaboratively, and we must strategically plan for the future comprehensively. This not only includes marketing and branding, but an ongoing process of identifying and cultivating our unique assets.
Frazier: The choices we make now about the development of the bypass corridor will be with us for a long time, and theyíll color the way our city is perceived. We need to embrace this new economic reality and think hard about what sort of development we want at the entrance to our city. We have to think strategically. The stakes are too high to shoot from the hip on this.
Clark: The city should update its sign ordinance so we can expedite local businessesí placement of new (advertising) signage outside and in the city.
Q: What is one issue or area that you donít believe the council or the city has given enough attention in the last couple of years?
Vruwink: I believe the city and council have done a good job of addressing the needs of Milton. Our city staff and public employees have done a great job of maintaining city services despite cuts and retirements of many long-time employees. I believe we have addressed our main priorities.
Welch: The city might consider creating an entity responsible for seeing the major objectives of our strategic planning are actually implemented. This group should include representatives from government, business, education, citizens and faith-based institutions so we are connecting all of the community stakeholders to ensure our planning remains relevant to the community priorities and needs.
Frazier: Weíve talked a lot about community branding to draw in visitors, but we need to also focus on how to make Milton a place our residents want to stay and enjoy. By planned improvements to our parks, our downtown, our library and other public amenities, we will not only make Milton a place people want to come, but also a place our residents donít want to leave.
Clark: (More attention needs to be paid) on how the bypass will impact city roads.
Q: Can you describe one idea that you believe would enhance or improve the business climate in Milton, either for large industry or small business?
Vruwink: I would like to see us fully use our city parks with baseball and softball tournaments on weekends. The city could work in conjunction with our service business to keep out-of-town softball and baseball families and players visiting our businesses before they leave town. We also need to make sure we should have ready sites available if a business wants to locate in the city.
Welch: We must promote and connect our local businesses with the Regional Industry Skills and Education partnership through the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and Blackhawk Technical College. Itís imperative to stay informed about promising underdeveloped markets such as green economy that have potential to expand, complement and strengthen our local business climate.
Frazier: We do a very good job on the large industry, I believe, but a vast majority of our businesses are very small businesses. Those small shops contribute so much to the flavor of Milton. We need to do a better job of reaching out to those small businesses and identifying tools and resources that the city can provide or improve (like the revolving loan fund) to encourage and support their growth.
Clark: There needs to be partnerships with universities and technical colleges to channel intern programs that teach small business and industry skills that they (students) will bring back to the community. The (Milton) high school should do more marketing for college fairs and events.
Q: Why should Milton residents elect or re-elect you as alderperson?
Vruwink: In my two years on the council, I believe our council has been progressive in meeting the needs of our city and creating a more friendly business climate. I have worked hard to actively upgrade our city parks. Iím working on more improvements to the parks this spring. I want people who live in the city to do as much of their business here, and I want to make Milton a destination city for those who donít reside here.
Welch: I have been an effective, thoughtful public servant on the Milton City Council the past two years. I have an extraordinary commitment to the community that I have demonstrated through membership of organizations that raise the quality of life in our city. I am devoted to keeping a small-town atmosphere and character that our tight-knit community values. I have a vision for the city as a destination where children, families and businesses flourish and visitors have a welcoming, enjoyable experience.
Frazier: Iíve been on the council for four years now. In that time, Iíve been a voice and a vote for common sense and wise fiscal policy. Iíve never been afraid of the tough vote, even when Iíve been out on the limb alone. We need to keep Milton affordable, and Iíll keep fighting that fight on behalf of the residents of Milton.
Clark: Iím a firm believer that citizen comments and concerns need to be addressed by committees, commissions and council. I am dedicated to finding affordable solutions for organized growth while keeping services and the atmosphere we all want. I enjoyed my prior service to Milton and would truly enjoy the opportunity to do it again.