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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

By Joe Bell: Dan Kilkenny will protect my money

Editor,

I want to hire Dan Kilkenny to protect my tax money.

I can do this simply by casting my vote for him in the primary to be held Tuesday, February 19 when he will be running for Walworth County Supervisor of District No. 8.

Dan Kilkenny is well aware that there are too many hands in the taxpayer's cookie jar.

He strongly believes that the taxpayer's money should be used only to serve the taxpayers, and that those who use the taxpayer's monies should be working for the taxpayers and not for themselves or some special interest group.

He knows that getting these sticky fingers out of the jar is just one of many ways to cut the taxes of the over-burdened citizen.

Kilkenny will protect my money. Kilkenny will protect your money. Vote Dan Kilkenny for county supervisor of District 8.

Joe Bell
Delavan

By Dennis Lichner: Ann Lohrmann will hold the line on spending

Editor,

I wish to express my concerns about the waste of taxpayer money over the way the highway department is conducting winter operations.

They think that the money grows on trees. My taxes went up $800 in one year, so they can keep spending more instead of curbing their expenses.

For one thing, they over-salt the roads and over-plow also. When they go down County Highway H on a bare roads with the plow blade down, it’s called wearing out equipment prematurely.

As an owner operator in the dump truck business for over 40 years, and also having done snow plowing and removal, I am a little familiar with plowing operations.

When they go down highway H, I have found salt up my driveway over 20 feet.

So if I have it in my driveway that far, it means they are also salting the ditch and up the bank--a waste of salt plus a negative impact on the environment.

Another thing is they put the wing down and scrape the shoulder gravel into the ditches instead of keeping it up a couple of inches.

It wastes road gravel and costs taxpayers money to re-shoulder the side every year.

I have to rake the stones out of the ditch every year or ruin my mower blades or possibly my mower engine.

There is one supervisor who shares the same opinions as me on the matter the way that public works is being operated.

This supervisor is Ann Lohrmann, who says the line must be held on spending.

Her opponent has a different view, such as spending more.

The county board needs more people like Ann to get a hold of this exorbitant spending.

Maybe the taxpayers of Walworth County are striving to be the highest taxed county in the state, instead of the fourth highest.

As a businessperson, I know I couldn’t spend more than I took in, or I would have failed in two years.

The county just raises taxes for their exorbitant spending.

When we vote for supervisors, we have to vote for people who are tired of raising taxes.

Dennis Lichner
LaGrange Township

By Frank Taylor: Bromley offers a fresh start

Dear Voters in Dist 3, Walworth County,

On Feb 19, and again on April 1, you have the opportunity to make a real choice. A choice between the politics of the past, and a fresh start. Mark Bromley offers that fresh start.

Born and raised on a farm in LaGrange, he knows the history of this county, and is prepared to guide it into the future. Through sound financial management, smart growth, not unlimited growth, and common sense leadership.

If you have questions about his positions, just ask him. You will find his candor refreshing, and I assure you, his answers will be the same, no matter who he is speaking to.

We have a unique opportunity to tap into a wealth of knowledge, talent, and leadership. Let's not let that opportunity slip through our hands.

Frank Taylor
LaGrange Township

By Ann Lohrmann: Government should do more with less

Dear Editor,

Recently in the local newspapers and at a candidate's forum for the Walworth County Board Supervisor's primary to be held Feb. 19, 2008, an opponent attempted to discredit me.

Contrary to some individuals running for the county board, I do not believe the large majority of people in Walworth County have unlimited wealth.

As I go door to door I find that most people don't consider themselves financially rich.

In 2007, Walworth County experienced a 51 percent increase in foreclosures.

In a time when our economy has plummeted and people are having difficulty paying their bills, I believe government needs to do more with less.

How can we envision economic growth when our tax levy is nearly double what other surrounding counties are?

While I have been supportive of the services the county provides, I do not believe we need to continue increasing taxes every year to provide good services for county residents.

I sacrificed my chairmanship for the good of our county's future, by spearheading the successful downsizing referendum.

This, as most of you know, led to the majority of my peers on the board, ousting me.

I believe a smaller board will be more accountable and more responsive to the people they represent.

The taxpayers agreed. As with the downsizing, I have always worked hard to lower taxes and improve our county government.

Now with an 11 member county board we can work more efficiently to cut the wasteful and unnecessary spending.

I will work hard to ensure that the people of Walworth County do not serve their government, but that it serves them.

Ann Lohrmann
Candidate for Walworth County Board
District 3

These are my opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Walworth County Board of Supervisors.

By Jim Thometz: D'Alessandro has a plan for the future

Editor,

District 7 primary candidates, are you ready for fiscal responsibility?

Will our District 7 elected supervisor hold the line on spending and stop increasing the tax levy?

Can you say "zero-based budgeting?"

I had the opportunity to attend and participate in a District 7 candidate forum that took place at the Williams Bay field house on Monday evening Feb. 11, and the results made my decision process for voting in the primary clear and simple.

James D'Alessandro has the experience, insight, and logical approach necessary to successfully transition into the newly downsized county board.

While I respect the initiative and service of the two other candidates running, there is a clear difference between them on multiple levels--experience, leadership, and action are critical to the new county board structure.

While the other candidates spoke about the difficulties ahead and their lack of a clear plan and direction for the future, D'Alessandro proposed logical and effective steps to stop tax levy increases.

Ideas such as "zero-based budgeting," outsourcing seasonal services to reduce cost, obtain additional state and federal aid, control and reorganize the skyrocketing health care costs.

Instead of taking two years to develop a mere approach for a Smart Growth plan, D'Alessandro has the experience, knowledge, and initiative to provide immediate action and direction while holding the line on tax levy increases.

I urge you to vote for James D'Alessandro for District 7 county supervisor on Tuesday Feb. 19.

Jim Thometz
Geneva Township

By Robert Grohall: Spending should be justified

Dear Editor,

This is to introduce myself, Robert L. Grohall, a candidate for Walworth County Supervisor, District 6.

I am an Elkhorn resident for the past 35 years; married to Maxine for 40 years; have two children educated in the Elkhorn School District and three grandchildren.

I am self employed and used to working on budgets. I am a member of the First United Methodist Church and have been a 4-H leader at all levels from project to county. I was the first president of the 4-H Black Box Theater.

My values and ideas are conservative, which means that as a Walworth County Supervisor, I will try to do the right thing…not what is popular or politically correct.

As a citizen and hopefully as your county board supervisor, I have a question about the 2008 adoptive budget.

How can one department ask and received an increase of about 28 percent (27.8 percent actual)?

This is without any representative from District 6 ever raising a question of a no vote.

This type of extravagant spending, leading to excessive tax rates, has got to stop.

Under my leadership, spending in all areas has to be justified, questioned, examined and then voted on. A change is needed.

The two representatives that currently represent you, the taxpayer, could not look you in the eye and say, “I did everything that I could to hold down your taxes.”

Vote for me in the primary Feb. 19.

Robert L. Grohall
Elkhorn
Candidate for Walworth County Board

By Shane Spoo: My response to criticism of police support

Dear Editor,

Months ago I made a personal offer to Mr. Ed Kaufenberg to contact me any time he had issues relating to me as a village trustee or the village of Darien in general.

Mr Kaufenberg subsequently declined the offer and told me that he would rather publish his concerns in the paper so everyone knows what he's thinking; in lieu of speaking with me directly.

I emphasize the importance of open communication and believe that it is necessity of municipal government, but I also have concerns when citizens freely publicize information that is only half-truths, at very best.

It's obvious by the repeated comments made by the Kaufenberg's that they don't support me, or protective services. and their bitterness shows through as a result.

I personally would like to take the opportunity to publicly thank the men and women of the Darien Police Department and the Darien Fire and Rescue members for their tireless and sometimes unappreciated efforts in protecting the lives and property within the community.

In rebuttal to Mr. Kaufenberg's letter to the editor (Letters, The Week, Feb. 10), he voiced concerns about me and the fact that I supported a 6.5 percent wage increase for the police chief, and the fact that it was the largest increase in the history of the community.

If Mr. Kaufenberg would have actually researched the "history" like I did prior to making that comment, he would have found that to the best of my knowledge, Greg Epping received a 26.5 percent increase in pay as well as Connie Machi an approximated 10.5 percent increase in one year.

Both of these increases were awarded under the old administration that publicly told members of the board and the community, "you have to believe in the decisions of the committees or we'd never get anything done."

In addition, what Mr. Kaufenberg didn't comment on was the fact that the current police chief's salary in the year 2007 was still less than the former police chief was making in the year 2003 upon retirement; and considerably less than the surrounding comparable communities are making presently.

Contract negotiations are still being held with the department supervisors and reductions of benefits are being looked at.

Mr. Kaufenbergs also fails to mention that I was, and still am, highly opposed to a contract passed outside of my presence for the Department of Public Works that allows them to change their work hours from summer to winter, and receive a paid lunch, an increase of 5 percent in pay among other contractual benefits that are a fiscal liability to the community.

The Kaufenbergs continually state their concerns about police staffing. Again, if they had done their research they would find that the police department has not increased their staffing since 1998 when chief Michalek and former President Wenzel received grant money for two police officers to be added to the existing staffing.

According to a recently published 2007 annual report by the police department, they handled 3,673 calls for service in the year 1999 in comparison to 5,801 calls for service in 2007; an increase of more than 63 percent in volume and 0 percent increase in staffing.

Contrary, both the village hall and DPW have increased staffing to accommodate an increase workload and I've heard no suggestions by Mr. Kaufenberg to reduce their staffing.

Mr. Kaufenberg seems to forget that the police department is the only department in the community that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

According to the 2007 annual police report, the police department had a budget surplus for at least the past two years in excess of $50,000 that will aid in developing a much needed contingency fund for the community.

A lot of the excess money was due to the chief applying for grants and obtaining free equipment that enabled the police department to save budgeted money.

So see Mr. Kaufenberg, change was needed and it seems that the current board is in the process of being fiscally responsible as well as dealing with inherited issues under old administration.

Shane Spoo
Village of Darien Trustee

By Margaret Downing: Accountability of elected officials

Dear Residents of Walworth County:

I recently read an article by Terry Johnson, County Administrator of Anoka County, Minnesota. It was titled ACCOUNTABILITY OF ELECTED OFFICIALS and it really impressed me. He pinpointed everything that I would have liked to say but did it so much more eloquently than I ever could have. In this year of elections he makes some very important points that we, as voters, must take into consideration before casting our ballot.

He started off by writing that when an elected official is sworn into office, he or she PLEDGES to uphold their oath of office. Then he continued "While some candidates feel comfortable making pledges to special interest groups while campaigning, those pledges may not be in the best interests of the constituents the official represent and may be in direct conflict with an elected officer's oath.

Special interest groups are quick to urge the public to 'hold elected officials accountable,' but they need to keep in mind that the official is accountable and responsible to ALL the constituents he or she represents, not just those who would eliminate, reduce, or freeze taxes or levels of taxation."

Mr. Johnson continues "The dilemma of keeping taxes manageable while meeting the statutory and ethical obligations to our citizens is not an issue that is easily understood, explained or solved. There will always be those who debate and criticize the role of government in our lives, but the fact is, many people need and depend on government for many of the services they need to sustain themselves.

The elected official cannot forget about the 84-year -old woman who lives alone and is doing her best to maintain her independence, all the while seeing the costs of her transportation and medication increase, while her social security and share of a pension do not.

How does the elected official tell her that the bus service which carries her to the pharmacy is being slowly whittled away because there isn't enough money in the budget to continue the same level of service as in past years? Or, what about the thousands of people who rely on publicly maintained roads every day? If we continue to allow roads to fall into disrepair because we aren't willing to raise the money necessary to maintain and improve them, we're not only creating a public safely hazard, but a barrier to economic development as well. "

"Roads link residents and businesses to help our communities prosper, and could be considered one of the most important services provided by government. Then there is law enforcement, licensing, deed recording, correctional facilities, and on and on. All of the services cost money; some of that cost can be offset with fees, but most need to be funded with tax dollars." Walworth County has also chosen to support the County Nursing Home and Lakeland School.

"Yes, we do need elected officials who are accountable, but they need to be accountable to all of their constituents, not just those who feel taxes are too high." They need to be accountable to the oath they swore to uphold, not to a special interest group.

Thank you for taking time to read this article and I hope you will give these thoughts your consideration when casting your ballot.

Margaret C. Downing
Walworth County Supervisor
District 14

The thoughts expressed in this letter are solely my own and do not reflect those of the Walworth County Board

By Paula McGowen: Harmony is not necessarily the best thing

Editor,

On Saturday, Feb. 2, 2008, history was made in Walworth County.

There was a first-ever candidates' forum for county board candidates in the District 2,3, and 6 primaries to be held on Feb. 19, 2008. I wish to thank Peoples Bank for accommodating the event at their community center room at its Elkhorn location, and the candidates that participated.

The event was filled to capacity and then some, with standing room only. I am happy to say, in proceeding elections this event will need a larger location.

As one candidate put it, "This is what democracy is all about." I like to think that this is a sign of Walworth County's future, and as another candidate put it, "we are at a crosswords."

I happen to disagree to one candidate's view over the "animosity" and discord the candidate perceives in the current board's deliberations.

Anyone witnessing a functional governmental body--be it a township board on up to our U.S. Congress--should view the raucousness that at times erupts, as an indication of differences of opinion and a healthy sign of checks and balances at work.

We all need to reflect that harmony and being in unison can be a red flag.

There was a valid reason our forefathers had the wisdom to create the separation of powers by providing for three independent branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial.

It is when all act as one, that the tyranny our forefathers faced and so courageously fought and died for, will have returned.

The Walworth County Board that we elect on April 1, 2008, shouldn't be chosen lightly, like an April Fool's joke.

We need to be thankful of those who showed true courage and leadership in providing the people of Walworth County the opportunity to take back their government so that it will do as it had been originally intended; serve "We The People."

Remember, it will be this new board that "We the People" choose, that will decide our future's path, and that sometimes being labeled noisy, disruptive and not going along with the program is a true indicator of leadership.

I'm sure the Queen of England thought of the colonists in a similar fashion.

Please vote in the primary on Feb. 19, 2008 and again on April 1, 2008 in the general election.

Paula McGowen
Elkhorn

Friday, February 01, 2008

Dorothy Burwell, candidate for Walworth County Board, District 8

Dorothy Burwell announced today her candidacy for Walworth County Board Supervisor for the newly formed District 8. (map)

Burwell has been a member of the board for 10 years. She is presently the chair of the Children With Disabilities Education Board and is vice chair of the Agriculture and Extension Education and Land Conservation committees and is a member of the park committee. She has served as chair of the human resources, land conservation and agriculture and extension education and as vice-chair of the Lakeland Health Care Board of Trustees.

Burwell is a lifelong resident of Walworth County and formerly served as the town clerk and plan commission secretary for the town of Delavan. She has been active in the Delavan community supporting the community swim team, soccer program and orchestra program. She and her husband have been recognized twice for their long-time support of the high school wrestling program.

Burwell has testified before state senate and assembly committees on issues that are important to Walworth County residents. She has also lobbied Senators Kohl and Feingold as well as Rep. Ryan while in Washington, D.C., attending a public issues leadership development conference.

Burwell has always believed government should be open and responsive to the residents it serves. She has supported Lakeland School and the needs of the children who attend the school district administrators and personnel from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in reaching an agreement for transfer of services to local school district.

She is married to Gordon Burwell and they have seven children, 22 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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