Share this page on facebook
Four hopefuls vying for two seats on Port Town Board PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 29 March 2017 20:52

Port Washington Town Chairman Jim Melichar and Treasurer Mary Sampont are unopposed on Tuesday’s ballot, but town voters will have a choice of four candidates to fill two supervisory seats.

Incumbent Mike Didier, who has been a supervisor since 2011, is vying with Terry Anewenter, Gary Schlenvogt and Greg Welton to fill those two seats.

All four candidates said they are seeking a seat on the board to serve their community, adding they believe the town is on the right track in working to keep the rural character of the community.

Each said they would be open to input from constituents, saying that’s the purpose of town government.

Didier, 42, of 4627 Hwy. KW, said he is seeking another term because he enjoys the work and is committed to serving the community he’s lived in throughout his life.

“I know where it came from and where it’s going,” he said. “I think I know what the town is and has been. I’ve learned there’s a back story to everything.”

While the town is relatively quiet now, Didier said he anticipates the day will come when development pressures will cause land-use conflicts.

“The city’s being pressured for development, and the town will likely follow,” he said.

The border agreement between the city and town has helped avoid conflicts, Didier said, but the town needs to look forward to the day it expires.

The town should also take a new look at the Knellsville area zoning, he said, to avoid any issues as development moves that way.

In addition, he said, the town should look toward the day when it needs to expand its garbage and recycling collection facilities.

The town took over these operations several years ago, moving the collection to the Town Hall property, reducing the cost to town residents. 

“It’s only going to get bigger over time,” Didier said, and there isn’t enough room to expand at Town Hall. “The question is where and how will we do it.”

One possibility would be to purchase properties adjacent to Town Hall and move the operations there, he said, or the town could look at buying land across the street from the hall.

It’s something Didier said he would like the Town Board to study over the next year.

Schlenvogt, 67, of 2415 Hawthorne Dr., said he has some thoughts about the Knellsville area, and his 38 years in the construction industry could prove invaluable in considering development there.

“I think there’s a lot of potential there,” Schlenvogt said, especially now that the recession is over and building is picking up around the county.

Industrial or commercial development there could be especially valuable, he said, since it would bring in tax base while requiring few town services.

That sentiment was also expressed by Welton, 45, of 2563 Applewood Dr.

A builder by trade, Welton said one of his priorities is attracting business to the north side of the town, saying it will relieve pressure on tax finances.

“I think we need to revisit the standards for the Knellsville area,” he said. “We seem pretty strict.”

He said small businesses, perhaps the construction trades, offices or warehouses, could locate there, noting they wouldn’t require the extension of sewer and water — an expensive proposition for the town.

“I don’t think we’ll draw any big boxes there,” Welton said.  “That (sewer and water) is going to be a big hurdle.”

He said he would also like to see the town look at the possibility of adding pedestrian trails or walkways, particularly ones that could hook up to the existing bike trails.

“I don’t know if it’s doable, but even if there was a plan in place so when areas get developed, that would be great,” Welton said. 

The Town of Cedarburg has created a nice trail system, he said, and the town could look at emulating it.

Schlenvogt said he also wants to ensure the town continues to maintain its roads — another area in which his construction background could be helpful.

Anewenter, 62, of 3693 Hwy. KK, also said he wants to see a greater emphasis on road repairs, with the board undertaking more interim fixes. To facilitate this, he said, the Town Board should take a road tour more than once a year.

One road that needs to be repaired is Northwoods Road north of the YMCA, Anewenter said.

Welton concurred, but said that since three communities have jurisdiction over the roadway it’s a difficult fix.

Anewenter described himself as a citizen watchdog and said he wants to see more transparency in town government.

“There’s very little discussion, whether it be for snow removal, sign maintenance or road maintenance,” he said, even if it’s for something relatively minor. “I’d like to see more bidding for major projects.”

Anewenter said he’s a frugal man who would watch out for the town’s purse strings.

Unlike the other candidates, Anewenter is not a native of the town, and he said that serves him well. “I’m not one of the old guard,” he said.Daily Press