Four vying for three trustee seats

By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

A challenger is trying to take one of the three seats occupied by incumbents on the Belgium Village Board on April 5, but he could hardly be called a newcomer.

Dale Pfeifer has served two stints as trustee for a total of about 11 years, and is seeking another two-year term on the board. He faces incumbents Don Gotcher, Victor Lecato and Sarah Heisler.

Pfeifer twice didn’t seek re-election due to his second shift job at Oshkosh Truck. Now retired, Pfeifer, 64, has time to attend meetings and wants to serve his hometown where he and his wife live.

“I’ve been here my whole life,” he said.

He wants the village to retain its small-town feel.

“I like to keep things kind of small. We’re a small community,” he said.

While on the board, Pfeifer said, he tried to see all angles of issues.

“I was always that middle guy in the road who could listen to both sides of the story. I get along real good with people. I’m willing to listen. I always said that was my strong suit,” he said.

He’s also running to give voters a choice. The village, he said, usually has uncontested races.

The village isn’t facing many pressing issues at the moment, but a few items always hang out there.

Raising water rates receives regular complaints, but Pfeifer said those are necessary to keep up with the costs.

Paving the gravel portion of Silver Beach Road that heads into the village’s industrial park has been discussed for decades, but other priorities kept coming up.

“That should have been done 30 years ago. When I first got on the board that was an issue,” Pfeifer said.

Paving the road is one of the main priorities for Lecato and Gotcher.

Lecato, 54, who has lived in the village six years, is on his second stint on the board. He left the board after serving 18 months a few years ago due to his job, but now has more time and was recently appointed to an open spot.

He is married with five children and nine grandchildren. He works as a director of information technology.

“The only issue that I see is we as a village have not done a great job of looking at the business park and doing what we can to get that going,” he said, “and a lot of that is getting the road paved so we can get the traffic out of downtown and get the trucks easy access on and off the freeway.”

As the pressures of inflation start to hit, Lecato said, attracting more businesses to the industrial park will help increase tax income and offset residents’ tax liability.

Lecato also wants to manage increasing development.

“We want to make sure we have the green space that we need, the parks,” he said, mentioning the development next to Village Hall. The splash pad next to the building is nice, but it’s all concrete and he wants to see green space to go along with it.

Lecato also wants to see what can be done to put a park on the north and west sides of town so children don’t have to travel on Highway KW to get to Heritage Park.

“If the trucks are still going to go back and forth, I don’t want kids riding bikes up and down KW,” he said.

Lecato said he wants to find solutions outside the box.

“I don’t want to get into the ‘We’ve always done it this way and we’re never changing’ type of thing,” he said.

Gotcher, 72, is a retired landscape designer who has lived in the village for 15 years. He is married with two children and five grandchildren.

He has advocated to get Silver Beach Road paved for years.

“It’s not only dangerous to have them (trucks) going down Main Street, but over time it’s going to cause big problems,” he said, referring to road quality issues.

The gravel road has also hampered business development.

“Years ago we had a company that would have come in there if the road would have been done, but they said we don’t let our drivers drive through residential areas,” he said.

Gotcher, who serves on the Parks and Recreation Committee with Lecato, also wants to green space next to the splash pad. He also wants to see if an open area owned by the village in the Ardennes subdivision could be turned into a park.

More companies in the business park, he said, would combat inflation and “bring the taxes down we pay in the village.”

Gotcher said he has the best interests of village residents in mind.

“I want to do the best possible job we can for the people, and if that means shaking things up a bit here on the board, then so be it,” he said.

Sarah Heisler, 43, has served one term on the board and is seeking another.

She is married with two children at home and works as a dental clinic manager and dental assistant.

Heisler has lived in the village for 20 years and is a member of the Belgium Fire Department.

“I feel like I know the people of Belgium and what they’re looking for in representation,” she said.

Heisler has a couple of priorities for Belgium.

“I would like to see some projects through to completion with roadwork and the shelter at the park,” she said.

Growing the Belgium business base is also a goal.

“I would like to see things that make sense for the village,” she said, “the right businesses that would employ some of our residents, give high school kids an opportunity to work locally and provide a service to the village.”

When it comes to paving Silver Beach Road, Heisler said she doesn’t want to forget about the rest of the immediate area.

“I would hate to see anything happen to the farmers who farm that land. Give them the respect they deserve. We don’t have a lot of farms anymore,” she said.

 

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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