Town of Belgium supervisors Francis Kleckner and William Janeshek are facing a rare challenge from two members of the town’s Plan Commission in the spring election Tuesday, April 2.
Dennis Dimmer, 1967 Hwy. K, and James Blick, 627 Hwy. D, are making their first bids to be on the Town Board, saying it’s time for a change.
Voters will be asked to select two supervisors from the four candidates.
Kleckner and Janeshek, who say the town has been governed well under their tenure, banded together, asking constituents to “vote for experience, dedication and frugality” in ads that appear in this week’s and last week’s Ozaukee Press.
“I think our record of running the town together seems to be working,” said Janeshek, a supervisor for 16 years. “If they choose to vote for both of us, that’s fine, or if they choose to vote for one of us that’s fine — whatever the electors choose.”
Kleckner, who was town chairman for 20 years before switching places with Tom Winker in 2011 and a supervisor 14 years before that, said he and Janeshek have a conservative approach to town leadership.
“We get along and I guess we have the same ideas about a lot of things,” Kleckner said. “I feel I have a common sense approach to a lot of things and Bill is the same.”
Blick said he can do “what’s beneficial, fair and least intrusive to taxpayers, and I have no personal agenda.”
“I want to give back to the community I live and grew up in,” he said.
Dimmer said everyone should be treated fairly and that isn’t happening.
“I feel qualified to be a town supervisor as I have been attending town board meetings for most of the six years that I have lived in the Town of Belgium,” Dimmer said. “I was asked and accepted a position on the Town of Belgium’s Plan Commission three years ago. As a result, I am familiar with the current status of our town.
“As times and/or needs change, we must plan carefully to step towards the future. I feel it is time to start looking into creating town ordinances to address common concerns or issues. All taxpayers of the town need to receive equal consideration.”
Dimmer’s business, D&D Electric, is one of 22 businesses that were identified as nonconforming and grandfathered in last year.
However, he requested a conditional -use permit, something Blick and the majority of Plan Commission members opposed. Dimmer said other nonconforming businesses, including fireworks storage and pay-to-hunt operations, were given conditional uses.
The Town Board denied the request 2-1, with Kleckner voting to approve it.
Kleckner contends the town’s zoning code does not allow non-conforming businesses to be grandfathered. Instead, he said, they should be controlled through conditional-use permits and all possible uses included in the zoning code.
“We don’t want things popping up all over,” he said. “We have a very good long-range plan, and I think if we stick to that we can keep our rural image.”
Janeshek said he went along with the Plan Commission recommendation because it was time to settle the issue of how to keep agricultural land for farming.
“We have been hashing this over for years,” Janeshek said. “I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer. The Plan Commission came up with what is now the scenario for the town. We’re trying to keep it simple so we don’t have a lot of rules.
“Ultimately, we want everything to stay the same. We haven’t had any real new growth, and that’s the way everybody wants it to be. There is a lot of pressure on rural lands. The longer we keep it simple and low key, the better off we are.”
Janeshek cites his work with the Ozaukee County Highway Department as an asset for the township.
“We have 47 miles of roads. We should be paving two miles a year and we haven’t been doing that lately,” he said.
One issue the board will face this year is finding a new Town Hall. The current Town Hall at 814 Main St., which was built in 1894 for $560 and hasn’t been updated much since, is not handicapped accessible and there is no running water.
All candidates said they are waiting for a report from a Town Hall Study Committee.
A dairy farmer for many years, Kleckner sold his cows and 40 acres to his son and now grows grains on 210 acres.
Blick grew up in Lake Church. Ten years ago, he bought his grandparents’ farm. He sold 13 acres to Harrington Beach State Park and kept a two-acre parcel with the house and barn. He worked in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years.
Janeshek grew up in Port Washington, but spent most summers on his uncle Gene Pierron’s farm, where he now lives and grows cash crops. In addition to his highway job, he does custom combining for area farmers.
Also on the ballot will be incumbents Chairman Winker, Clerk Ginger Murphy and Treasurer Janet Coeur, who are all unopposed.