Challengers include former village president, spouse of a incumbent
Anyway you look at it, an intriguing story line is unfolding in the four-way contest for three vacant seats on the Fredonia Village Board. The general election is April 3.
Former Village President Joe Short, who also served as a trustee, is looking to make a return to the board.
Joining him on the ballot are incumbent trustees Jill Bertram and Don Dohrwardt, and Lisa Dohrwardt, the incumbent’s wife.
Only two incumbents are seeking re-election, because the trustee seat formerly held by Chuck Lapicola was left vacant after his election as village president last spring.
Bertram, 55, 608 Fredonia Ave., has served on the board for the past five years, along with a previous term in the 1990s.
Bertram said she is running to make sure the village continues to watch spending closely, including making adjustments in pensions and insurance for village employees.
“I feel I am just a common sense-type of person who can and will weed through the politics as usual, making good choices for the village,” she said.
Don Dohrwardt, 62, 313 S. Milwaukee St., has a lengthy tenure in local government, including 10 years as a trustee, four years as village president and 12 years as an Ozaukee County supervisor.
“As money becomes scarce, I have focused on the debt the Village of Fredonia owes,” he said. “As chairman of the Finance Committee, I worked to pay down some of the Martin Avenue loan, restructure the rest and save the taxpayers more than $200,000 over the next 10 years. I intend to do the hard work necessary to continue our string of no-tax-increase budgets.”
Dohrwardt said the village must reconstruct Fredonia Avenue, but characterized the burying of utility lines along that road a “wish list” item.
He said prudent planning can position the village to take advantage of future opportunities as the nation’s recession eases.
“Our greatest challenge is to guard against overspending to satisfy unrealistic expectations. Right now, we should be positioning the village to meet the actual needs each year as the economy slowly recovers,” Dohrwardt said.
He said his county duties have allowed him to bring “cutting edge strategies” back to the village.
Short, 55, 230 Clover La., served seven years as a trustee and four years as village president. That experience, he contends, gives his much needed financial perspective.
“In order to work with tighter finances, the village needs to prioritize the needs. The village should continue to work with surrounding communities in joint projects, like we did with the Fredonia Government Center,” Short said.
“To decrease cost, the village needs to charge the surrounding communities for a portion of cost of capital equipment used to service their areas.”
Short said he believes the Fredonia Avenue utility lines should be buried to enhance the community’s appearance.
He said the anticipated charges from We Energies, which could top $1 million, should be contested before the state’s Public Service Commission.
Short envisions a strong future for the village.
“To promote growth in the village, the village needs to promote its strengths. We have to get the word out who we are and why you should come here,” he said.
Lisa Dohrwardt, 51, 313 S. Milwaukee St., is making her first bid for elected office but has been active in the community.
With tax dollars in short supply, she said the village needs to be creative in finding sources of revenue.
“Making sure essential services (like police, fire and garbage) are well covered and snag free goes a long way to making citizens content. Encouraging business growth by taking care of the businesses we already have makes the community attractive to business growth,” Lisa Dohrwardt said.
“Encouraging civic groups to maintain opportunities for community interaction keeps the neighborhood feeling like a neighborhood.”
She said options should be considered in the Fredonia Avenue utility line question.
“I believe burying the high power lines and consolidating and rerouting residential and business service lines would be a good compromise between doing nothing to update and doing something that might be cost prohibitive,” Dohrwardt said.
She described herself as a creative thinker, and got her family’s backing — including her husband — before deciding to run for office.
Trustees are elected to two-year terms.