WAUSAU PILOT AND REVIEW

In the village of Weston, five candidates are vying for three seats on the Board of Trustees.

The spring election is Tuesday, April 7. Here are the candidates, in alphabetical order:

Steven Cronin

Steven Cronin, candidate for Weston Trustee (contributed photo)

 

Age: 28

Occupation: Self Employed at Everest Party Rentals

Prior political experience: None

Education: Associates Degree

Community involvement: I help numerous local events with their equipment rental needs every year

Why are you running for office?

I was extremely concerned with the progress on the Camp Phillip’s Center Development. The village has devoted 5 years worth of money and resources to development groups and consultants and there is nothing to show for it. The lack of cooperation between all involved parties is concerning.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Weston officials in the next two years?

The direction of the Camp Phillips development. The project as initially designed was put on hold due to wetland permit issues. From my understanding the developers are working on a new plan for the land to move forward with.

Which of Weston’s services most needs additional resources?

There appears to be some struggles with the South Area Fire district in regards to staffing.  They are struggling to recruit and retain quality employees. Public Safety should be a top priority

Should any part of Weston’s budget be shielded from cuts? And if so, which area?

When times get tough, everybody has to sacrifice. Its no different than a household budget. I would apply that same mentality to the Villages budget. If cuts need to be made, no department would be exempt.

What is the most promising thing happening in Weston right now?

The village is currently in the early stages of planning for a brand new, much needed municipal Center to better serve the citizens of the Village of Weston. The old facility is small and outdated.

What is the most important thing for Weston right now: Building new homes and commercial spaces, or revitalizing existing homes and storefronts?

I think new homes and commercial spaces are more important. There is currently not an excessive amount of vacant space for commercial or residential use.

Where do the biggest threats to Weston’s financial stability lie, and what should be done about them?

The TIF districts. Weston has a considerable amount of land and consequently tax dollars tied up in the village’s TIF districts. In the long term I would like to see the village become less reliant on utilizing TIF districts to fund to new growth projects.

What, specifically, will you do to improve the quality of life for people in Weston?

I have lived and grown up in this area my entire life. Weston is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. I intend to continue to build on the solid foundation the Village of Weston already has to continue to make this community the best place to reside in Marathon County.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process?

I will always be available for residents to contact with any questions or concerns they may have to ensure that their opinions are taken into consideration. I would also invite residents to attend meetings and consider speaking to ensure their voice is heard by the entire board.

The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in unprecedented changes to the lives of residents in our area. What do you see as the role of the board in comforting, informing, and keeping residents safe during this crisis?

We need to help keep folks calm and do our part as a village to help those in need. Everybody is feeling a pinch right now. The village as a whole needs to ensure that the guidelines set forth by the governor and the CDC are being followed to ensure that we can exit this crisis in a timely manner.


Mark F. Maloney (Incumbent)

Mark Maloney (Contributed photo)

Age: 60

Occupation: Director of Regional Sales, Russ Davis Wholesale/Crazy Fresh Produce

Why are you running for office?

I Enjoy Community Service. I have always been in the Service Industry, whether my career in Retail Grocery (31 years)

or my last 14 years with RDW servicing our Great Retail Customer Partners providing Fruits and Vegetables in their Produce Aisles.

I enjoy the interaction with people and helping find solutions to issues using a Common Sense approach.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Weston officials in the next two years?

1) “Affordable Housing” in Village and surrounding Municipalities,

4) “Shared Services” and “Good Healthy Working Relationship” with neighboring Municipalities,

2) “Village Roads and Infrastructure”,

3) “Municipal Facilities”, E.M.P.D & S.A.F.E.R Safety Facilities, Village Administration, Technical Services and Public Works Garage

What, specifically, will you do to improve the quality of life for people in Weston?

All in all I believe that the direction of our Village has improved.

We have engaged the Business, Technical and Contracting industries in a positive way.

The Village has hired or replaced some Key personnel, all for better service to our Customers/Tax Payer’s (our true Boss’s).

New exciting Housing projects are proposed, which will enhance our community.

I believe the Village Board and Committees are much more engaged with staff and our Customers/Tax Payers.

With past boards, often decisions were made by blindly following past Village Administrators and rubber stamping their ideas, currently the Board of Trustees work closely

with Tax Payers, Business leaders, Village Department Directors, Committees and our current Administrator, Keith Donner.

Why should our Village Tax Payers vote for me . . . I approach issues with an open mind and a common sense attitude.

I listen and help to find solutions instead of finding blame. I try and bridge opposing opinions and bring the two sides together to move forward.

I believe we are elected to serve our community. I am conservative in nature and try to find new cost effective ways to accomplish projects.

I would appreciate your vote and confidence in serving you . . .


Loren White

Loren White (Photo courtesy of the village of Weston)

Age: 68

Occupation:   Deputy Chief of Police Everest Metro Police Department, 30 years, RETIRED

Administrative Chief, Village of Weston Fire Department, 18 years, RETIRED

Emergency Medical Technician, Aspirus Wausau Hospital, 19 years, RETIRED

Prior political experience:

Five terms as a Village of Weston Trustee, one term and Village of Weston President

As Trustee:

Chair, Village of Weston Safety Committee,

Committee member, Village of Weston Personnel Committee,

Committee member, Village of Weston Plan Commission,

Committee member Everest Metropolitan Police Department Joint Finance Committee.

As President:

Chair of the Village of Weston Plan Commission,

Committee member, Village of Weston Personnel Committee

Chair/member of the Everest Metropolitan Police Department Joint Finance Committee,

Member of the Marathon County Metropolitan Planning Organization,

Member of the Wausau Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

Chair and Member of the South Area Fire and Emergency Response District Board of Directors, charter signatory of the agreement establishing same

One-year term as a Marathon County Board of Supervisors District 21, Representing Village of Weston Wards 11, 12 and 2:

Extension Education and Economic Development Committee member

Social Services Board member

Education:

Graduated from Wausau Senior High School 1970

Received an Associates in Science (Math) from the University of Wisconsin Marathon 1972

Received an Associates in Police Science from Northcentral Technical College 1975

Community Involvement:

Active attendee and observer of the proceedings of the Village of Weston Board and Committees I continue, and will continue to make the effort to attend committee meetings held by the Village of Weston in order to be better informed about the proceedings so that I am able to take on the role of Village of Weston Trustee with a short learning curve.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Weston officials in the next two years?

Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic effects on people’s lives, the economic recovery which I feel will take several years.

Which of Weston’s services most needs additional resources?

All, and this is the difficult part of managing municipal expenditures. In their own right they all deserve and need additional resources but the questions are: When? and How much will it cost? Not everyone sees the value in the vision of others.

Should any part of Weston’s Budget be shielded from cuts? And if so, which area?

None, other than those essential life sustaining services, safe drinking water, effective sewer services, public safety, roads and bridges.

What is the most promising thing happening in Weston right now?

Predicted growth in the Village of Weston, residential, commercial, etc. according to recent predictions, the Village of Weston will grow to over 20,000 residents and is the fasting growing community in Marathon County.

What is the most important thing for Weston right now: Building new homes and commercial places, or revitalizing existing home and storefront?

Mixture of all four.

Where do the biggest threats to Weston’s financial stability lie, what should be done about them?

The personal and business economic effects and post recovery of the COVID-19 pandemic and its long-term effect one people’s lives, work, education, health, sense of community (the effects of personal isolation).

What, specifically, will you do to improve the quality of life for people in Weston?

Ensure that I pay close attention to what residents want in municipal services keeping in mind the limited funding that is available. The quality of life of our residents depends on maintaining and improving infrastructure, the roads we all drive on to work, shop, go to school, and that businesses depend upon to receive raw materials and make deliveries. Ensuring that we are all safe in our homes by providing public safety; police, fire and emergency medical services. Although the Village is not directly involved in providing for educating out children, working with the D.C. Everest School district on projects that have a mutual benefit to the school district and Village residents and visitors. Having stated the latter, I will keep in mind that quality of life includes having access to recreational opportunities, places to eat, places to gather, and places to shop.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process?

The Village already does a great job of this in the weekly e-mail newsletters, Facebook© and also in its Nextdoor© notices sent out on a regular basis. I would endorse the Village posting or live-streaming it’s meetings with consideration of the costs of doing so.

The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in unprecedented changes to the lives of residents in our area. What do you see as the role of the board in comforting, informing, and keeping residents safe during this crisis?

The Village must ensure that whatever information is provided to the public is valid and based upon knowledgeable sources, not just the latest posting on Social Media, which often times has its own agenda and frequently jumps to conclusions without fully investigating and verifying the source.


Yee Leng Xiong (Incumbent)

Yee Leng Xiong

Age: 25

Occupation: Executive Director at the Hmong American Center, Inc.

Prior political experience:     DC Everest School Board Member, 2014 – Present,
                                                 Marathon County Board Supervisor, 2016 – Present
                                                  Village of Weston Board Trustee, 2018 – Present

Education: Some College, still a student

Community involvement: In a variety of roles,
– Wisconsin United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Association, Board President
– League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Board Member
– WI Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy
– State of Wisconsin Council on Affirmative Action

Why are you running for office?

As a resident of the Village of Weston, I feel more inclined than ever to want to give back to my community, and help make it the ideal place to live, learn, and work.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Weston officials in the next two years?

1) Businesses and surrounding agencies’ recovery from the Coronavirus/COVID 19 pandemic.
2) The Camp Phillips Centre’s Future
3) The Opioid and Mental Health Crisis and its impact on our community.
4) Consolidating local municipalities services
Which of Weston’s services most needs additional resources?
1) Emergency Services – With the rise of violent crimes in the last few years, our Fire and Police services are in need of additional resources more than ever. We need to re-evaluate our services to see if there is anything additional that we can do to help mitigate the rise of crimes. Whether its additional officers or training.
2) Public Works – Our infrastructures are the lifeline of our village. We need to ensure that our infrastructures such as our roads are taken care of. Better roads would mean our residents will be able to get to their jobs, law enforcement would be able to answer a call, and our EMS will be able to help save a life.
Should any part of Weston’s budget be shielded from cuts? And if so, which area?
As mentioned above, Public Works and Emergency Services would be the two-part of Weston’s budget that should be shield from cuts.

What is the most promising thing happening in Weston right now?

The most promising thing that is happening in the Village of Weston right now, is the hiring of Administrator Donner. I believe Administrator Donner is bringing a breath of fresh air to the Village of Weston.
What is the most important thing for Weston right now: Building new homes and commercial spaces, or revitalizing existing homes and storefronts?
I think it is important for the Village of Weston to continue to expand its Economic Development efforts in the Village of Weston. In order for a Village to be able to grow, its tax-based needs to increase as well. Does this mean more taxes? Not necessarily. This means focusing on expanding new homes and commercial spaces AND revitalizing existing homes and storefronts. It is crucial for the Village of Weston to focus on both initiatives not to prioritize just one.

Where do the biggest threats to Weston’s financial stability lie, and what should be done about them?

All municipalities across the state of Wisconsin are struggling from the restraints that are put on them by the State. We need our legislatures to review the current restrictions that are put on local municipalities. Currently, at this moment, the only thing we can do is look at alternative sources of funding, this has been something the League of Wisconsin Municipalities are looking into and advocating for.
What, specifically, will you do to improve the quality of life for people in Weston?
First and foremost, it would be to ensure that the safety of residents in the Village of Weston is the priority. Second would be to make sure that the availability of the jobs will continue to grow.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process?

I believe that transparency is a must for government. When I first campaigned for office, I strongly advocated for transparency and accountability. Within my first term, I was able to introduce and include in our budget, additional funding to broadcast our board meetings so that residents will be able to stay informed of the Village Board’s discussions and decisions. In addition, throughout my first term, I held several office hours within the Village of Weston, allowing residents to come and share with me their concerns. I am intending on keeping this going.

The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in unprecedented changes to the lives of residents in our area. What do you see as the role of the board in comforting, informing, and keeping residents safe during this crisis?

During these hard times, the Board must continue to help ensure that members of our community stay calm and informed and use every tool in its tool chest to ensure that the residents of the Village of Weston are taken care of. But I think the biggest contribution that the Board can make, is making sure that it passes policies that will help support and allowing our staff to take care of the residents of the Village of Weston. Now is not the time for the Village Board to micromanage the operations of the Village staff.


Hooshang Zeyghami (Incumbent)

Hooshang Zeyghami

Occupation: Professional Engineer PE (retired)

Prior political experience:

Village of Weston Trustee – 2016-present
Vice President – Village of Weston Board – 2019-present
Vice Chair– Human Resources Committee Village of Weston – 2019-present Chairman of CDA – Community Development Authority – 2019-present
Vice Chair – Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee for Marathon Co. – 2012-present Former President – Wausau Area Chamber of Commerce

Education:
BS – University of Wisconsin at Platteville – Civil Engineering
MS – Oklahoma State University – Civil/Environmental Engineering Post Grad Studies – UW-Madison – Environmental Engineering

Community Involvement:

Vice President – Monk Botanical Gardens
Executive Committee – UWSP at Wausau
Past President – Wausau Kiwanis Noon Club
Past President – DC Everest Youth Soccer Program (introduced soccer to the area, 1980) Member – Strategic Planning Committee for the Greenheck Fieldhouse

Why did you decide to run/re-run for the village board?

Living in the Village of Weston for 40 years and having a home, family and running a business in the village. I have been involved in many of the village projects as an engineer and I have a good understanding of the village’s needs and requirements. I feel that as a resident of the village, one should find time to serve/pay back the community. I am an incumbent and there is a lot to accomplish in the village. I want to use my experience to serve the village and its residents.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Weston officials in the next two years?

Facilities within the Village are aging and in need of immediate attention including the Municipal Center which is over 50 years old. One specific example is the Municipal Center’s garage. The garage is unsafe for the people working there and it is undersized significantly for the amount of equipment we have and use. We need a SMART facility to meet today’s needs. The building requires an automation system that is centralized and able to control the building’s air quality, physical comfort, security, sanitation, lighting, and room and space availability. This needs to be delivered at an optimum level to enable occupants to perform well. SMART facilities are greener and more energy efficient and cost effective than the current structure.

Which of Weston’s services most needs additional resources?

All of Weston’s services are understaffed (personnel) and in need additional resources. The major services the Village provides to its residents are police, fire, ambulance, and public works services. Each of these entities are a major part of the Village’s operation and have to be staffed accordingly.

Should any part of Weston’s budget be shielded from cuts, if so, which area?

The Police, Fire, and Public Works Departments cannot have their budgets cut. If we cut the budget in any of these departments, we compromise the services provided and the safety of the community.

What is the most promising thing happening in Weston right now?

Three come to mind. First, the implementation of high-speed internet provided by TDS Telecom Services. Second, the Municipal Center. The Center will be a modern facility to meet today’s high technology requirements and future needs. Lastly, the housing development continues to be active, bringing more families to the community.

What is the most important thing for Weston right now: Building new homes and commercial spaces, or revitalizing existing homes and storefronts?

In my opinion, it is revitalizing existing homes and storefronts. We have vacant commercial space on Schofield Avenue which needs to be revitalized. In doing so, the area would become more attractive and accessible to the Village’s residents, neighboring communities, and visitors.

Where do the biggest threats to Weston’s financial stability lie, and what should be done about them?

The Tax Incremental Financial (TIF) district. If this district fails or closes too early, it will have great financial impact on the Village. We should promote the TIF district and bring new businesses to the Village. Also, Weston’s board needs to monitor its debt continuously. The board should consult with a financial advisor to make sure the Village has the lowest possible interest rate and that payments are made on time.

What specifically, will you do to improve the quality of life for people in Weston?

The Village has agreed with TDS Telecom Services to provide high-speed fiber optic capabilities for the Village residents. This will help bring our area into the 21st century by helping to promote our businesses and educational facilities. As a village, we need to keep our capital assets in good condition. We need a new municipal building and our roads need improvement so there is not a repeat of last year’s spring flooding. We should provide the best police, fire, and ambulance services possible to the Village. Further, we need to ensure good quality water for the Village residents by building a water treatment plant and sharing it with other municipalities. We, as a board, need to find ways to accomplish these tasks that bring about better quality of life to our residents and we need to do this in a way that provides good services with low taxes.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process?

The board records all meetings. These recordings are made available to the public through the Village of Weston’s website or through the public television channel. We encourage the public, if they are interested, to come to the meetings where they have the ability, as part of the agenda, to speak their mind or question the board. I will also make it priority to inform the Weston residents on the “Nextdoor” app and Facebook. Residents can also communicate with me by email: hzeyghami@westonwi.gov or check out the Village news via its website: www.westonwi.gov

The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in unprecedented changes to the lives of residents in our area. What do you see as the role of the board in comforting, informing, and keeping residents safe during this crisis?

By emphasizing and promoting what we are being told by our health advisors and experts, we as a board can help residents get the relevant information that they need during this crucial time. We can inform the Weston residents via our newsletter, e-newsletter, and television/radio action coming from the state about social activity or any health-related issues that affect our community.

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Investigative journalist, music enthusiast, blogger, animal lover, kayaker, knitter, wife, mother.