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For nearly 30 years I’ve lived in the greater Wausau area. The past 10 years have been spent as a Village of Weston resident. I’ve watched this community evolve through the good times as well as the bad. The Village of Weston has grown from a bedroom community to become the second largest community in Marathon County with significant additional growth expected over the next few decades. However, with that growth comes needs. The job of our elected officials is to manage and prioritize those needs.
The Village of Weston is currently planning to upgrade the municipal center with a brand new building at the corner of Ross Ave and Camp Phillips Rd. While I applaud the village board for the forward thinking, this building will also come with a huge price tag of nearly $15 million dollars that would be funded through an increase on every resident’s taxes. I have yet to speak to a single community member that has been in favor of this undertaking by the village.
Mort McBain, member of the building committee formed to provide oversight for this project told village board members at a December 21st meeting “If the project does not need a referendum, then you shouldn’t do it. The public does not understand the need for this project.” Barb Ermeling then stated that she would not support a referendum and asked “what would the village do if this project were voted down?” Is she afraid of pushing this to a referendum because she knows it will get voted down? If the village residents don’t want this project shouldn’t the board then be exploring other options to address the village’s needs?
Furthermore, at a February 15th trustee meeting a contract amendment was proposed for the municipal facility design that would give Kueny Architects, LLC an additional $4000.00 for the design of a second heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system to give the village alternate options. The amendment passed 5-2 with Mark Maloney and Jon Ziegler being the sole votes against it. There was little discussion. This comes after a number of amenities were cut from the building design process with zero deduction on the bid price from Kueny Architects for the removal of those items.
I see $521,000 for a building design as a lot of money, a request for another $4000 after numerous design elements were removed seems petty and like nothing more than a money grab. Aren’t our trustees supposed to be the voice of reasoning for our village tax dollars and ensure they are spent responsibly?
If elected as a Village of Weston Trustee, I will be that voice for you. It seems that a few of our local leaders have forgotten that they represent those who elected them to their positions. If elected on April 6th I can promise you that I will do my part to hold our local government responsible and accountable for the manner in which our taxpayer dollars are spent. I’m asking for your vote on April 6th.
Steve Cronin, Weston
Steve Cronin is a local business owner and a member of the Weston Plan Commission as well as a village of Weston Board of Trustees candidate.