Wausau Pilot & Review asked all candidates in contested races to answer a series of questions, some of which were submitted by readers. The election is April 5, 2022.

In Kronenwetter, six candidates are vying for three seats. The winners will each serve two-year terms. All candidates were invited to participate. Incumbents are listed first, followed by challengers – each group in alphabetical order. Avoid scrolling by clicking here to jump to the challenger section directly.

Read their unedited answers below:

Incumbents

Ken Charneski

Occupation: off-and-on retired

Prior political experience, if any: 4 years as Kronenwetter trustee, currently in office.

If elected, what three steps would you take to put Kronenwetter on firmer financial footing?

In October of 2020, I discovered that neither our (then) treasurer or our Village Administrator had notified the Board that 6 of our 9 bond issues were callable and available for refinancing or payoff. We were still paying 3-5% interest, when the current rates were about 1%. Those two employees seemed unconcerned about this, so I drew up some charts that I presented to the Village Board showing how much money had already been lost, and I insisted that we update our debt through payoffs and refinancing at the very low rates. Long story short — the Village Board agreed and went along with the idea, and the resulting savings ended up to be so great that it had a major impact in causing our 20% tax rate reduction, down to 3.75%. We are in pretty good shape financially, and will be better yet in a few years with the power plant expansion.

Of course, the unnecessary expenses always need to be eliminated.

I would also like to see an evaluation of our village office organization to improve efficiency and cost reduction.

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

A couple of years ago, I suggested to the Board some kind of “town hall meeting” type of events where the public can participate. They were not too keen on that.

I recently suggested that 3-4 times a year, we try to all show up at a social event or location where the public is notified that we will be there, so they can talk to any or all the Village Board in a casual setting. Since these would not be a village function or “meeting”, we agreed that we will do this upon a mutual agreement from now on.

I have been a strong proponent of strengthening our committee system which by ordinance includes a majority of citizens on each committee. I submitted a draft of the updated ordinance which better defined, expandied, and protected committee duties, which had previously been encroached upon by the Administrator.

I have continually let residents know that my emails are available for the asking, and invite citizen input. I just recently set up a basic website — kencharneski.blogspot.com — as a means to communicate current issues and happenings to the public.

I am working on a village policy for out CLIPP committee to oversee all citizen complaints and make sure they are not left unaddressed or neglected.

The metro area is unique because it has several police and fire agencies operating independently. What are your thoughts on merging services? Is that a viable option?

No; not at all. I prefer the idea of local cops on a local beat that to some extent get to know and understand the residents. I don’t want to trade our officers for anyone else. Accountability is also kept closer to home.

Ditto on the Fire Department.

If someone came to you with a proposal to build a new development, how would you evaluate whether or not that project is worth implementing?

The first consideration is on how ia new development will impact people who already live here. I do not necessarily support growth just for growth’s sake, or even for additional tax money, if it negatively impacts those who were here first. People seem to think that the more growth, the less taxes everyone pays. I have not seen convincing evidence of that.

What is the best example of something Kronenwetter does well?

Public works, Fire Dept, and police dept all range anywhere from “excellent” to “outstanding”. All three departments are frugal, and level-headed with their spending as well. I appreciate that.

What are the top three challenges you see Kronenwetter facing in the next four years?

Financial transparency has recently become an area that needs to be addressed.

Certainly the tap water has been an issue for many years, but that is finally in the process of being resolved.

Storm/surface water is an issue in some areas, but the whole process has been administratively mishandled and bogged down almost to the point of being back to square one with that. As mentioned earlier, I think the office organization could be streamlined.

What else would you like voters to know about you?

I have been a strong advocate for the taxpayers, and protecting the rights of the people. I have worked diligently for improvement in honesty and accountability in Village Government, as well as debt and tax reduction.

Considering that in the first 3 years I was a minority of one, I think the results have been remarkable. Still more to come though.

My campaign email is charneski21@gmail.com, and a few postings at kencharneski.blogspot.com


Jason Holmes, 34

Occupation: Maintenance Technician at Northcentral Technical College

Prior political experience, if any: Village of Kronenwetter Trustee since 2015

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

I encourage Village residents participation through public comment  at board meetings as well as through my posted contact information. I attend village events with my family in order to be available to the residents for any questions or concerns.

What are your thoughts on merging services? Is that a viable option?

The metro area is unique because it has several police and fire agencies operating independently. It’s something that has to be studied further.  

If someone came to you with a proposal to build a new development, how would you evaluate whether or not that project is worth implementing?

A new development needs to be evaluated on many levels, not only the benefit to Kronenwetter through an increased tax base but also the cost of infrastructure to the village—water, sewer costs, increased population resulting in increased services for police and fire. This decision must be thoroughly discussed by various village committees such as the Properties and Infrastructure Committee, Utility committee and Community Life and Public Safety Committee prior to the village board’s recommendation.

What is the best example of something Kronenwetter does well?

I think the Village of Kronenwetter excels at providing a safe and affordable community for people to live.

What are the top three challenges you see Kronenwetter facing in the next four years?

The top four issues facing The Village of Kronenwetter in the upcoming years are water/sewer infrastructure, ground water management, emergency services and management of developing properties.

What else would you like voters to know about you?

 I am running for reelection to the Village board because I believe that serving your community is important. I want to not only tell my children but show them the actions speak louder than words and there is no better action than helping others. Being a part of the village board is not about us as individuals and our issues but rather issues of the community and how we work together to solve those issues in a civil,  practical and professional manner


Challengers

Danielle Bergman, 33

Danielle Bergmann

Occupation: Manufacturing Office Team Lead

Prior political experience, if any:  

No political experience, but did represent my community as Marathon Fun Days Queen, and have volunteered at local establishments such as Greenheck Field House.

If elected, what three steps would you take to put Kronenwetter on firmer financial footing?

  • Learn the budget and understand the debts.
  • Assess ways of cutting costs.
  • Ensure future purchases are as cost efficient as possible.

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

Give everyone a voice. Encourage engagement and participation at Village meetings.

Utilize and value the talent of all residents and put forward their views, ideas and opinions to influence decisions.

The metro area is unique because it has several police and fire agencies operating independently. What are your thoughts on merging services? Is that a viable option?

The narratives constructed around merging these regardless of their size and location, all share common features. Cost, quality, and staffing. The challenges of volunteer and EMS departments are well-known: funding, staffing, recruitment and retention, equipment, training and so many more. There could be an opportunity for us to come together and further strengthen long-standing local presence, just as there are other shared services in the Kronenwetter area, but ultimately it would have to make sense for all operating agencies involved.

What is the best example of something Kronenwetter does well?

With a small variety of commercial and industrial businesses but a large amount of residential, we continue to maintain a suburban environment which is a more relaxed pace of life, easier to make connections, and all around a peaceful place to call home.

What are the top three challenges you see Kronenwetter facing in the next four years?

  • Staying within yearly budget 
  • Water quality
  • Full time employee retention of village staff

What else would you like voters to know about you?

A great role model of mine told me to “get involved in your community. The more you know, the better you will be in life.”

A lifelong Central Wisconsin resident, I have realized my goal of home ownership here in wonderful Kronenwetter. I appreciate the quiet residential area, the safety of the streets, and the great people who live and work here. It’s a very friendly area and I want to preserve this high quality of life in this beautiful place. I am passionate about working as a team to establish a shared vision for the future, develop goals and plans that make the future possible, and then enforce those established goals and plans that ultimately lead to accomplishment. I would appreciate your vote on April 5th to gain a seat as trustee to help me learn, grow, and represent a place I love. DB FOR TRUSTEE!


Tami Bloch, 50

Tami Bloch

Occupation: Maintenance Coordinator

Prior political experience, if any: None, I’ve followed politics, and I’ve voted but never been involved in an elected position.

If elected, what three steps would you take to put Kronenwetter on firmer financial footing?

I am a naturally fiscally responsible human. I also pay attention to detail. I would love the chance to read and research where and why the money is being spent. Are the best options being offered? Items presented must be scrutinized, and reviewed as if it’s my money being spent, which it really is. It is also the voters’ money which I would represent, and being fiscally responsible I would never lose sight of that. The three steps; research, attention to detail and scrutiny. 

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

There was an item brought to the board to update the village website. Which I thought was a wonderful idea depending on the cost of course. The issue with the current website is it’s difficult to navigate and everything is a ridiculous amount of clicks to find anything. Not to mention that the board meeting agendas, minutes and committee packets are so large and full of information that the average everyday voter has to devote a lot of time to find and read through all the additional information to find what it is they are interested in. There is always the NextDoor neighbor app, but there is so much from other areas and cities it’s easy to get overwhelmed there too. A board member had been sending out an email to update interested people, which I thought was a great idea, although an enormous amount of work. I think in a great move of open and transparent information that the village could in the monthly newsletter, or on the website have a bullet point review of the village board meetings and committee projects. This would be a great place to inform voters. Just an idea I have been marinating on.

The metro area is unique because it has several police and fire agencies operating independently. What are your thoughts on merging services? Is that a viable option?

Kronenwetter is just over a month into a contract with Riverside and so far everyone is pleased with the assistance from them. The biggest obstacle that Kronenwetter faces relying solely on merged services is the fact that the village is so large. Kronenwetter is the largest village by land in not just Wisconsin but the entire United States. So that in itself is not just a logistical nightmare but a very serious safety concern.

If someone came to you with a proposal to build a new development, how would you evaluate whether or not that project is worth implementing?

I would think all proposals should be routed through the proper channels for review, evaluation and implementation. Including getting input from a public vote depending on the village rules, guidance and ordinances.

What is the best example of something Kronenwetter does well?

We are a great family orientated village. Great neighborhoods and awesome cozy subdivisions that families feel comfortable and safe in.

What are the top three challenges you see Kronenwetter facing in the next four years?

I think the biggest known issue right now due to media attention is the water quality. Kronenwetter has had a high level of manganese for many years and now there are other local municipalities that have high PFA issues. Kronenwetter was voting on testing for the PFA’s. I think this is a huge issue for our residents, and since I actually drink the water, it’s a big concern for me as well. Kronenwetter also has a lot of storm water/ high groundwater issues that affects many of the residents, and can be extremely expensive. This has always been something I have been concerned about, along with being involved way back to 2013. I would like to see accountability in my local board, why have the water issues been allowed or not pushed to be corrected? Or un-addressed for so many years? Let’s roll up our sleeves and get our water safe and clean. The three issues, drinking water, high stormwater/rainwater and accountability. 

What else would you like voters to know about you?

I have been telling my husband for years that we need to get involved in our local government. The big elections get all the attention, but local elections matter to our everyday lives just as much. So here I am trying my best to jump in, get involved and learn as I go. I have lived in Kronewetter for 23 years, it’s a beautiful village with endless potential and I want to help the people of Kronenwetter feel they have a voice within the village board.


Timothy J. Shaw

Tim Shaw

Occupation: Chiropractor and Business Management

Prior political experience, if any: Prior chairman of the Legislative Committee for the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association

If elected, what three steps would you take to put Kronenwetter on firmer financial footing?

First of all, the questions assumes that the village is not on firm financial footing, which I’m not completely sure is true. My understanding is that, with the village refinancing that was initiated and lead by Trustee Charneski, the village is on relatively good financial footing. That said, I would look to do the following to improve, or help maintain, a firm financial footing for the village.

  • 1. Review the policies and systems that are currently in place to get a feel for what would be a likely course for streamlining those policies and/or systems to make them most cost effective.
  • 2. Make sure that decisions are being made that are fiscally responsible and really necessary for the residents of the village.
  • 3. Look to cut costs, at any level, that are appropriate and do not reduce the safety, or quality of living for the village residents.

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

I would have an open dialogue via email and/or another existing village process, allowing input from residents on current topics. I would strive for a process to keep residents updated on current events that would warrant their input. The metro area is unique because it has several police and fire agencies operating independently.

What are your thoughts on merging services?

There is no question that merging publicly funded entities is being done all over the country to help manage costs and make budgets more attainable without raising taxes, or keeping tax increases to a minimum. I’m certainly not opposed to the concept however, I would need to be convinced that such a move would be in the best interest of the village and it’s residents. Is that a viable option? There is no way to answer this question without some type of cost benefit analysis, which I would support, if the topic of merging agencies becomes relevant.

If someone came to you with a proposal to build a new development, how would you evaluate whether or not that project is worth implementing?

First of all, the question is a bit vague, as it doesn’t describe the type of development. A development could be several different types…Housing, Business etc. That said, I can appreciate the intent of the question. A cost benefit analysis would be appropriate, as long as the the “development” fell within the parameters of the village’s development plan. That analysis would have to keep the best interest of the residents in mind, and not be financially burdensome on the village or the residents to gain my support.

What is the best example of something Kronenwetter does well?

The police, emergency response and highway departments are very well organized and implemented in the village as far as I’m concerned. With that in mind, I’ll go on record to say that I’m not at all a fan of de-funding law enforcement departments, as is apparently happening in many areas around the country.

What are the top three challenges you see Kronenwetter facing in the next four years?

  • 1. Water quality.
  • 2. Cost containment, at all levels.
  • 3. Maintaining quality employees with the current employment environment.

What else would you like voters to know about you?

I am a conservative and am dedicated to the best possible environment, at all levels, for the residents of the Village of Kronenwetter. I am a doer, and I’m not a yes man. I’m not at all afraid to confront other Trustees, or the administration, if I think there is something being proposed that is not in the best interest of the village and/or the residents of the village. Thanks all for considering me as a candidate to represent you as one of the Village Trustees.


Jordyn Wadle-Leff: Did not respond to multiple emails inviting him to participate and did not submit answers.