Four citizens are in the race for two seats on the Dayton Town Board.
Two incumbents – Bruce Golding and Lee Schroeder – will face two challengers – Sandy Bernd and Glen Newsome – in the April 5 spring election.
A lifelong Dayton resident, Bruce Golding was appointed to the town board about three years ago after then town Chairman Harry Thoms died. He was then elected to the seat in 2009.
“I enjoy doing the job. I like helping people and I think I can make a difference,” Golding said. “When I was out campaigning last time, I helped a few people solve their problems.”
Golding has worked for the Waupaca County Highway Department for more than 40 years. He believes his experience gives him a broad understanding of the most expensive line item on any town’s budget: roads.
Each year, board members tour the township, examining the roads and determining where to focus road maintenance dollars.
“I’ve patched roads, plowed snow and made signs,” Golding said. “I know what should be done, whether a road needs seal-coating versus black-topping.”
Golding said he began going to town board meetings as a private citizen.
“It would be nice if more people would come to the monthly meetings. Unless something pertains to them, only six or eight people show up,” Golding said.
He noted that one of his roles as a town board member is to let people know upcoming decisions that may impact them. He points to county discussions about removing the Little Hope dam.
“There’s a lot of people who live there who will be affected,” Golding said.
Golding said the town of Dayton owns about half a dozen properties that he would like to see developed into small parks. He also wants to encourage town residents to use the town parks that are there.
“When I campaigned last time, about 50 percent or better of the people I talked to had no idea there was a park on Lake Solitude,” Golding said.
When asked about the streetlights in the village of Rural, Golding said he was against turning them off.
“I’m more for the safety of the people and I don’t think money should be the only thing we look at,” Golding said.
Golding also serves as Dayton’s representative on Waupaca’s Park and Recreation Committee and on the Recycling Committee.
Lee Schroeder had lived on Rural Road in Dayton only a few months when he first became involved in the town government about 5 1/2 years.
The former Neenah firefighter had moved to the area after taking a job as a custodian at the Wisconsin Veterans Home.
“I was on the side of the road with my daughter and my son when a car flew right by us,” Schroeder said. “When we moved here, the speed limit on Rural Road was 55 miles per hour.”
Schroeder noted that local residents and tourists walk and bike along the scenic route between State Highway 22 and County Road K.
Schroeder then contacted Harry Thoms, who was the town chairman at that time, and asked if the speed limit could be lowered to 35 mph. Schroeder recalled that Thoms said the town could not afford a traffic study.
Schroeder then contacted his brother, state Rep. Jay Schroeder, who helped convince the Department of Transportation to conduct a traffic study on Rural Road at no cost to the town of Dayton. The study indicated the need for a lower speed limit.
“Now, the speed limit is 35 mph,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder was considered as a possible town board member after Harry Thoms died in August 2007. Golding was given the interim appointment, but when town supervisor Ken Hurlbut died in January 2008 Schroeder was appointed to replace him on the board.
In the town election of 2009, there was a four-way race for two supervisory seats. The election was unusual in that two of the candidates for town chairman – Jim Peglow and Tim Rau – were also candidates for supervisor. Peglow won the chairman’s race and came in second for supervisor. Rau came in third. At a subsequent meeting, town officials voted for Schroeder rather than Rau to fill Peglow’s seat.
As a town supervisor, Schroeder has been active in organizing volunteers and pursuing grants to help clean up the town of Dayton and the Crystal River.
Schroeder said the town received a $2,900 grant that paid for several port-a-potties at boat launches on the Chain and at a little park on the Crystal River.
Regarding the streetlights, Schroeder said there are more than 40 lights and he believes some of them could be eliminated. He said the town board began reviewing the issue after receiving calls from residents who did not want the lights on near their homes.
“Some of those lights are on county roads and should be paid for by the county. Some of them should be paid for by the state,” Schroeder said.
A lifelong Dayton resident, Glen Newsome is a third-generation farmer who has served on the town’s Planning Commission for about three years.
“I want to ensure the responsible spending of tax dollars in the town of Dayton, to work with the other board members and to carry the concerns of town residents to the board in a responsible manner,” Newsome said, explaining why he was seeking to be elected to the board.
Newsome said he became involved in the town’s planning commission because he wanted to “ensure fairness for all property owners while protecting farmland and allowing for development in designated areas.
“Although the comprehensive plan is state-mandated, it is the responsibility of the townships to coordinate development and green space for the future,” he said.
Newsome co-owns with his uncle more than 500 acres of land, of which more than 100 acres are irrigated and more than 200 are actively used for farming. He said he wants to protect farmland while allowing property owners the choice to develop marginal land, noting that his land is also his retirement plan.
In 2010, the town board discussed eliminating some of the streetlights in the village of Rural as a way to cut expenses. Newsome said he probably would have voted to keep the lights on for public safety, “But I think there should be some way for the residents who benefit directly from the lights to contribute more toward their operation.”
Newsome said that he pays to operate two vapor lights on his farm.
He also sees being on the town board as way to take on a growing amount of responsibility as a citizen of Dayton.
“If I’m ever going to consider running for the town chairman’s position, I feel I need more experience as a board member,” Newsome said.
Sandy Bernd moved to the town of Dayton 24 years ago. She is a Chain O’ Lakes resident and manages a horse farm with her parents.
She is currently serving her second year as chairwoman of the Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes District, which is the governing body on the Chain. Bernd has also been a member of the Chain O’ Lakes Association, which represents homeowners on the Chain.
“I have a real interest in recreational, rural and agricultural areas,” Bernd said, noting that she has a degree in agriculture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been involved in horse-related organizations.
Bernd said she is running because she wants consistency and unity in town government.
“Local government is the start of grass roots, as you will, of voices being heard, differences made,” she said.
Bernd said she supports keeping the streetlights on in the village of Rural because she was concerned about the safety of the residents and visitors to the area, and because of potential liability if the town decided to eliminate the lights.