Communication is a key issue for all three candidates for two seats on the Dayton Town Board.
Incumbent supervisors Bruce Golding and Glen Newsome and challenger Lee Schroeder will be on the Dayton ballot April 2.
They all attributed much of the ongoing controversies in Dayton to inadequate communication between town officials and town residents.
“The trees on West Spencer Lake Road were cut down to try and get more parking space for the boat landing. They were 100 percent on town property,” Newsome said, regarding a controversy which drew more than 100 people to a December 2012 town board meeting.
Newsome said the problem was communication, rather than the trees themselves.
“We should have communicated better with the residents,” Newsome said.
“I believe they’re cutting down way too many trees,” according to Schroeder, who supports more modest maintenance projects at town boat landings.
Schroeder said the town should meet with residents who will be most impacted and discuss plans to cut down trees in advance of the project.
“I think there has to be a better way to inform the constituents about the projects we do,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder said he supports producing a town newsletter as one way to keep residents informed.
Both Golding and Newsome said they are currently going door-to-door as part of their efforts to be re-elected.
“I take a notepad with me and if someone has a concern or a question, I write it down, along with their name and phone number. If I don’t have the answer, I will work on finding it until I do have the answer,” Newsome said.
Golding noted he is in regular communication with town residents.
Estimating that he spends up to 40 hours a month on town business, Golding said in addition to meetings, he speaks to residents nearly every day about town matters, either over the phone or on the street.
Schroeder said he believes the issue of communication should begin with the board meetings. He said as supervisor, he would spend more time questioning some of Town Chair Chris Klein’s proposals.
“I think there is some rubber-stamping going on,” Schroeder said. “Even if you agree with what Chris is proposing, a town supervisor should be asking questions.”
Schroeder said if supervisors asked more questions at town board meetings, it would help not only the supervisors be better informed, but also the residents who attend the meetings.
“I haven’t voted against Chris Klein a lot, because he has knowledge of the issues and puts the interests of the town’s residents first,” Golding said. “We usually thrash out the issues on the Planning Commission before we send them to the board.”
Newsome described Klein as “a visionary.”
“Chris can see things as they are coming,” Newsome said, adding, “You have to have confidence in your leaders.”
When asked about the formation of the Little Hope Lake District, all three candidates supported it.
The lake district was formed after the state Department of Natural Resources ordered the Little Hope dam to be removed.
“Little Hope is part of the town’s legacy and it’s part of our green space,” said Golding, who has lived near the Little Hope dam for more than 60 years. “Since they took out the dam, the mill pond is gone and the tourist attraction is gone.”
Golding said people who own property along the Little Hope pond have seen their shorelines turn into muck.
“There are now islands of muck in the Crystal River that go all the way downstream into Lind and as far as Evans Road in Waupaca,” Golding said. “All the little pools where there used to be trout are now filled with mud. It is becoming an eyesore.”
Newsome, who is a semi-retired dairy farmer and lifelong Dayton resident, said he has traveled on the road past the Little Hope dam nearly every day of his life.
“My grandfather used to work at the Red Mill,” Newsome said. “I support the lake district because it will give us a seat at the table with the DNR and the county.”
“I think it was handled OK,” Schroeder said regarding the lake district. “The people who live around Little Hope have a vested interest in what’s going on with the dam. I think they did the right thing.”
Schroeder, who has lived in the area for about eight years, said he was interested in ensuring that the town board and town residents had input in any future project involving County Road K.
“I know it’s mostly a county project, but I think a lot of residents would like to have a walking trail along K,” Schroeder said.
When asked where the town should focus its future efforts, Newsome said, “Keep maintaining the roads.”
“Every year, we get together with a county highway employee and inspect every mile of road,” Newsome said.
He noted that the annual inspection is necessary to receive state transportation funding. It also helps the town board determine which roads are most in need of work.
Golding said the town is planning to rebuild the intersection at Old 22 and Barlow Street in Rural.
“The town of Dayton has some of the best maintained roads in the county,” Golding said.