Clintonville voters will choose between incumbent Lois Bressette and challenger Greg Rose in District 4 on the April 2 ballot.
Newcomer Jolene Van Beek will run unopposed to an open seat in District 2, as current Alderperson Joe Lamia is not seeking re-election.
Alderperson John Wilson submitted non-candidacy papers in District 3. Jerry Jorgenson, who was appointed to a council seat in September of 2008 and then elected for a two-year term in 2009, has returned papers and will seek election to the seat being vacated by Wilson.
Incumbent Bill Zeinert will seek re-election in District 1. Incumbent Mark Doornink will seek re-election in District 5.
Surveys were sent to each candidate. Responses from Bressette and Rose are listed below, as they are running in the only contested race. Responses from Jolene Van Beek are also listed below. Though she is not running a contested race, she is new to the council; therefore her responses are included as well.
Please tell us about your background and why you are interested in running for office.
Bressette: I am currently an alderperson, elected in 2011. I serve on six city committees, and am a small business owner. I have been a Clintonville resident and homeowner for 9.5 years. I am running for re-election because I want to contribute to building a better community by applying my skills in public policy development, leadership and human resources. Serving my community through political leadership has been a thoughtful long- term goal of mine. It influenced my decision to earn a Master of Public Administration degree and pursue advanced leadership training. I have abundant experience in coalition building and policy development. I believe this experience will help me serve my community well as we grow and move forward.
Rose: Clintonville became my home in 2003, when I accepted a science teaching position at Clintonville High School, after I received my bachelor’s degree (and later my master’s degree) in secondary education from Northern Michigan University. I was newly married and ready to begin the next step in life in Clintonville. We immediately purchased a home on Brix Street, and over the course of the last decade have been raising our four children there. While in Clintonville, I’ve worked with numerous youth and adult organizations, helping out where I can to make our city a better place to live, work, and play. I’m interested in running for office because I feel that I understand the wants and needs of the local community. As a reporter for my wife’s newspaper, the Clintonville Chronicle, I have attended and written about countless public meetings. Whether it is a village board, school board, township, or city council, I’ve witnessed local government in action and see the need of the public’s input in the decision making process. Growing up, I learned about my civic duties through the Boy Scout program, where I earned my Eagle Scout. The organization taught me how to be a contributing member of society, and I feel that now is my calling to this level of involvement for the benefit to my fellow neighbors here in Clintonville. This community will one day belong to my own four children and I want to give them the best that I can.
Van Beek: I grew up in rural Clintonville and graduated from Clintonville Sr. High School. I then served ten years active-duty in the U.S. Air Force as a Broadcast Journalist and Public Affairs Specialist. I have an Associate’s Degree in Public Affairs, and in the fall, I am planning on finishing up my last semester of classes to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. I moved back to Clintonville 12 years ago with my husband and 3 sons because I felt it would be a perfect place to raise my family. I currently own my own Mobile DJ business, so my work schedule will allow me to be available for meetings. I really want to give back to the community, and want to make a difference. I think Clintonville is a wonderful city, and I am excited to see even more great things happen in our future.
What areas of the city budget do you think should be looked at when considering future budget reductions?
Bressette: I prefer to find ways to complete tasks and provide services more efficiently rather than completely cutting services. Invest in modern technology to become more efficient. Explore ways for multiple city departments to collaborate while providing services more efficiently.
Rose: Let me preface this question by stating that I believe that shutting off dozens upon dozens of the city’s street lights to save money was a mistake. There are many ways to balance a budget, but that decision was not in the best interest of the city’s residents. Taxpayers such as myself look for value in our tax dollars. Yet I’ve seen services (and lights) cut ever since moving here. First it was curbside garbage pick-up. Now it is street lights, and who knows what’s next? As for my suggestions on how to cut the budget, I would take the approach that I’ve witnessed the school district do over the last decade. You have to start with your workforce, because they are hefty part of the total budget. The school has dozens of fewer teachers and support staff now than they did when I began there ten years ago. Where did they go? Some moved, some retired, and a few were eliminated. When they moved on, their position was consolidated and not refilled. That is a huge cost saver. Granted, workers that remain have to do more with less, but that is the way the world works right now. The city’s population has dropped around four percent over the last decade; likewise the city’s public workforce should also shrink accordingly. Other, smaller department budgets can be cut by a few percent if necessary, but the absolute last resort is cutting public services that the residents depend on and pay their hard-earned tax dollars for.
Van Beek: My goal would be to find ways to continue the services we have by being creative. I’m really hoping we won’t have to cut things. It would be great to become more efficient at the things we do today.
In what ways do you think the municipality could collaborate with neighboring municipalities to effectively share resources and services?
Bressette: The city is already doing a great job with collaborating to achieve savings and improve services, for example: Ambulance; Fire; CAWS; Library and Tourism. I fully support further collaborative efforts as opportunities arise. Currently, the city shares in the cost of the Police School Liaison Officer and Crossing Guards. I would like to see more collaboration between the schools and the City Parks and Recreation Department. This has the potential to improve services and reduce costs.
Rose: We currently have a number of entities in the Clintonville area that share resources, (both financial and labor) such as the ambulance service, CAWS, and the municipal court. These are examples of systems that are in place that work, where communities such as Manawa or townships such as Matteson have proven that they can work together for a common benefit to all. I’m sure that the City of Clintonville can find new ways to team up with Marion, New London, and Shawano in a similar fashion to share resources such as vehicles, electrical or heavy equipment, or staff who possess specific skills such as lineman, mechanics, or CPAs, should the need arise.
Van Beek: In looking at current City Government, there are many things we currently do with our neighbors, like the Ambulance, Fire Department, and CAWS. If other consolidations or collaborative efforts are brought before the Council I would be in favor, if the service is good for Clintonville.
What types of incentives, if any, would you support to either assist current businesses and residents, or attract potential new businesses and residents to the city?
Bressette: I support our current use of TIF incentives and Revolving Loans. These programs have been highly effective, especially when we compare Clintonville to other municipalities within Waupaca County and across the State. Further, it is critical to continue to support the City Administrator and County Economic Development Director in pursuing state programs that have the potential to attract new businesses. The state has significant control over what a community can legally do, so I support efforts to work with our state elected officials to pursue more options that municipalities can utilize as incentives.
Rose: We need to find solutions to attract new businesses here. We have an excellent industrial park, and we need to showcase its potential to outside manufacturing companies and business start-ups. The incentives that are already in place are sufficient (including revolving loan funds, TIF’s, and CDBG grants), but they need to be promoted in a fair and consistent manner. I’m aware of some small business startups that received absolutely no support from the city while others do get support readily. There are too many buddy-buddy deals and not enough equality when it comes to how funds are distributed. We also need to find ways to attract new residents. Clintonville offers many good paying jobs, both public and private, and yet many of these employed people commute here from elsewhere. This is a siphoning of Clintonville’s financial and intellectual capital. We need to plan a city that is inviting for young families to move to. We need to provide incentives for people to buy a home in Clintonville, beyond just the inexpensive housing. They want green space, culture, park and recreation activities, and opportunities for their children. We don’t have enough of that.
Van Beek: I support current use of the Revolving Loan and TIF programs. If other incentives are permitted by law I would support those too.
Why should people elect you?
Bressette: I have the time and the passion to dedicate to the position of City Alderperson. I am willing to listen, learn, and do the research necessary to make decisions that are best for the city and its citizens overall. I have experience as an elected official. My educational and work experience is strong and relevant. I have a positive view of our city and I believe Clintonville has a bright future.
Rose: Clintonville’s residents should elect me because I am looking out for them and their interests. I am an honest, personable, and trustworthy person. I plan to communicate regularly with my constituents through phone calls, home visits, and both social and news media. I will work to keep our government open and honest, and provide some much-needed checks and balances to the decision making process that goes on in City Hall. I am not seeking election to appease the opinions of the elite, but rather to give a voice to the hard-working people that live in Clintonville.
Van Beek: I am a newcomer to local government. I have fresh ideas, and a willingness to serve the citizens of my district.