A Feb. 18 primary will determine who will be the two candidates this spring for the Ward 2 seat on the Weyauwega Common Council.
Seeking the position are first-time candidate Shani Appleby, former mayor Donald Morgan and former alderman Jack Spierings.
Ald. Donna Allenstein is not seeking re-election. The two people who receive the most votes on Feb. 18 will be on the ballot in the April 1 election.
Appleby was born and raised in Weyauwega. She works part time for the city, cleaning City Hall. For more than 10 years, she worked in the nursing field as a Certified Nursing Assistant.
Morgan was born and raised in Poy Sippi. He has lived in Weyauwega since 1967. Retired since 2007, he was a city alderman for 15 years and mayor six years. He is serving his second term on the Waupaca County Board.
Spierings is a native of Little Chute. A city resident since 1978, he is retired and drives truck part time for Larsen Co-op. He resigned during his third term on the council. St. Peter Lutheran Church purchased his property, and he moved out of the district he represented.
Role of alderperson
Appleby believes the role of an alderperson is to be a voice and speak for “everybody in your ward.” She also sees it as giving a different perspective and being someone people feel they can approach and talk to about their opinions.
Morgan says, “Alderpersons are policy setters. They establish policy.” Alderpersons represent their districts and are also part of a team which works to promote and move the city forward.
Spierings said the role of an alderperson is “know the wishes of the constituents and construtively bring them to the council, so issues can be taken care of in a timely manner in which all facets will be satisfied. The position has to be transparent, so people know what’s going on and to be able to keep people informed of the issues.”
Morgan said he knows how to develop a business, having done so after buying a service station and building the business.
He also has 21 years of local government experience.
“I believe strongly that experience does have a value,” he said. “I understand budgets. I understand financing. I did a lot of it. I understand expansion, borrowing money. That is a resource I can draw on.”
Morgan said his experience in financing and operating a business would be an asset in working under City Administrator Patrick Wetzel.
Spierings said his past experiences and leadership roles include being a member of the Weyauwega Industrial Development Corporation and being a member of Weyauwega’s fire department for almost 30 years.
He has experience dealing with people and problems in different areas.
“I worked 20-plus years in sales and management, dealing with people – a lifetime of experience,” Spierings said.
Appleby said as a CNA and now a Girl Scout leader, she has worked with a variety of people.
“I get along with everyone,” she said. “I know how to handle situations that are thrown at me. Over the years, especially with Girl Scouts, I’ve become very organized.”
She describes herself as a friendly person who gets along with others.
Spierings believes the city is in good shape, both financially and with its tax base.
“And, obviously, I’d like to see that continue with minimal or no tax increases,” he said. “I think the present council has a good handle on controlling taxes, with either no raises or very minimal raises.”
Appleby said the focus of the city budget should be on making the city run smoothly.
“I want things to be positive with the budget,” she said. “It’s about what’s going to help. Be positive as a whole and think of the city as a whole and what we can do to continue improving. Make the city a positive place and help it grow. That is what I want to be – that positive person looking out for the best interest of the city and helping it grow.”
Morgan said the citizens depend on the city to provide services they cannot do themselves. “The budget needs to be able to support the needs of the community. However, wants and needs are different,” he said. “Needs need to be separate from wants, especially in tough times. We also need to weed out any inefficiencies we find, look for unproductivity and use outside services.”
In regard to the expansion and remodeling of City Hall and the police department, Appleby said, “I’m for it.”
She said safety is an issue throughout the country, and the buiding needs to be accessible to everyone.
A community room would be used by many people and groups, she said.
Appleby would want any project to keep the feel of the community.
Morgan said, “I trust the council to know what’s in the best interest of the city and to use everything in their ability to meet those needs. I think they’re moving forward, and they’re doing it in a professional way. I trust the council to do what’s right for the city.”
Spierings said, “The City Hall issue is a very serious issue for many reasons that the general public doesn’t understand.”
Safety, record storage and accessiblity are among them, he said.
“Some new square footage and updating are necessary,” Spierings said. “But, it also must be brought in within a reasonable budget, with the backing and understanding of the citizens, the taxpayers.”
There is a need for a community room, and city committee and council meetings should be held at City Hall, not in the basement of the library, he said.
Morgan believes the city should use social media “to let people know outside of Weyauwega what’s going on in our city.”
Weyauwega needs to be promoted as part of the “bigger picture” in Waupaca County, he said.
Morgan believes in first impressions.
“We need to first be inviting and welcoming to people. You don’t realize how many people live here because of the quality of life,” he said.
The school system, park, library and churches are part of that, he said.
“My family grew up here in Weyauwega, and I’ve always tried to promote our community,” Morgan said. “We have to be able to let people know what we can do and what we do well. The city sets the example and needs to be the leader in the community, as far as first impressions are concerned.”
If elected, he promises to use his judgment and the information available to vote in the best interest of the citizens.
Spierings said there are two major industries in the city “looking to expand in a large way, and the city should do everything within its power to encourage it and help it along so it happens and those businesses don’t end up moving elsewhere.”
He said it is important for council members, the mayor and city administrator to stay on top of industry and always be looking for new industries to fill the city’s industrial parks.
Long term, city services must stay abreast of necessary improvements so industries want to continue having Weyauwega be their place of business, Spierings said.
“People have to understand that the necessary improvements in wastewater treatment will be expensive, but in the long term, they will be of value to the city and industries,” he said.
Appleby wants to see the city and school district work together when possible.
“Do an open gym during the winter for kids. To have that as an option, I think that will speak to the younger generation,” she said.
Appleby also said more can be done to let people know about the various outdoor activities they can do in the community throughout the year.
“Bring back the ice skating rink,” she said.
There are trails in the community, and perhaps, high school students could volunteer to help organize activities for children, she said.
“If we started having things to do year around here, and businesses have things available, people will support the community instead of going elsewhere. Focus on bringing things here,” Appleby said. “I think when you become more family oriented in a city, you will attract more businesses.”
She said, “I know I have less experience than my running mates.”
Appleby believes she would bring a new perspective to the council. “I don’t want to approach anything negatively,” she said. “I want to be a positive voice.”