Town board election set for April 4
By Robert Cloud
Four candidates are running for two seats on the Dayton Town Board.
On the April 4 ballot, Dayton voters will choose from Jim Peglow, John Miller, Don Holtebeck and Jeff Barlow.
First appointed as town supervisor in 2007, Jim Peglow become Dayton’s town chair that fall due to the deaths of Harry Thoms and Ken Hurlbut. He was re-elected as chairman in 2009, then did not seek re-election two years later.
In 2014, Peglow was re-appointed to replace Lee Schroeder, who had resigned from the board.
In the 2015 Dayton Town Board election, Peglow was not re-elected.
Peglow has been a professional firefighter in Neenah-Menasha for 23 years. He was promoted to captain last year.
Originally from Minocqua, he has lived in Dayton since 2003. Previously, he lived in the town of Waupaca for about eight years.
Peglow has an associate’s degree in fire prevention technology from Fox Valley Technical College. He is currently taking online classes in emergency management with Columbia Southern University.
He is married with two sons, who attend Waupaca High School.
Peglow said he decided to leave town government after his first term as chairman because “I decided my family commitments were too important and too numerous, so I took a break from politics.”
He returned to politics this year after being approached by Dayton citizens and asked to run.
Peglow said roads represent the single largest town expenditure and the town board’s most important job.
“We need to look at the safety of the roads and the people traveling on them and maintain them in a fiscally responsible manner,” Peglow said.
Peglow said communication between the town board and Dayton citizens is important. Not only must citizens know what the board is doing, but board members should listen to the ideas offered by citizens.
He also believes board members must balance what citizens say they want with what the experts on road development, road maintenance, greenspace and park development say should be done.
Peglow said he is concerned about the county’s efforts to revamp the comprehensive plan.
“We must protect our community’s appearance and our property owner’s rights,” Peglow said.
Peglow noted some of the issues the town board must deal with include complaints about neighbors.
“People who have too many cats, as their neighbors see it, or their neighbors believe they should cut their lawns more often,” Peglow said. “We live in a township for many reasons and one reason is that you don’t have to keep up with the Joneses or have your house look like your neighbors.”
During his tenure as Dayton’s chair, Peglow’s most controversial recommendation was to remove some of the street lights in Rural in order to save money.
“My job is to take ideas on how to save money and present them,” Peglow said. “If the township likes the idea, then we implement them. If the township doesn’t like it, we don’t take it personally and we move forward.”
A native of Minneapolis, John Miller has lived in Dayton for six years.
“We’ve been property owners on the Chain for over 25 years,” Miller said.
After retirement, Miller rebuilt the house he owned on the lake.
Miller attended college at Minnesota State University in Mankato where he obtained a business degree.
Miller began working in insurance, first in the employee benefits area in sales, then in the specialty market of membership groups and professional associations.
“Lawyers, doctors, CPAs may need insurance products that they don’t get from their employers,” Miller said. “Throughout my career, I’ve dealt with all kinds of associations.”
Among his accounts, Miller worked with the American Legion.
Miller became involved in township government due to the encouragement of his neighbors.
“I wasn’t really interested in politics and I had never been involved in politics,” Miller said. “I went to a couple of meetings and decided I needed to get involved and help straighten out some of the issues that Dayton had.”
Miller was first elected to the Dayton Town Board in 2015.
“There’s a lot that I’ve learned about the government and the private sector and how controlled they are by the rules and regulations and state laws,” Miller said.
He said every action the town board takes requires an understanding of which ordinances and statutes apply.
Among the board’s accomplishments over the past two years, Miller pointed to the town’s five-year road plan, two major road projects and three bridges.
“The town of Dayton has a limited amount of funds. Unlike a business, we can’t sell more products to increase revenues because we’re in the service business,” Miller said.
Part of a town board member’s job is to work with the county and the state to obtain grants to pay for road projects.
“I don’t think any one person can do the job,” Miller said. “It’s a team effort. We all worked together and brought different attributes to the board.”
Among future goals, Miller said he wants Dayton to provide simpler financial information so that citizens can understand how their money is spent.
He also wants to encourage residents to participate in Dayton’s board and committee meetings.
“It’s important that we get more people to come and learn how the government works,” Miller said.
Don Holtebeck spent his youth in the town of Scandinavia, growing up on a dairy farm.
He graduated from the first consolidated class of Iola-Scandinavia High School in 1961, then obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he majored in history and political science.
For more than 30 years, Holtebeck worked in the insurance industry, living in Wausau, the Twin Cities, Los Angeles and Bloomington, Illinois.
He and his wife moved to Dayton in 2005, two years after he retired.
“I’ve been actively involved in the town of Dayton for the last several years,” Holtebeck said.
Holtebeck said Jane Haasch’s decision not to seek re-election was one reason he chose to run for the town board.
“I want to sustain the good government we’ve been able to enjoy and appreciate for the last couple of years,” Holtebeck said.
He said he wants the town board to focus on bringing people together and balance the interests of all of Dayton’s residents.
“As we look to the future, we should foster activities that sustain the pleasant environment we currently have while also being open to opportunities for businesses locating here,” Holtebeck said. “It starts with the careful use of tax dollars that are paid by the residents of Dayton so we can get maximum use of those dollars.”
Holtebeck pointed to the development of the Lyman Dayton Town Hall Trail in Dayton last year. The project resulted in bringing dozens of volunteers together to create two half-mile branches of mowed trail on a 13-acre parcel.
Holtebeck noted Dayton’s government must balance the interests of two distinct communities within the town: the Chain O’ Lakes area in the north and the agricultural area in the south.
“We need to make sure the development that takes place in Dayton is consistent with the nature of the township,” Holtebeck said.
He said water is one issue that will become more important in the future.
“We must balanlce the need for all citizens to have access to water and help agriculture more efficiently use that water so we can strike a positive balance,” Holtebeck said.
“I have lived here pretty much my entire life,” Jeff Barlow said.
A 1991 graduate of Waupaca High School, Barlow attended the UW-Oshkosh for two years before transferring to UW-Madison, where he earned a degree in soils science with an emphasis on turf grass management in 1995.
Barlow became an assistant golf course superintendent in 1995, then the golf course superintendent at Waupaca Country Club in 2000.
“I sit on the Wisconsin Golf Course Superintendents Board,” Barlow said. “I started as a director four years ago and now I’m the treasurer.”
Barlow said he is also on several state committees and is a chapter delegate, serving as a liaison between the state association and the national association.
At the Waupaca Country Club, Barlow said he has served on the membership committee and the golf committee and is involved in all aspects of operations there.
He said he began attending town meetings about three or four years ago.
“There are things that I’ve noticed that I think I can do a better job, things I haven’t really been in favor of,” Barlow said. “The town hasn’t done a very good job of communicating with citizens.”
Barlow said he would like to see the town use technology more effectively in communicating with residents.
He wants more information and more frequent updates on the town’s website.
Barlow noted the town has an email database that could be used to communicate with residents.
He believes the budget process and how tax dollars are spent should be more open.
One of his goals is to “try and operate the township more efficiently.”
Another goal is to bring long-term stability to the town board.
“I’m young and will be doing this for quite a few years,” Barlow said.