VIDEO | Candidates Forum – West Bend Alderman District 5
West Bend, Wis. – Common Sense Citizens of Washington County organized a candidates’ forum for the Washington County Fairgrounds and Conference Center. Two candidates for alderman of District 5 in West Bend participated: Jed Dolnick and James Knepler.
• What do you think of the recent staffing study and facilities status for the West Bend Fire Department?
J.K. – agree that there is a need for more firefighters and that the facilities must be modernized. Procedures in question and scope for improvement, in particular medical transport which is costly and inefficient. Need to provide facilities for female firefighters.
J.D. – inter-establishment transport – it generates income but weighs on resources. Overhaul Station #2 needs this station on this side of town. One study indicated that response times would increase. Leave the public safety dispatch to the sheriff. I don’t agree with that. Much to review with the lack of staff.
• Do you feel the city is adequately funding road maintenance and repairs and keeping pace with the road needs as they arise? Why do you have this belief?
J.D. – bad roads are the #1 concern in the city. The previous administration was preoccupied with servicing the debt. We borrow money to repair the streets – this amount has been reduced. Now we have to catch up. Kilbourn Avenue is to be rebuilt in two phases over two years. We need to borrow more money, but we can’t get into trouble.
J.K. – Okay, road maintenance is a problem. As a businessman, you don’t like to borrow long term from year to year. Need a loan model for street maintenance. Plan maintenance work and distribute assets. Long-term borrowing is not a best practice for road maintenance.
• If thelected/re-elected, will you commit to Supporta merit-based compensation structure who uses both public and private sector employees as benchmarks?
J.K. – Yes. Outsourcing of certain aspects currently carried out by the City. Try to keep costs low. Medical transport is at the top of the list. Having to work similar to the private sector. Not everyone needs to get the same raise every year.
J.D. – it is difficult to find matching positions for public and private positions. It is a difficult effort. Must be done fairly.
J.D. – you must act responsibly when taking the job. With an 8 cent raise, we kept PD and FD in place and maintained the parks. Nobody wants to raise taxes. We need to use the money responsibly, but keep the services running. The community understands paying taxes to run the city.
J.K. – need to review the budget before allocating money. My background in the private sector is looking for efficiencies. Can we be smarter and better without downsizing and raising taxes. Do not oppose raising taxes, but want to find priorities and efficiencies. When you keep raising taxes, people leave high-tax areas for more favorable tax climates.
• Would you support or oppose saving money by consolidating emergency dispatch with the county 911 dispatch center and why?
J.K. – take an intense look at what is profitable. There are other ways and at a lower cost. Look at cost accounting.
J.D. – No. I don’t want consolidation. That would hand him over completely to the sheriff. The city would have no voice. Talking to the local dispatcher is reassuring. There are practical inconveniences rather than cost savings.
CLICK HERE as Jackson Village Clerk Jilline Dobratz answers ballot questions
before the elections of April 5, 2022
• If elected/re-elected, are you commit to leading and communicating efforts to identify efficiencies up up to and including the removal or potential outsourcing of functions appropriate?
J.D. – That’s a big question. Outsourcing EMS – this would not be appropriate. Need to make sense to ensure quality of service. Need to have an open mind.
J.K. – finding efficiencies is at the top of my list. People immediately start worrying about losing their jobs – in my work we looked at attrition or changing jobs for better efficiency. Are there better ways to do business. Anything we can do to make it work better with taxpayer funding.
• There have been several great apareal estate developments in the city in recent years, with many more in the works. Do you think the city has a good balance between housing needs, or is the city too heavy in a housing type on another?
J.K. – I am a capitalist, a free market person. There must be a need. I support development to help the tax base grow and be strong.
J.D. – the city has an overall regional development plan. This plan needs to be updated. Now the market is for multi-family housing. Demographics have changed. The county is going crazy with affordable housing. Many things are dictated by the market.
Click on HERE to see more candidate forums related to the
April 5, 2022, spring election
The spring election is Tuesday, April 5, 2022. In-person mail-in voting begins March 22, 2022 and ends at 5 p.m. Friday, April 1, 2022.