TOWN OF SPRINGFIELD — Two candidates will be on the ballot for the April 7 election for chair in the Town of Springfield.
Bill Reusch, incumbent town chair, will face challenger Dean Fayerweather.
Reusch and his wife, Sue, live on an 80-acre farm just north of Wilson. Reusch has served on the Springfield Town Board since 2009.
The Tribune Press Reporter sent out questionnaires to the candidates.
Here are Reusch’s answers to the Tribune Press Reporter’s questionnaire:
• Where have you lived other than the Town of Springfield (if anywhere)?
We raise about 50 head of beef cattle here and also rent another piece of land for pasture. We have lived on this property since about 1985 and have raised our seven children here, with the two youngest still in school living here. Before that we lived in the village of Knapp where I met my wife and ran a sign business, which I continue to do.
• What is your educational background?
I have painted signs since I attended high school in Glenwood City where I graduated from in 1973. I drove truck over the road for about 20 years with a large part of that time running my own long distance livestock transportation business. Most of my working years have been in the self employed sector.
• Why did you decide to accept the nomination for chair of the Springfield Town Board?
Since I have held this position our Town has always had money left at the end of the year. We have learned to live within our means and have not had to borrow any money.
• What do you believe to be the biggest challenges or issues facing the Town of Springfield?
The Town of Springfield has always had a part time maintenance person. It has worked well for us because when we have a winter like we just had it saves us money that can be used for our other projects. Now, the winter before this one was another story, but we still finished the year in the black. This year we plan to replace the roofs on our hall buildings with steel and a few other minor maintenance issues at the hall along with our regular road work. There are not going to be any major road rebuilding jobs planned for this summer, but hope to next year. We are lucky to have Mark Erickson as our patrolman. He is a conscientious self starter who is available when needed. With my past involvement in trucking I am able to pitch in when needed. We seem to work well together. I see no reason to go with a full time employee for maintenance.
The only major piece of equipment that the town owns is a plow/dump truck. We have had good results using outside hired help. I prefer to use independent contractors when available, and if they reside within the town, so much the better. Our 1996 truck would be considered too old in most towns but it is mechanically sound and only has about 150,000 miles on it. Last year we tuned up the engine and had the frame and box sandblasted and repainted. We also purchased a new stainless steel salt/sand spreader that could be transferred to a new truck when that day comes. The biggest issue with plow trucks are corrosion issues from the salt/sand we use. Another advantage is that this truck is not equipped with all the new EPA mandates which have been very problematic for others.
The issue that I am most concerned about is property rights. There are many rules and regulations that are being delegated to us from all upper levels of government. It is my sentiment that your town board should be representing its residents and helping them when possible instead of making all these regulations restricting your rights. Even the Wisconsin Towns Association, which is helpful in many ways, seem to always be recommending new ordinances we should have. Many of these are almost impossible to enforce. I have spent hundreds of my own dollars purchasing books and literature that will help me do this job to the best of my ability. I have spent hours talking to other town officials and people all over the country trying to educate myself. I am very aware of the U.N.’s AGENDA 21 policies that are creeping into all levels of government and will do what I can to keep them out of our town. I have a copy of the U.N.’s official book. This is where Smart Growth originates and many other prohibitive policies.
Many people are also unaware of the National St. Croix Heritage Area which will encompass about 10,000 sq. mi. in N. Western Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota if allowed to come to fruition. This type of thing further restricts your property rights and is allowed to happen from behind closed doors without ever taking into consideration input from the citizens. They like to make you think you are being involved in the decision making process but their minds are made up before the meeting is even started. Just attend one of these facilitated meetings sometime and you will see what I mean.
The frac sand issue has also been a hot topic in these parts of Wisconsin for some time. Springfield has two of these mines operating in the town. These are existing mines that for many years provided the community with lime rock and ag lime, which by the way, also contain silica dust. I am neither for nor against frac sand mining. What I am for is someone’s right to use their property in a moral and lawful way. If people are allowed to completely shut this type of mining or any other business down who will they go after next. It could be you! Now don’t get me wrong, businesses of this large a scale do need to be regulated, but not regulated out of business. Non-metallic mining regulation for the towns in St. Croix County is handled at the county level with input from the towns.
Another issue that took place the last few years was the county’s comprehensive revision of its zoning ordinance. When this happens the towns have the opportunity to opt out of County Zoning. If a town is under county zoning this is the only time they can get out and regulate their town themselves. It had been many years since the county has done this type of revision. If a town is presently unzoned they can get into county zoning at any time. There are more than 250 towns in Wisconsin that are unzoned. Pepin County, at the county level is unzoned. I think that keeping as much control as we can at the local level is best. This is not something that people should be afraid of. What they should fear is the probable regulations that will come from higher up, passed on to the county and finally down to the towns if they are under county zoning. As it is, I was unable to convince the board on this and presently we remain under county zoning. If the issue arises again it would be wise to all educate ourselves more on this and possibly have a referendum.
• What ideas do you have for increasing revenue or decreasing spending?
We have been able to completely rebuild 2.5 miles of road the last few years. We had the old pavement ground, added six inches of lime rock base, and paved with 2.5 inches of hot mix asphalt. These projects are done over two summers. The first year we will have the old road ground and add half of the total base, grade and replace culverts. The second year we grade, add the balance of the base, let settle some and then pave the road. We have to do it like this because it splits up the cost and also makes for a better road because the road gets to go through a freeze/thaw cycle.
The garbage and recycling service we provide has been a concern of mine. I know that many of our residents take care of their own garbage disposal. I did not like the fact that they were paying for something that they don’t use. I don’t think that that the Town has to make a profit from this but I would like it to at least break even. After making a few changes we were able to save about $6000 from the previous year in expenses. We are looking for other ways to make this service more efficient for everyone.
Springfield residents have some of the lowest taxes in St. Croix County. Our tax increases, if any, usually are only increased according to inflation. I will do my best to continue in this manner and spend your money responsibly.
• Other comments?
I hadn’t really planned on campaigning and apologize for being so long winded but this request from the Tribune has at least given me the opportunity to let folks know a little more of what is going on in the Town of Springfield. In conclusion, I believe in less government intrusion in our lives as was intended by the founders of this country. I believe in the Reign of Christ the King and following his law to the best of my ability and finally following our federal and state constitutions, of which we take an oath to uphold and protect, an oath that I take serious. I appreciate the opportunity to express my thoughts and to serve you these past years and hopefully into the future.