By LeAnn R. Ralph
TOWN OF TIFFANY — Eight candidates will be appearing on the ballot for the Town of Tiffany in the April 4 election.
Incumbent town chair Chuck Siler is being challenged by Michael Blechinger, who is currently serving as a supervisor on the Town of Tiffany Town Board.
The candidates for Supervisor 1 will be Mike Benson and Dave Bartz.
The candidates for Supervisor 2 will be Steve Boyd and Bob Utphall.
The candidates for town treasurer are incumbent Laura Rasmussen and challenger Carla Benson.
Incumbent town clerk Katie Moll is running unopposed.
Michael Blechinger, 61, is a United States Air Force veteran and is a retired auto worker, beef cattle farmer and owner of AMS Aircraft Painting of Boyceville. He is married to his wife, Sandy, and they have four daughters and seven (soon-to-be eight) grandchildren.
Blechinger said he decided to accept the nomination for the position of town chair because, “after serving the Town of Tiffany as Supervisor for the past four years, I feel I recognize the concerns of the residents and have the drive and dedication to address their concerns.”
Blechinger believes the most important issues facing the Town of Tiffany are road repair and maintenance; maintaining or improving the condition of the town’s equipment; and working with the fire and ambulance districts to keep the residents of the town safe.
If elected as chair, “I hope to provide the taxpayers with the best value for their tax dollars while working within the budget. I will also inform the public with facts about issues so they can form their own decisions based off the facts,” he said.
Chuck Siler, 61, the incumbent town chair, is married to his wife, Terry. They have two children, Stanley and Samantha, and have seven grandchildren.
Siler has been self-employed as the Tractor Doc LLC for 14 years working in agriculture, construction and forestry equipment repair.
He is a graduate of Boyceville High School with one year in the Chippewa Valley Technical College auto repair program and says he has had “more continuing ed seminars than I can count and have been to the school of hard knocks for my lifetime.”
Siler said he decided to run again for the position of town chair because “I enjoy working with the people of Tiffany. I believe it’s a civic duty, and I think continuity is important for smooth operation of the township. I don’t see this as a political position. It’s more management. The townspeople hand you their checkbook and say ‘spend it wisely.’ There are things that are required of us, such as fire protection, ambulance service and elections as well as maintaining the town roads, with the roads being the biggest expense. It’s a challenge I enjoy.”
The biggest challenges facing the Town of Tiffany as well the surrounding communities, Siler said, “is the fire hall project that is still in the planning stages and sorting out the needs from the wants which at this time there still is a vast difference. In the end, the way the state’s levy laws are, the only way the towns are going to be able to maintain services will be to special-assess the debt service until it’s paid for, so the more bells and whistles, the more it’s going to hurt. It’s my goal to keep those costs to a minimum. Don’t even get me started on how this whole mess has been handled.”
If Siler is re-elected as town chair, “my goals are to keep our road maintenance programs going. We have flood damage abatement projects in the works to finish. Some of these heavy rains are causing up to $20,000 in damage per event. We’ve got the costliest fixed.”
David Bartz, 56, will be on the ballot April 4 for the Supervisor 1 position in the Town of Tiffany.
Bartz is retired and says he is enjoying himself with projects on the farm.
His family includes wife, Joan, and three grown children, Elizabeth Erickson, Benjamin Bartz and Jordan Bartz.
Bartz earned a Bachelor Science degree from UW-River Falls.
He said he decided to run for the Tiffany Town Board because he “figured it was time to give back. I feel that it is our civic responsibility to spend a few years serving the public.”
Regarding the most important challenges facing the town board, “I really feel that our township has been run rather well the last few years. Naturally, staying within our budget is very important. Also with heavier farm equipment being used in today’s farm operations, this leads to faster wear on the roads in our township, and of course, these need to be maintained.”
If elected to the Tiffany Town Board, Bartz said, “I hope that my years of experience on the Glenhaven Board of Directors and particularly the finance committee have given me experience in working within the budget that we are allocated.”
Mike Benson will be on the ballot for the Tiffany Town Board Supervisor 1 position. After making telephone contact, a questionnaire was e-mailed out, but the questionnaire was not returned prior to press time. A voicemail left March 27 asking about the status of the questionnaire also was not returned prior to press time.
Stephen M. Boyd, 57, will be the ballot for the Tiffany Town Board Supervisor 2 position. He is a pastor at Faith Free Church in Boyceville (first steeple on the right coming into town on north 79). He and his wife, Alice, celebrate 36 years of marriage. Their children are Matthew (33), a CPA in Milwaukee where he lives with his wife, Erin, and their new grandson, Elijah; Margaret (31), a police officer in Milwaukee for ten years; Issac, a 2013 graduate of Boyceville High School who is a senior in computer math at UW-Stout and will be married to Tarin in August. Alice is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee with a BA in early child development and works for CESA 11 Head Start in Menomonie.
Boyd moved to Boyceville in 2008, and before that, he was a pastor in Milwaukee and worked AT&T maintaining the network for 13 years. He is a graduate of Northeast High School in St. Petersburg, Florida; Moody Bible Institute of Chicago with a BA; Grace Theological Seminary of Winona, Lake, Indiana, Master of Divinity.
Boyd said he decided to run for a position on the Tiffany Town Board because “Bill Drinkman called me up and said there was a need for leadership on the town board. I am happy to serve the citizens of Tiffany township.”
The most important issue facing the town board, Boyd said, is maintaining the town roads with a limited budget.
“I intend to treat all residents of our community with fairness and respect,” he said.
If elected to the town board, “although I did not grow up around here, I was called eight years ago to serve the Lord and the families of the Boyceville School District. I hope to meet more of our community members and help preserve the great way of life we enjoy in northwest Wisconsin,” he said.
Robert L. Utphall, 71, will be on ballot April 4 for the Supervisor 2 position on the Tiffany Town Board.
Utphall, a machinist, farmer, construction supervisor, now retired, is married to his wife, Judi. They have one daughter, three sons, ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
He said he decided to run for position on the town board at the urging of friends.
The biggest issues facing the Town of Tiffany are the “upcoming need for equipment replacement, a new fire hall, road issues — in other words, MONEY,” Utphall said.
If elected to the Tiffany Town Board, Utphall said, “I hope to help make good decision based on how the money is spent for the taxpayers of Tiffany township while still making necessary expenditures.”
Carla Benson will be on the ballot for the treasurer position in the Town of Tiffany. After making telephone contact, a questionnaire was e-mailed out, but the questionnaire was not returned prior to press time. A voicemail left March 27 asking about the status of the questionnaire also was not returned prior to press time.
Laura Rasmussen, the incumbent treasurer for the Town of Tiffany, is 41 years old and is married to her husband, Brad. They have three children. She is the bookkeeper for their family business.
Rasmussen is a graduate from UW-River Falls with a degree in business.
She said she decided to run again for the position of treasurer because “I enjoy working with the town residents.”
The biggest issues facing the Town of Tiffany are “always trying to make wise decisions regarding road maintenance that will benefit the town’s current as well as future needs,” she said.
If Rasmussen is re-elected as treasurer, “I plan to continue doing the best job I can and to be a good representative for the Town of Tiffany.”