Letter: ‘ole boy’ politics tainting Town of Grant
To the Editor:
What a Difference a Day Makes!
On April 2, 2019 I lost my seat as chairperson for the Town of Grant, Portage County. The person who won never attended a town board, annual, budget, special or Plan Commission meeting during my 14 years of service. His platform along with the two current supervisors was to guarantee that ATVs and UTVs would run all 116 town road miles. Their campaign signs, without the required disclaimers, peppered local bars encouraging residents to vote for them along with a non-binding option on the Town’s referendum regarding ATVs. It worked.
Soon after the election I received calls from residents claiming I was the winner; that by losing the election my service to the Town could not be tainted by the ‘ole boy’ politics that won it. I have thought about their sentiments and then, some accomplishments that I am most proud of:
Transfer station – Expanded summer hours to accommodate working residents, improved recycling rate to four times the rural municipal average, maintained Tire Days and introduced “Choose to Reuse” – a freecycle program;
Roads – Received several transportation grants in excess of WisDOT annual road aid including four TRIP-D grants for projects over $100,000, resurfaced ~ 20 miles of road, updated equipment, and installed reflective address signs town-wide;
Outreach – Compiled and edited a town newsletter, introduced website, contributed a monthly column for the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune for eight years, and prepared educational materials for annual tax inserts;
Planning/Zoning – Served on the Plan Commission, revised recycling & solid waste ordinances, adopted driveway and tower ordinances, added conditional use permitting to Zoning Ordinance, updated Comprehensive Plan, to name a few…; and
Other – Confronted unfair practices regarding Portage County EMS/Ambulance service, made town hall and voting booths more handicapped accessible, conducted public hearings on ATVs/UTVs, encouraged private well-water testing through homeowner programming, and coordinated the grand celebration for the Town sesquicentennial (150th birthday)!
During my tenure there have been many people that helped make ideas reality and problems solved. I humbly thank Clerk Vicky Zimmerman, Treasurer Diana Luecht and former Treasurer Dorothy Raasch. I thank past board members Dick Kertis, Jim Wendels, Jay Goska in addition to Plan Commissioners, Board of Adjustments members, GCAC delegates, Public Works and Transfer Station employees, emergency service providers, and the residents that took the time to talk (or gripe) about their concerns. Without them I would have accomplished litte.
Since the election the three men that swore to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents voted to open all roads to ATVs/UTVs without any reference, revisions or amendments to the Town’s existing ATV ordinance limiting their scope. Last week the chairman removed one commissioner and me from the Plan Commission saying that after serious consideration he needed to replace us with a campaign buddy and a supervisor’s brother in-law.
I now believe that the residents that called me the winner were correct – I am indeed. Thank you. I just hope that the Town Grant is not the loser.
Town of Grant