MENOMONEE FALLS - Incumbent Chris Smolik is being challenged for his seat by Menomonee Falls native Randall Van Alstyne during the spring election Tuesday, April 4.
Northwest Now spoke to the candidates about the upcoming election.
Why are you running for the Menomonee Falls Village Board?
Smolik: I am running for re-election to continue my campaign to keep our community safe and taxes low. The key concerns conveyed in my discussions with constituents, community growth and business development, require the insight and commitment to preserve our present lifestyle without compromising our future. My voting record demonstrates this insight and commitment.
Van Alstyne: My wife and I both grew up in Menomonee Falls, and we raised our five children here because we know this is a great community. At this stage in my life, I have more time to give back to the community. I am currently serving on the Community Development Authority, and was encouraged by family and friends to consider running for trustee as a way to serve in a greater capacity.
What do you think is the most important issue facing Menomonee Falls, and what do you think should be done to address that issue?
Smolik: The most important issue facing the village continues to be the use of taxpayer money to finance private business deals, such as the Radisson Hotel. Taxpayer funding has occurred through direct payouts or through the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF). TIFs not only upset the natural balance of a free-market system but create competitive disadvantages to the local businesses already established. Additionally, TIF beneficiaries do not share the ongoing tax burden for basic community services and education, shifting these ever-increasing costs onto the backs of the residents and established businesses for years to come. Some trustees and village personnel try to say, “No taxpayer money was used,” yet taxpayers are the source for essentially all the village's money, including securing all bonding. The TIF opportunity cost to the community never gets consideration.
Van Alstyne: I believe in acknowledging our community’s rich history, while planning for future growth. I would like to see continued, sensible, controlled growth while keeping taxes at the current or lower levels. With over 30 years engineering, project management and business experience, I believe I have the necessary skills to analyze any issue that will come before the village board. I have the experience to determine the optimal cost-benefit solution for the citizens of Menomonee Falls.
What areas of the village budget deserve highest priority, in your opinion?
Smolik: Community safety always deserves highest priority in any municipal budget. If you lose your reputation as a safe community, your community will die. After safety, maintaining and upgrading the streets and infrastructure of the village must take precedence. As chairperson of the utilities and public works committee, the struggle to keep costs in check while addressing immediate needs creates challenges as well as opportunities. My record as village trustee over the past three years demonstrates my constant diligence to the commitment to keep taxes low while maintaining the established character of our community.
Van Alstyne: I believe municipal services like police, fire and emergency services should have the highest priority. Public works, parks and recreation, and village management services are also necessary, but village tax dollars should never be used to subsidize private development. As our tax base grows from recent and current development, I believe we can reduce the tax burden to the citizens of Menomonee Falls while maintaining these necessary services.
Address: N56 W20325 Silver Spring Drive
Political history: Incumbent Trustee
Phone number: 262-510-7844
Randall Van Alstyne
Address: N75 W15375 Colony Road
Political history: Two years Community Development Authority
Phone number: 414-429-1011