Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.
Last night I attended the 3rd City of Brookfield Mayoral Forum. I am pleased to report the event was well attended by an audience of about 120 AND all 4 mayoral candidates!
There really weren't any surprises for me except a little tension between David Marcello and Steve Ponto with the what would your top priority as mayor be question. This was a forum format, not a debate, but even so, there was a little attempt at back and forth between Marcello and Ponto.
Candidate Marcello stated taxes were a key issue--we needed to return to a 1.5% of assessed value rate, that all of our taxing entities have to work together [to achieve this]. We need someone focused on it [low taxes] who won't buy into raising just a little each year. The reality is we can't support high taxes anymore.
Candidate Steve Ponto said his priority would be to maintain our level of services without raising taxes and do it through shared services. Regarding the 1.5 rate, he said he discussed it with Robert Scott, then added that the city couldn't function at that rate, it would reduce city revenue by $12 million and [the city] might lose its AAA bond rating.
Voters always like to hear about candidates who are interested in lowering taxes, but with our mayoral candidate selection, they all have been in local government and haven't exactly bucked the system to knock out spending. For example, although I am not sure about Schellinger's position, the other 3 candidates all supported the $62.2 million high school referendum--certainly a tax raising, not a tax cutting decision.
So I have to ask, how sincere are they about lowering taxes? I can't help but think if they had a finite dollar amount to work with, rather than waving the magic tax levy rate wand, they would be able to find programs or services to cut?
I'm afraid I still did not come away with any strong sense of who to vote for on Feb. 16th.
How about you?
Afterward, there was time for a little political schmoozing. There were a number of aldermen in the audience as well as candidates for aldermen. I happened to sit behind Sheila Buechel during the mayor Q&A. I noticed Sheila because she was taking notes during the forum, and I wondered if she might be a reporter. When we got up to leave, I noted she was wearing a button that stated her name and candidacy for District 5, so I introduced myself. I found out she is running against Gary Mahkorn.
State Assembly District 14 Candidates David Coon and Dale Kooyenga, both Brookfield residents, were also there. I've met with both David and Dale and like their platforms, so their faces were familiar. Chris Slinker, another 14th Assembly District candidate, (Tosa resident) introduced himself to me. Like I said, it was schmooze time.
I caught school board members Tom Gehl and Glen Allgiaer on my way out. As I mentioned before, Glen Allgaier has my enthusiastic support for the Area II school board race. (All of Elmbrook votes for all of the school board candidates, regardless of which area they are from.)
Enough of schmoozing; it was time for snoozing!
BrookfieldNOW Live Blog of Feb. 4th Forum