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Science teacher faces two incumbents for Town Board seat

March 18, 2014

Larry Hipp, a science teacher at Brookfield Central High School and independent landscape architect, is hoping to win a seat on the Town Board from one of two incumbents, John Schatzman and Pat Stroebel.

Hipp, a lifelong Brookfield resident who is married with three children, said if elected, he hopes to help residents understand better the projects the Town Board works on.

"My biggest concern is the communication," Hipp said. "As a townsperson, I have to be really aggressive in finding information by going to meetings and going to sources themselves. I always thought it would be great to bring that information out in a way that makes sense, without using legal jargon."

But Schatzman and Stroebel both hope to hang on to their seats.

Schatzman, who has been on the Town Board since 2004, said he has never missed a meeting, attending 510 in his tenure.

"I believe that is just one sign of dedication and my commitment," he said.

A town resident for more than 35 years, Schatzman said he is running again in hopes of preserving the community for future generations.

"I am fully committed to seeing through to an end, a well-thought out, executed plan for the long term redevelopment and fiscal health of the town," he said. "I want the lifestyle I enjoyed available to my children who have recently bought a home here and a safe secure community for my grandchildren for years to come."

Schatzman is a legal investigator and is married with four children. He said he has volunteered in schools, through his church, as a cub scout leader, a softball coach, a volunteer tax preparer and at other nonprofits.

Stroebel is also a longtime supervisor, having served ten years and lived in the town for 18. He is the manager of strategic sourcing for Miller-Coors and is married with two kids.

"I'm running again to continue the good work we've been doing for the last ten years: working to keep taxes low, make common sense decisions, deliver high quality services and do what's right," he said.

Developing the Corners

All three candidates agreed on one thing: the development of the Corners and surrounding real estate will be central to the next term.

Stroebel said the biggest opportunity for redevelopment in the town will be the area surrounding the Corners.

"That's been a success, and we've done a great job of maintaining a very low tax rate and levy," Stroebel said. "We want to make sure we do things that fit in and we properly plan for smart quality development in that area."

Hipp said he thinks communication should be better between Corners developer Marcus Corp. and town officials.

"It seems the communication between Marcus and the town is not where it needs to be," Hipp said. "We've got one shot at this, and it's got to be done right."

He also said it would be important to act cautiously on the development proposed across the street from the Corners for apartments and retail.

"A lot of people have mixed feelings about that, like we're biting off more than we can chew," he said.

Schatzman said he helped plan the redevelopment of the Corners area and Bluemound Road corridor and hopes to continue working toward its success.

"This project is only the beginning of redevelopment throughout the town that must continue to take place to assure a healthy vibrant community," he said.

Preserving the tax base

Schatzman said the town needs to look at "once vibrant office buildings" that have sunk in assessed value, noting that in recent years, the town has relied on commercial properties to cover the majority of the town's tax burden.

"We must work intensively to plan for the change in the number of office buildings and commercial properties that decide to close their doors," he said.

Stroebel said in order to maintain its tax base, it would be important to continue fighting for incorporation.

"We need to shore up our tax base for the long-term by working to secure our borders," he said.

Hipp also said he supported the incorporation of the town.

"The town is going to be redeveloped in the next 20 years," Hipp said. "It's going to be an economic powerhouse, and in order to be fully equipped to handle that, there's value in being a village. Without incorporation, the town faces increasing fragmentation issues."

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