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Voter's Guide: Mequon Aldermanic District 1

Aug. 29, 2013

The Sep. 10 special election will decide whether Rob Holtz or Robert Strzelczyk succeeds Mayor Dan Abendroth as District 1's representative on the Mequon Common Council. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Crossroads Presbyterian Church, 6031 W. Chapel Hill Road.

Editor's note: Candidates were asked to limit responses to 50, 75 and 150 words.

 

Rob Holtz

Age: 53

Occupation: attorney, CPA, owner of Mequon Law Offices

Related experience: president-elect of Thiensville-Mequon Rotary Club, former Mequon-Thiensville Chamber of Commerce president

Education: bachelor's in business administration/accounting, University of Wisconsin-Madison; J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School

Contact: holtzforalderman@gmail.com

Why are you the right person for the job?

We have lived and raised our family in Mequon for 25 years, and I have offered my leadership in various local community organizations. With my CPA background and my longtime Mequon law practice, I will bring experience, judgment and an attention to detail to the position of alderman.

While the council does not have direct governance over the Mequon-Thiensville School District, it can have an indirect impact on certain district issues and day-to-day affairs. That said, how specifically would you address the trend of declining enrollment in the district?

Having great schools within our district to attract families wanting the best education for their children will help offset the universal demographic trend of declining school-age children. My neighborhood, like other unique family-friendly District 1 neighborhoods, was created with innovative housing amenities such as green space, a golf course, and using our natural resources to attract families, including mine, to the district. Our daughters are recent Homestead graduates. Education is critical to economic progress.

Which sorts of development (residential, commercial, industrial) would you like to see throughout the city, and to what extent? What considerations guide your decision-making on this issue?

Mequon has attracted development for many reasons. Low taxes, great homes, strong schools and an abundance of resources, including land and water, have brought in business, retailers and families. Retailers, restaurants, specialty stores and service providers appreciate our excellent demographics. Mequon will continue to grow if we intelligently use our resources and look at long-term implications of our actions.

As a CPA, I support development which creates a stronger tax base. We want to welcome new businesses, and our recent city survey has shown that we want new single-family homes which will not diminish the character of Mequon. Mequon's existing economic plan has contributed to lower taxes. Relaxing standards to bring in more volume can lower the value of our properties and businesses. Our streets are safe, our schools are excellent, and taxes are low. Careful development is needed to continue these benefits and not destroy them.

Robert Strzelczyk

Age: 44

Occupation: owner of Menomonee Falls-based First Priority Printing

Related experience: member, Mequon-Thiensville Chamber of Commerce; former board member, Mequon Thiensville Education Foundation

Education: bachelor's in marketing and business management, University of Saint Thomas

Contact: rob@ourmequon.com

Why are you the right person for the job?

I met with 500+ District 1 residents during the past eight months, listening to their goals, understanding key concerns and would provide an unbiased, reasonable voice for their city vision. My business administration degree, 20 year entrepreneurial experience, 35+ years of Mequon involvement provides me with the experience to lead.

While the council does not have direct governance over the Mequon-Thiensville School District, it can have an indirect impact on certain district issues and day-to-day affairs. That said, how specifically would you address the trend of declining enrollment in the district?

Working with Mequon-Thiensville School District to reverse declining enrollment and establish a desired size for student population is first and foremost. Bigger doesn't necessarily result in higher quality education. Next, encourage a family-friendly atmosphere on a citywide basis, focusing on enhanced involvement in youth activities, reasonable housing opportunities that appeal to professional families with children and promoting Mequon as the best place to live, work and raise a family.

Which sorts of development (residential, commercial, industrial) would you like to see throughout the city, and to what extent? What considerations guide your decision-making on this issue?

According to 2013 Mequon City Survey results, the majority of District 1 supports the idea of growth. The greatest support is for single-family homes, dining, retail shopping and mid sized business. That being said, the survey was not a unanimous vote for growth. We need to respect the residents whose desire is to keep Mequon's rural character. Any development would need to be high quality construction, promote family-friendly activity, long-term community value and possess architecture that enhances our rural feel.

It would be wise to establish a suitable and moderated plan for some new homes in the $350,000 range, targeting new and realistic housing opportunity for young professionals or families with children. Encouragement of projects in our struggling TIF districts would greatly assist Mequon's financial stability, adding to our tax base and reduce city debt.

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