What are the issues in the spring election?
Love it or hate it, the political landscape heading into the spring elections is unlike any before it.
(Read all of this week's stories in the e-edition HERE)
Thanks to the passage of Act 10, the controversial budget repair legislation that curtailed many of the public employee unions, as well as cut a significant portion of local governments’ obligations to funding employee pensions, many of the issues that have defined local elections in the past have evaporated.
In both county board elections and school board elections of the past, taxes have driven the debate.
But this year, total statewide property taxes are up 0.3 percent in 2012, according to preliminary estimates from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (See accompanying analysis).
This year’s increase is the smallest in 15 years; the state spent $1 billion to buy down school levies in 1996-’97, according to the group.
In Walworth County, there will be several primaries Feb. 21.
We’ll be contacting each of the candidates for biographical background as well as their stands on several important issues. The primaries include:
-- Walworth County Board, District 6: Paul Fisher, James Boardman, Pat Clancy and Tim Schiefelbein.
-- Walworth County Board, District 10: Dave Nusberger, Elizabeth Lyons and Ken Monroe.
-- Delavan City Council, District 2: Incumbent William Bruce DeWitt, Samuel H. Riggs III and Christopher W. Phillips.
-- Delavan-Darien School Board, Member 3, which represents the Darien Township, Sugar Creek Township, Richmond Township and Walworth Township portions of the district: Incumbent Lori Hintz, Daniel G. Hartogh and Sharon H. Gonzalez.
-- Burlington School Board: Incumbents John Anderson and Susan Kessler, challengers Scott Elbein, Philip Ketterhagen and Megan Shuemate.
So what issues will candidates run on? Public safety spending is one of the major components of the county budget, and has been debated over the years. Also, over the past few years, the county has made a commitment to the Lakeland Health Care Center, as well as Lakeland School of Walworth County.
Walworth County is one of the few that has a centralized, county-run school for those with developmental disabilities. Increasingly, counties are getting out of the business of providing nursing care as well.
Will those issues resurface in the future?
On the school board side, the board at the Delavan-Darien School District has been tackling issues related to the environment at Delavan-Darien High School for more than a year.
Some parents have questioned the communication between school officials and parents, and the board has responded aggressively and proactively to those concerns.
How the board moves on is sure to be a topic in the run up to the primary.
We’ll be previewing the primary in our Feb. 12 edition. That also will be the last edition we will publish letters to the editor regarding the election before the primary.
Editor’s note: Dan Plutchak is an associate editor for CSI Media, publisher of the Janesville Messenger, Walworth County Sunday and the Stateline News. Contact him at email@example.com, on Facebook.com/DanPlutchak or on Twitter @danplutchak