Boots & Sabers

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0747, 06 Dec 14

Randy Koehler Flips: Will Run for Reelection

Well, this is interesting. Randy Koehler is a West Bend Alderman who announced this summer that he would not run for reelection. Now he has changed his mind and will run. Koehler is one of the only aldermen who has been pushing for property tax increases the past few years and was frustrated because the rest of the council did not want to raise taxes. From Judy Steffes’ story in the Daily News:

“I’d rather see it gradually increase rather than one big increase and this was the perfect year to do it because MPTC (Moraine Park Technical College) and the West Bend School District went down, and this would have been our chance to go up a bit and really not affect the other tax bill. But nobody wanted to agree with me.”

When Koehler had said he wasn’t running, Chris Jenkins, the president of the West Bend Community Memorial Library Board, had already thrown his hat in the ring. Jenkins is a vocal conservative who has done a good job on the library board. He has run for the City Council unsuccessfully in the past. Although I have not seen a statement from Jenkins promising to keep property taxes frozen, he advocates for conservative positions and I would expect such a position soon.

District 4 in West Bend will have a pretty clear choice in April. The incumbent candidate wants to end the 4-year trend of property tax freezes for the city. The challenger is running as a conservative who will likely maintain the spending and taxing discipline the city has demonstrated in recent years. The April election just got more interesting in West Bend.


0747, 06 December 2014


  1. Randy Koehler

    Continue to misquote me, I will continue to push for discussion. It’s pretty black and white when you look at our debt and the fact we face a 1.2 million deficit next year. I have proven my conservative qualities over the past 4 years but at some point you have to look at the facts. We face a choice cut service’s or raise our rate, I only ask that we begin the discussion. My position has been and will continue to be one that we must address the deficit and discontinue borrowing 2.5 million every year for capital. Get your facts straight and pick up the phone rather than print hearsay garbage.

  2. Kevin Scheunemann


    Are you saying Judy Steffes misquoted you?

    What is the correct quote?

    Judy is the most meticulous news reporter I know. She does a great job getting the facts right and inquires on issues on a very substantive level.

    I find it hard to believe she got this quote wrong.

    Have you demanded a retraction from West Bend news?

  3. Owen


    Kevin has a point. Are you saying that the paper misquoted you? You seem to verify the claim that you want to increase our property taxes in your comment here.

  4. randy koehler

    The only quote I have made was ” we need to look at how we overcome the 1.2 million next year, the capital borrowing of 2.5 every year and the roads problem. Whether that means an increase I don’t know but it needs to be discussed”. When asked by Dave Rank why I voted against the budget my quote was ” I don’t feel it addresses the long term problem of borrowing and roads”. I have never said I want to raise taxes, I have said we need to be realistic and at some point taxes will have to go up. Do you really think the rate can stay flat forever and yet continue offering the same level of service? We have busted our butts the past 4 years to right size and find efficiencies, the big ticket savings are not out there, you can hide behind the flat rate another year but sooner of later it will happen unless we drastically increase revenues. If you remember I also was the lone no vote on a $4 million dollar Trenton road bridge that is a large contributor to the borrowing and the tif shortfalls.

  5. Steve Austin

    “At some point taxes will need to go up”

    Famous words by RINO’s and liberals everywhere.

    I understand Randy is trying to have a nuanced discussion, which can be hard to have on these subjects. That said, the bit about taxes needing to go up to “maintain services” has always been the position of a politician predisposed to raising taxes.

  6. Kevin Scheunemann

    “At some point taxes will need to go up”.

    I heard the same cry from my fellow Village board members in Kewaskum. I voted against the 6% levy increase (when all other levy agencies went down).

    The vote was 5-2 to pass the Kewaskum levy. (Surprisingly, I was not the lone vote against this year.) We could have cut the levy, but other members of the board wanted extra money in for road repair, equipment, and TIF shortfall.

    There is always a way to spend more money. What makes one a conservative is to find a better way to do things rather than capitulate that taxes NEED to go up.

    I’m certain there will be no flak for the 5 board members that voted for the big village levy because of cut in school, county, and MPTC taxes have reduced overall tax bills in Kewaskum by about 6-10%, so the Village Board members that voted for village portion levy increase will probably get credit for decreasing taxes.

    We will hear the same phrase when Kewaskum wants to spend $1 million on a new library addition. We are awash in DNR sewer treatment mandated debt (which I vocally voted against) and TIF debt (which I did vote for, but now regret…but did present a “fix” that wil take effect in 2016).

    Do we need to raise taxes for that?

    If you answer “yes”, that makes you a liberal when it comes to fiscal matters.

    If you answer “no”, that makes you a conservative even though it may not be popular to stop funding of an outdated, 19th century, concept: libraries. Sure, there will be fancy digital internet access and computers available…but is that the job of government?

    It is nomination period and I’m up for re-election, so anyone that wants to run that wants to spend big money on Kewaskum library addition, now is your chance.

  7. Chris Jenkins

    To clarify my position, I am in favor of keeping taxes frozen. Is it an easy task? Of course not. And we may not find the savings through “big ticket” items. But by looking in depth at the intricacies of how we do things, we can find the savings penny by penny. By doing things this way, you can take those savings and move them towards paying down the debt.

    At the Library level, over 3 years I took a budget that was pretty much a rubber stamp of the Director’s wants (and grabbed its capital from reserve funds), and changed it into one that looked for efficiencies and demanded results. Have we made some difficult decisions to balance our budget correctly? Of course. But while making those difficult decisions, we’ve seen fantastic numbers in circulation, programming, and meeting room rentals. This is proof that you can balance “cuts” with strong services. I am confident that I can continue this conservative dialogue at the Council level.

    And thank you Boots and Sabers for allowing us to have this discussion.

  8. Kevin Scheunemann


    So can we take it, by that last statement, that Judy Steffes did get your quote right and you are backing off of the original statement…somewhat?

    If so, it would be great to see it in action by voting against any increased levy.

    If that happens, then Yes, it is an outstanding thing that Boots and Sabers talks about the public comments local public officials make.

  9. Bob Olson

    I know the Mayor of WB from high school. Last Fall, I visited council member Hutchins at his home. I went to high school with his son and daughter. Mr. Hutchins told me that the City of West Bend has an $8M debt to the WB Water Utility that was borrowed under previous administrations and was covered up. Mr. Hutchins also told me that the reason WB is now outsourcing jobs on a contract basis is because they don’t want to pay retirement to workers. He also told me that the Chief of Police likes city ordinances to be vague so he can enforce them at his discretion.

    The Mayor, Kohler, Duquaine, Huthcins, the Chief of Police, and others attend a monthly meeting (Tea Party)outside of normal hours to discuss city issues. As I understand it, the City Administrator was a college friend of the Mayor, but I’m not certain.

    I once requested a meeting with Koehler (our District 4) representative only to be referred to a meeting with the Mayor. Did the Mayor show up to the meeting? No the city attorney and the city administrator were the only ones. Koehler is a pawn doing things at the direction of the Mayor, Duquaine, and Hutchins. Arguably, Hutchins is also a pawn.

    Also, the Mayor and his brother own a bunch of gas stations in West Bend, which is why they have denied Quick Trip gas stations from being licensed to open gas stations. Ever wonder why WB gas prices are higher that other nearby communities?

    When Mr. Hutchins still thought I was on the side of the people in charge he asked me to run for District 4. He thought that would be a way to placate me. I had applied for the City Attorney position after they fired the last city attorney and decided to hire on a contract basis a Grafton law firm (Houseman & Fiend). I never expected to get the City Attorney position, but I wanted to see how deep the rabbit hole went. Well, I found out later that our Municipal Court Judge Steven Cain was a former employee of Houseman & Fiend before he was elected. Guess who donated to his judicial campaign? You guessed it: Houseman & Fiend. So, now if you have a citation, the Judge hearing it worked for Houseman. What are your chances of being not found guilty? LOL! I sent a letter to the West Bend News to that effect, but guess what, no mention of it in the paper.

    This town has been taken over by a few people that are power hungry and corrupt. They know the turnout for voting. If requested, I will turn over all the emails and information I have in order for the voters to make sense of it. Moreover, I will submit an affidavit to what I have heard, witnessed, and documented.

    The Mayor, Koehler, Duquaine, Hutchins, and another that was on the council at the time, fired our full-time City Attorney and staff because they would disagree with the legality of what the elected officials wanted to do. That is why we now have contract attorney’s representing the city. If the Mayor, Koeler, Duquaine, and Hutchins don’t like the advice (or if the contract city attorney even gives advice – making them aware) they can threaten the attorneys in order to get them to do what they want. That is not the purpose of a City Attorney. They have gotten into office an corrupted the process and continue to do so.

    They are all about the money! Follow the money and you will find answers!

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