Neighbors in Town of Hartford disappointed in County Board annexation vote
Neighbors in the Town of Hartford left the Washington County Courthouse upset and frustrated following a 15-8 vote authorizing a petition for annexation of the Washington County Golf Course and Family Park to the City of Hartford.
Those voting in favor of the annexation included supervisors: Mike Bassill, Chris Bosert, Russell Brandt, James Burg, Kris Deisss, Brian Gallitz, Chris Jenkins, Denis Kelling, Don Kriefall, Mark McCune, Carroll Merry, Tim Michalak, Jeffrey Schleif, Keith Stephen, and William Symicek.
Supervisors voting against the annexation include Richard Bertram, Marcella Bishop, Rock Brandner, Joe Gonnering, Robert Hartwig, Brian Krebs, Marilyn Merten, and Peter Sorce.
Supervisors John Bulawa and Roger Kist were not in attendance.
County Administrator Joshua Schoemann began the meeting saying, “what the county board is deciding today is not if the annexation of the Golf Course is going to happen but when the annexation of the Golf Course will happen.”
Schoemann said because “this was a business meeting” the public would not be allowed to speak.
Two people from Gehring View Farms, 4630 Highway 83, Christine and Derik Gehring sat in the front row holding photos of their family farm. Derik is a seventh-generation farmer.
The county indicated the sale of the property meant future development and revenue for the county. Schoemann said he visited neighbors to the County Golf Course on Monday, January 6 and “none of those folks have any interest in annexation and several of them said to me one day they knew this would happen.”
Neighbors in the Town of Hartford said they feared two things with the annexation including higher taxes in the City of Hartford and losing their view with subdivisions in their backyard.
Laurel Jaeke from the Town of Hartford said the bottom line was money. “The supervisors even said it in their discussion that it was for money,” she said. “This is going to hurt farmers because the annexation of the golf course will open the gateway to continued development and …. with the continued march up and outside of the city into agricultural lands prevents farmers from growing crops they need to support their cows. This is a sad day for the Town of Hartford.”
Supervisor Marcella Bishop – “I feel very strongly this County Board is jumping the gun on this local municipality. We should let the local municipalities take care of their own business.”
Supervisor Richard Bertram – “I was told we should look at parks as quality of life. Where can people take their kids. All of a sudden now this particular parcel here doesn’t seem like that’s a good quality of life. Now we want to change this. As far as us selling parks was not to make a ton of money but I can honestly tell you…. if I gave property to the county, I’d be one ticked off person that the county is trying to make money on what I gave them to have a park.”
Supervisor Kris Deiss – “Everything that has been done is just the way government functions and I understand that for people who aren’t a county board supervisor or involved in government it’s always so hard to understand what the heck we’re doing. But we’re trying the best we can.”
Supervisor Chris Bossert tried to compare the situation to eating a large pizza and then his girlfriend also eating a large pizza. “This is not a money grab,” he said. “I saw a comment on Facebook that this proposal if the annexation goes through the people in the Town of Hartford would see their taxes double.” County administrator said “no, this will have nothing to do with that.”
Supervisor Mark McCune – “It does come down to money. One of my favorite hobbies; I like money. This helps our county to have more money.”
Supervisor Brian Krebs – “Before we go through the process of annexing this piece of property, I think it’s better if the county goes through and actually takes the time to acknowledge what the future of the golf course will be. I think we should take an honest look at what do we want with the golf course.”
Supervisor Joseph Gonnering referenced the Washington County 4-H students who were honored at the start of the meeting. “Where would they be today if we didn’t have Fair Park? There was a time when it was being looked at to get rid of Fair Park. But where would these kids be today without our parks system as a whole and people who live in this county and outside of the county use the parks whether they’re mowed or not. We threw a lot of money into Family Park to start with and it’s a shame we’re not keeping it up, but to get rid of it is not a good thing to do.”
Supervisor Robert Hartwig – “My wife said to me now that you’re retired, we should take the grand kids to all the parks. That’s my question for people who go to Family Park. How many people from the subdivision attend this park? That’s one of my big reasons… why would we want to get rid of this. The golf course is paid for. We should hang onto it and not annex at this time. Plus, I see a gentleman in the audience with a picture of his farm. I can see his concern, if the golf course gets annexed down the road there will be subdivisions moving out and the next thing you know they’ll be after his farm as well. This kid caught my eye and it helped make my mind up to vote no.” With the approval of the annexation the county will now submit a letter to the Department of Administration and then a letter will also be written to the City of Hartford. The process should take about two months before it gets to the City of Hartford.
After the meeting some of the Town of Hartford people in the gallery talked about how the project was rushed through. One person talking in the hallway outside the county board chambers indicated the upcoming April 7, 2020 election may have played a part in the timing of the annexation.
An icon in Hartford will retire Friday, January 10 from McDonald’s on Highway 60
That lady at the McDonald’s drive thru in Hartford. The one who has been there the past 26 years. The one who knows you by the sound of your voice or your specific order. You may want to take a moment Friday, January 10 to stop and visit and say “thanks” because tomorrow Sandy Thiele is retiring.
She’s been called an “icon” in Hartford. Folks around town know her. She’s the lady in the drive thru; the one that calls everybody ‘Hunny.’
“It’s time,” said Thiele. “I’ve been here at this McDonald’s since I was 40.”
Hired by her manager Jon Schmidt, Thiele still has the spunk, common sense and customer service that’s made her a recognizable face in the community.
Thiele, 66, recollects about the changes she’s seen in her two decades plus. “We didn’t have all these coffee specialty drinks,” she said.
“We always had the hamburger and cheeseburger… but they were cheaper back then. Do you remember the brats? And the McRib… those were fun,” she said.
Thiele said the “customers are the best people in the world.”
“One lady gets a large coffee, two cream, shot of caramel, and one egg biscuit and all she does is pull up and says my name and I put her order in,” said Thiele.
Customers recognize her voice too…. or her signature Green Bay Packer hat or the familiar face in the first drive-thru window at McDonald’s. Thiele’s there at work, Monday through Friday at 6 a.m.
Thiele’s view outside her window has changed over the last 26 years. “Walgreens wasn’t there,” she said. “The dry cleaners was there; and then they moved that. Kwik Trip wasn’t there. Culvers was a Hardees and that wasn’t Piggly Wiggly it was County Market and we had a Blockbuster back there.”
On Friday there will be a ‘thank you’ celebration at McDonald’s in Hartford. Feel free to stop in and wish Sandy well.
Accolades pour in as WB alderman and WC supervisor Roger Kist resigns from office
Accolades are flooding in following word West Bend Dist. 8 alderman and Washington County Dist. 2 Supervisor Roger Kist has submitted a letter of resignation.
According to West Bend Clerk Stephanie Justmann the letter was presented Friday, January 10 just after noon.
Dated January 10, 2020 the letter says: “After careful consideration and conversations with family, I am tending my resignation as City of West Bend Alderman for District 8 effective immediately, pursuant to Section 17.01, Wis. Stats., due to my current health issues. It has been an honor and privilege to serve the people of the City of West Bend, Wisconsin in this position since April 2009.”
There are few communities as lucky as Washington County to have a plethora of people dedicated to helping make it a better place. One of the notable community leaders is Roger Kist. Officials from Washington County, the City of West Bend and local non-profits offered a comment when they heard the news with many of the notes focusing on the same theme of “dedication and community service.”
Washington County Supervisor and former Washington County Clerk Marilyn Merten – Way before Roger was on county board, I worked with him on Land Use and Parks. He got things done around the courthouse, so it looked appropriate. Roger was always someone who was willing to help keep the county in good operation. He was a very dedicated individual who wanted to do service to the public. His idea on the county board was service. When he was Ranger Roger he was always dedicated to the parks and he did whatever he could to see the parks were taken care of. I remember Roger would stop into the clerk’s office to see everything was kosher. Roger had a very old-school type of dedication.
Former West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow – It is not too often someone truly dedicates a lifetime to public service. Roger is one of rare individuals who has. My most sincere Thank You and utmost gratitude go out to both Roger and his family for their dedication to West Bend and Washington County.
Former Washington County Board Chairman Ken Miller – Roger was in parks for a long time and managed all the parks in the county. I didn’t always agree with Roger’s vote as a representative with the county, but he sure did manage the parks well and he kept them top notch. As chairman of the Republican Party he did a good job letting everybody know what was going on.
Former Washington County Fair Park Executive Director Sandy Lang – We always knew him as Ranger Roger from the parks system. I’ve known Roger and Denise more so as friends from their community service and church. He’s an all-around great guy. Roger always took on a lot; when he said he was going to do something he did it to completion.
Assembly Rep. Rick Gundrum – I enjoyed serving with Roger on the Washington County Board. He was a very dedicated public servant who took his role as County Supervisor seriously. Roger made it a priority to attend all committee meetings so when it was time to vote he’d be well informed on the issues. Whether he agreed with you or not on an issue Roger was always respectful of your views and opinions.
Janean Brudvig, Executive Director of Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County – Roger has been a wonderfully dedicated friend of Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County. We got to know Roger better several years ago when he was looking for help with his brother. As he learned about our organization and how we help the elderly in our community – Roger did what Roger does so very well – he became an advocate of our mission, helping folks age independently, and he became involved!! Since then, Roger has served an active role, supporting and attending many of our events and activities. Roger was also a member of our newly formed Senior Corps Advisory Board, helping to get it off the ground.
Kist announced in November 2019 he would not be running for reelection to the County Board in April 2020. He served as a supervisor since winning election in April 2016. Kist turned in his non-candidacy papers early. Joseph R. Vespalec has already turned in signatures to run for the seat in April 2020.
Kist is still a sitting alderman in West Bend District 8. His current term on the council was scheduled to end in 2021. Kist was elected District 8 alderman in 2009. He beat incumbent Neal Narveson; Kist has won reelection to the two-year term ever since. In April 2014, Kist took out papers to run for mayor of West Bend. He challenged incumbent Kraig Sadownikow and lost, however he retained his aldermanic seat in Dist. 8.
The West Bend Common Council will meet to determine how to fill the seat in Dist. 8. According to the City Clerk the open seat will not be added to the April 7, 2020 ballot. In the past the city has accepted applications and following a review the council has appointed a replacement.
Kist retired as manager of Washington County Parks in September 2003; he held that position for 35 years.
Kist joined the Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau in September 2003.
Kist was a young pup when he moved to Ridge Run Park in November 1967. Originally hired as caretaker of the park, Kist said it “reminded me a lot of when I worked on the farm.” A supervisor at the park, Kist sported a handlebar mustache and eventually became a fixture known as Ranger Roger.
“When I was on the council, I was also chairman of the local Republican Party,” said Kist. “I remember Mike Schlotfeldt was elected alderman and he chaired the Democratic Party. When he sat down, he looked over at me like the devil had just shown up.”
Kist took his time and built a relationship with the representative from Dist. 6. “When Mike decided not to run again, we had a little party and he said to me, ‘Roger you’re the only friend I’ve got.’”
Over the years Kist has made quite a few friends and below are some comments from those he’s met along the way who talk about the impact he’s made in this county.
West Bend Police Chief Ken Meuler: I met Roger before he ever ran for alderperson as he has always been actively involved in the community. He donates his time to a number of community events, and supports almost every community function. Anyone out in the community will see him at Music on Main, Farmer’s Market, church festivals, parades, and numerous fundraisers in the community. During his time as an alderperson he has not been someone that pounds his fists or grandstands, but he always speaks up on issues that are important to him and his constituents. He has called me on a number of police issues to get a better understanding of our policies and practices. He has been a strong supporter of the police throughout his tenure as alderperson. I have always enjoyed working with Roger as an alderperson and appreciate all he has done for the community. More important, I value his friendship.
Leah Baughman at Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County: “Roger Kist is very active and in touch with the West Bend community and knows what is needed to help support its citizens. When asked if he would like to be a part of the Interfaith/RSVP Advisory Council Roger very graciously accepted right away. Even though this venture has just begun he has been an important member that has contributed many great ideas and support.”
Todd Tennies remembered Kist when he worked and lived at Ridge Run Park. “As a little boy I can remember going to Ridge Run Park and riding bikes past the log cabin as we headed to our favorite fishing spot. Roger would always stop and say ‘Hi’ and ask us how the fishing was. He was always friendly and willing to talk to us kids. After his retirement from the county he settled in and served the community through his involvement in city government. He did a great job and always had an interest in what was best for the community. His interest in our county also carried over into the Tourism Committee for Washington County. He did an extraordinary job promoting the Washington County Fair Park as well as all of our wonderful parks we have in this county. Great job Roger.”
Dist. 5 alderman Rich Kasten said Kist is somebody he really admires. “The things he’s accomplished at the county and city and he can still walk down the street and people know him from Ridge Run Park. I wish I could be more like him with his ability to relate to people and between him and his wife the way they’re prepared for every meeting. I’m very lucky I’ve been able to spend time on the council with him.”
Dist. 4 alderman Chris Jenkins -“I am shocked to see Roger, who is such a pillar in our community, step away from serving, but considering the amount of time and dedication he’s put into our community over many of our lifetimes – this is a well-deserved rest. I will remember Roger as the guy who would pull me aside and give me his straight-forward unabashed opinion no matter what. He spoke up during meetings whenever he felt compelled, he attended every event and meeting he could, and his lifetime of service is one to be admired. I thank him for the opportunity to serve alongside him on the West Bend Common Council and Washington County Board and wish him and his wife nothing but the best as he enjoys retirement!”
West Bend City Administrator Jay Shambeau said Kist’s name is relatively synonymous with park land and this community. “To promote the development, use and preserving of parks and the fact he has not wavered in his opinion is really a tribute to him. He’s everywhere. He’s the longstanding West Bend member of the Mid-Moraine Municipal Association and he attends league conferences and the Alliance meetings.”
Former West Bend city clerk Amy Reuteman spent 15 years at City Hall and noted, “Roger Kist has been there forever. And he’s early; you can always count on Roger to be early.”
Thank you, Roger Kist, for your dedication and service to help make West Bend and Washington County a great community.
Property 111 – 117 N. Main Street in downtown West Bend has sold
The property in downtown West Bend that’s home to R. W. Baird & Company, 111 – 117 N. Main Street, has been sold. Ascendant Holdings has sold the building to TRS105, LLC for $650,000.
TRS105, LLC also owns the building to the south at 105-107 N. Main Street. Adam Williquette, president of American Commercial Real Estate handled the transaction for Ascendant.
This leaves Ascendant Holding with one property in downtown West Bend located at 262 N. Main Street which is also still available for sale through American.
Also, this week, an American Commercial Real Estate sign for lease was put up on the former Gehl site. This location will be home to a 68-room TownPlace Suites and 15,000 square foot office building that will break ground in spring. There is still approximately 8,000 square feet available for lease with occupancy of both properties targeted for fall 2020.
Ballot order for local races on April 7, 2020 Spring Election
The deadline to turn in candidacy papers for the April 7, 2020 Spring Election was Tuesday, January 7 and now the next task is to determine how the names are listed on the ballot.
In West Bend city clerk Stephanie Justmann oversaw the process on Wednesday afternoon at City Hall.
For the West Bend mayor’s race Rich Kasten will be listed first followed by Chris Jenkins.
District 3 alderperson will have Mary Ann Rzeszutek listed first and Brett Berquist second.
District 7 alderman will have incumbent Justice Madl first and Oscar Estrada second.
There is also an election in Dist. 1 and Dist. 5 however those seats are uncontested. Incumbent John Butschlick is running again in Dist. 1 and Jed Dolnick is running for alderman in Dist. 5.
The mayor’s seat carries a 3-year term in office and aldermen are elected to 2-year terms.
In the Village of Kewaskum there are four people running for three seats on the Village Board. They are all elected at-large on a non-partisan ballot to two-year terms.
Sarah Severance (I), Richard Knoebel (I), Richard Laubach (I), Rob Klein
In Washington County there are 26 seats on the County Board up for election and in five of those districts there are contested races.
In the Germantown School District, there are two seats open; No. 3 and No. 5. For seat No. 3, Lester Spies is the incumbent and running against Amanda Reinemann. For seat No. 5, incumbent Bob Soderberg is running against Tracy Pawlak.
Fire sprinklers activated following smoke at The Pavilion at Glacier Valley in Slinger
There was a bit of smoke and at The Pavilion at Glacier Valley, 1900 American Eagle Drive, on Monday afternoon, January 6. Slinger Police Captain Joshua Gullickson said the initial call came in at 4:20 p.m.
The call was for a sprinkler system activation. “When officers arrived, smoke was visible but no flames,” said Gullickson. “Slinger Fire Department was dispatched to the scene and the cause of the sprinkler activation was an overheat malfunction of a heating unit in one wing of the facility.”
Gullickson said residents were moved to a different part of the building. No injuries were reported to residents, staff or emergency responders. The Pavilion is described as “short-term rehabilitation, respite and long-term care.”
January 7 West Bend Plan Commission public hearing for No. 5 Kwik Trip postponed
Just received word the agenda for the Tuesday, January 7 West Bend Plan Commission has changed. The 6:01 p.m. public hearing for a request for a conditional use permit to allow a gas station use at 1613 and 1637 W. Washington Street, by Leah Berlin Kwik Trip Inc. has been rescheduled and it will be held at the February Plan Commission meeting instead.
City officials said the public hearing was postponed because there were a number of items Kwik Trip still needed to address and it would be easier to reschedule the meeting so all items could be discussed.
Kwik Trip will also be organizing a neighborhood meeting soon to answer questions from the community. Stay tuned. The public meeting is held in the council chambers and at City Hall.
Brett Berquist files to run in Dist. 3 for West Bend Common Council
The deadline is Tuesday, January 7, 2020, for all candidates to file paperwork and signatures if they plan on participating in the April 7, 2020 Spring Election. According to the Wisconsin Election Commission Washington County Circuit Court Judge Branch 2 Justice James K. Muehlbauer has filed the appropriate number of signatures to run again.
In West Bend another candidate filed papers to run for common council. Brett Berquist will be running for District 3 alderman. Berquist, 59, is a former West Bend Police Officer. A life-long resident of West Bend and Washington County.
“I worked as a prison guard, at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and I was at Moraine Park and then I was sworn into the West Bend Police Department in 1994 and worked 20 years for the city and retired in 2014,” he said.
Berquist also went overseas as a member of National Guard. “I went to Iraq in 2003 -2004,” he said. “I was there for 14 months total.”
After retirement Berquist said he was looking for something to do and wanted to get back to serving the community. “I’ve always been about service,” he said. “My career was part of it and the military; when I got out of police work, I found a new connection with my faith and it’s good timing to give back.”
Berquist said he spent seven hours recently collecting signatures. “I managed to get two blocks in my district,” he said. Some of the hot topics were roads and the special assessment for neighbors following construction on 18th Avenue.
“As far as roads are concerned if we want to have good stuff, we have to pay for it,” he said. “Bottom line is we would like to be fiscally conservative and keep taxes low but there are also requirements.”
Berquist said this is his first time running for a political position.
He called his former co-worker, interim mayor Steve Hoogester, for advice. “This isn’t about me or an ego it’s about doing the right thing,” he said.
Incumbent Dist. 3 alderman Andrew Chevalier turned in his non-candidacy papers on Dec. 11, 2019. Chevalier followed in his father’s footsteps and was elected to the council in April 2018.
There will be a race for the seat in Dist. 3 as Mary Ann Rzeszutek filed a declaration of candidacy in December.
New restaurant in Germantown makes list of Top New Restaurants in 2019
Congrats to Chef Jodi Kanzenbach of Germantown as her restaurant, Precinct Tap & Table, has made the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel list of the Top New Restaurants in 2019.
Reporter Carol Deptolla writes: Much of the menu is shareable plates that change with the seasons or when the chef wants to try something new — things like ginger chicken in crisp tempura with mango sticky rice, or shrimp with rice cakes browned in miso and butter, curry pickles on the side. It’s good to see a chef bring the sort of plates to a suburban restaurant that neighbors would have had to drive downtown for before.
It was May 2019 when Kanzenbach announced on WashingtonCountyInsider.com that she was closing Cafe Seourette in downtown West Bend and investing in a new location in Germantown, W161N11629 Church Street.
April 2020 contest for District 3 on Hartford Common Council
There will be a race for alderman in Hartford in spring. Three of the aldermanic seats are up for election. Dennis Hegy, alderperson in District 2 is running again as is Jeff Turchi in District 1. Both will be unopposed.
In District 3, Hartford City Council President Barry Wintringer filed non-candidacy. He has been in office nine years.
As of the 5 p.m. deadline tonight there were two people who filed papers for that district including Kyle Sikora and Kathy Isleb. Some may recognize Isleb’s name; she used to be an alderperson several years back. Ironically Isleb was the incumbent in District 3 when she lost to challenger Barry Wintringer in 2011. The race in District 3 in Hartford will be on the April 7, 2020 ballot.
Updates & Tidbits
-Two Catholic schools in West Bend are inviting the community to come visit and learn about the great educational opportunity available. St. Frances Cabrini School, 529 Hawthorn Drive, is hosting a pancake breakfast and open house on Sunday, January 26 from 8:30 a.m. – noon. Holy Angels School, 230 N. Eighth Avenue, is holding an open house and kindergarten roundup from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 26.
-On Wednesday evening, January 8, the Hartford Police and Fire Commission unanimously approved the appointment of Scott MacFarlan as the eighth Police Chief in Hartford history. MacFarlan is currently the Administrative Lieutenant at the HPD. He has held this position for the past 13 years. MacFarlan has been with the HPD a total of 24 years. He will replace Chief David Groves who will retire February 10, 2020. Groves served as Chief of Police since July 27, 2006.
– Auto Safety Center and Interfaith Caregivers teamed up this past holiday to collect food for the Full Shelf Food Pantry in West Bend. On Friday, January 3 the locally owned Auto Safety Center and the non-profit pooled their donations and turned them over to the Full Shelf Food Pantry. Many thanks to everyone who participated.
– Beginning January 1, 2020, Tony Burgard assumed the position of Fire Chief for the Richfield Volunteer Fire Company after being elected in December 2019. Chief Burgard takes over for Chief John Schmitz, who retired at the end of 2019.
– Learn why excellent Christian schooling is the No. 1 choice for families today. Take a tour during the January 21 Open House at Ozaukee Christian School, 1214 Highway 33, West Bend.
Small, safe classes, develop resilient Christ-followers, teachers go the extra mile for you and your child, need-based financial aid available (up to $100,000) Open House is TUESDAY, JANUARY 21, at 6:30 p.m.
– The Hartford Rotary Club and Hartford Union High School are pleased to announce that Abigail Holappa, Katie Pulvermacher and Bryce Zimdars were honored recently as Rotary Students of the Month.
– Cedar Community annual Chili Social and Used Book Sale is January 25. Enjoy chicken quesadillas, our famous chili with all the fixings (corn chips, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, jalapenos, and onions), fruit, cookie, coffee, lemonade, or hot apple cider–all for only $8.50. Quarts of chili to go for $8. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Grand Hall – Cedar Community, Cedar Ridge Campus, 113 Cedar Ridge Drive, West Bend
Letter to the Editor | Is Washington County Board proposed development putting local farming at risk | By Elaine Gehring
I am writing to express serious concern about the agenda item on Wednesday’s County Board Meeting agenda regarding the issue of seeking annexation of the golf course property by the City of Hartford. I believe that the decision made on this issue reaches much farther than the golf course property itself.
The golf course property is the gateway that opens the way for further long-range development into valuable existing farmland north of the City of Hartford. I believe the county supervisors need to carefully consider this annexation issue and the delicate balance between city development and the agricultural economy of Washington County.
I understand that change is inevitable and agree with Supervisor McCune when he stated at a recent Executive Committee Meeting that “we could be looking at something completely different 20 years from now with the game of golf.” Supervisor McCune also stressed the need for flexibility in the use of this golf course property; however, please consider how this whole issue has developed.
Earlier this year, the Town of Hartford Zoning Board refused to rezone a three-acre parcel just west of the Family Park so that several lots could be developed and sold. When that Board declined to approve the rezoning, the response by Supervisor McCune was to bring forth to the Executive Committee the discussion on seeking annexation for all of the county-owned land at that location, including the golf course. For many of us taxpayers looking on, this has rapidly grown from a small issue into an enormous question with significant long-lasting impacts.
These impacts could endanger the future of rural agriculture in the immediate area for years to come – long past the 20 years referred to by Supervisor McCune. It is no secret many farmers in our area and all around Wisconsin are struggling; part of that struggle involves the farmers’ ability to rent or secure enough acreage to maintain their dairy herds. For dairy farmers, their milk checks are their primary income – if they can’t grow and provide enough feed for their herds, they are out of business.
So how does this relate to the annexation of the County’s golf course by the City of Hartford? Annexation by the City of Hartford isn’t just about flexibility or the capability to hook up utilities.
As I mentioned earlier, the golf course property serves as the gateway for further annexation by the City of Hartford and further residential development into valuable existing farmland – farmland that currently enables local farmers to feed their herds and stay in business. Currently the surrounding farmland is protected from development because the golf course property is within the Town of Hartford, so adjoining land cannot be annexed; the proposed annexation would change that.
Perhaps that development will come in the future and may even be necessary – but today’s not that day…
This issue will be discussed at the County Board meeting this Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. at the Washington County Administrative Building on Hwy 33 – please consider attending the meeting or contacting County Board Supervisors to ask them to vote no to this resolution or at least to table the resolution to provide opportunity and time for further consideration and for a public meeting and taxpayer input.
Please help us protect the delicate balance that exists in Washington County between city development and the valuable agricultural economy.
Elaine Gehring Hartford
Letter to the Editor | County Board proposed annexation in Town of Hartford could challenge future of farming | By Derik Gehring
I am a seventh-generation dairy farmer in the Town of Hartford. I hope you can take a minute to read this.
I don’t know the full story or background on this issue, but I just learned about this new challenge to the future of farming and agriculture in our area, as well as the country lifestyle the residents of rural areas enjoy, and I thought you’d want to be aware of it.
The County Board is moving toward asking Hartford to annex the golf course and will be discussing it at the County Board Meeting this Wednesday.
The golf course is currently within the Town of Hartford. Recently the Town’s zoning board refused to rezone the Family Park and some land on Clover Road to residential as the County wanted to sell lots there. The follow-up is that the Executive Committee is now pushing to have the City annex the whole golf course and take it out of the control of the Town of Hartford completely.
As Hartford Mayor Michalak makes clear in a West Bend Times Press article, this will clear the way for annexation and further development of land beyond the golf course. The issue I see with developing land leads to further loss of valuable land for agriculture and the country lifestyle for the rest of the Town residents. It appears that the value/needs of rural and agricultural interests in our county are taking a backseat to city development. Annexation by the City of Hartford of the golf course opens the door to such development.
This issue appears to be on a fast track with the issue going to the County Board on Wednesday. At the very least, it seems this should be put on hold to provide opportunity for taxpayer input and public meetings, etc. As concerned citizens have asked county supervisors in the past, about other issues, what’s the rush?!
***As a concerned citizen of the Town of Hartford, please consider contacting county supervisors and ask them to vote No on the annexation of land to the City of Hartford.
I will be sharing the contact info of the supervisors in the comments, but here is a link to the contact information of the county supervisors: www.co.washington.wi.us/departments.iml…
Open the “Supervisors” tab and “more” opens their email address you can click and send your comments to. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO VOICE YOUR OPINION TO THEM! They need to be asked to vote No on the annexation of the golf course to the City of Hartford.
The county board meeting takes place THIS WEDNESDAY January 8, 2020 at 6p.m. at the Washington County Courthouse in West Bend, WI. The public is welcome and may or may not get a chance to speak, but presence will show how important this issue is to us. If you would like to attend, you may.
Feel free to share the information to others. Thank you and have a great day!
Derik Gehring Town of Hartford
Letter to the Editor | Town of Hartford residents push back on development proposal by County Board | By Karen and Greg Romagna
This is in response to the Washington County Board wanting to have the City of Hartford annex the Washington County Golf Course and the Family Park.
Contrary to what Mr. Michalak says, we in the Town of Hartford around the golf course are not interested in having further development around the golf course and do not wish to be part of the City of Hartford now or in the future.
We are rural and agriculture land. As Mr. Michalak makes clear annexing will clear the way for there to be further development of land beyond the golf course than the Town of Hartford rules allow, meaning loss of valuable rural and agricultural land in order that the City of Hartford can expand.
We are in the subdivision east of the golf course in the Town of Hartford and wish to remain rural and do not want to have subdivisions going up around us with barely half-acre lots and tons of houses and more loss of farming land.
This issue appears to be on the fast track with it going to the County Board on Wednesday, January 8 at 6 p.m.
What is the hurry on it, why were meetings canceled, and where is the opportunity for taxpayer and residents of the area input and public meetings, etc?
We are asking the County Board to hold off on passing the resolution until there is further discussion with all parties involved.
Thank you, Karen and Greg Romagna Ernst Dr., Town of Hartford
Letter to the Editor | Annexation followed by proposed reduction in size of Washington County Board | By Diane Pedersen
Recently I read two Letters to the Editor regarding annexing the Washington County Golf Course from the Town of Hartford into the City of Hartford.
While that may not seem like a big issue to some it means the golf property would be subject to the zoning rules of City of Hartford. That might just be the tip of the iceberg as adjoining properties could then be annexed into the City based on WI State Statutes for new development reducing the size of towns.
In addition to the golf course issue it is important to know your Washington County Board of Supervisors has discussed reduction of the number of districts, reducing the number of Supervisors. How does that affect you?
Currently there are 26 Supervisor Districts and district borders are determined by calculating each district with a similar population number. Currently nine (9) district Supervisors represent towns. The remaining 17 Supervisors represent cities and villages.
The current Washington County population is approximately 135,000 resulting in approximately 5,200 residents per district. If the districts are reduced to 21 the result is approximately 6,450 residents per district. Where will the approximately 1, 250 residents come from to determine the new districts? It could be worse if the number of districts is less than 21.
One possible plan could be to expand all the districts within current cities and villages. If that is the ultimate outcome all the Washington County Board of Supervisors would come from cities and villages. Residents who live in towns would not have a county representative who thinks and supports town and agricultural culture.
If the idea of NO representation for residents living in towns bothers you, call ALL 26 Washington County Supervisors and let them know your concerns.
Just 26 phone calls to let your voice be heard. Phone numbers can be found by clicking HERE.
Diane Pedersen Richfield
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