Boots & Sabers

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Tag: Randy Koehler

Randy Koehler Returns to City Government

From the Washington County Insider.

Randy Koehler returns to West Bend government: This past April former Dist. 4 alderman Randy Koehler stepped down from local government after losing the April 7 election.

Now, three short months later, Koehler is back and on Monday the West Bend Common Council will approve several mayoral appointments as Koehler will be added to a handful of committees including the Board of Zoning Appeals, the Ethics Committee and the Redevelopment Authority.

Monday’s meeting gets underway at 6:30 p.m.

Koehler was approved by all three committees tonight. This is great for West Bend! Koehler is a smart, conservative guy who has, and will, serve the community well.

A Note from Randy Koehler

Randy Koehler, the District 4 Alderman of West Bend who just lost reelection, asked me to share this note. Koehler is a class act whose service on the board was commendable. So while he thanks us, the citizens of West Bend, I encourage all of you to thank him. He’s earned our thanks.

Thank you!

I wish to thank all of my supporters and each and every employee in the city of West Bend especially the West Bend Firefighters who faithfully supported me throughout my years of serving. The past 4 years have been rewarding in many ways and none of the things we accomplished would have been possible without the support of many. I originally campaigned on reworking our city budget to simplify the process and produce a document that was understandable, 4 years ago our budget came in a 4” ring binder and was difficult to decipher, today our budget comes in a half full 1” binder and is easy to read and understand.

I thank each of the city employees who contributed to this change and much thanks to Steve Volkert and Carrie Winklebauer for their efforts. I also vowed to be independent and approachable; to this day I have always answered phone calls and emails and stayed true to the independent thinking I promised.  I vowed to get a sidewalk installed along Highway G and we are currently in the process of completing the legal work and bidding for this project, if all goes as planned we should see that completed for next school year. I have had the opportunity to ride a garbage truck, tag along on a police patrol, ride along on a rescue call, tour our water and wastewater facilities, chat with Parks and Forestry workers, meet with streets and Water personnel, attend the WBPD Citizens Academy and had the opportunity to get to know many of the city employee’s. I can truly say our employees are the greatest asset in our city and I thank each and every one of them for all they do.

I was also afforded the opportunity to work with many elected officials and even when we disagreed on an issue each of them was professional and respectful, I will continue to work with many of them on issues facing our city. I truly enjoyed the past four years and I thank each and every resident for the opportunity to serve them. I will walk away as district 4 alderman with my head held high knowing I did my best to make a difference, now I ask that each of you join me in supporting our local elected officials and help make this city better in any way we can.

Thank you West Bend

Conservative choices in the 4th aldermanic district

My column for the West Bend Daily News is online. Here it is:

Of all of the elections on the ballot next month in West Bend, perhaps the most interesting one is also the smallest. The voters in the 4th aldermanic district of the city of West Bend will make a choice that is symbolic in the recent history of the city’s Common Council.

For many years, West Bend’s city government had been an insular, lethargic, somewhat typical small city body where everyone seemed to go along to get along. Taxes crept up most years without much fuss and the size and scope of city government followed the trajectory that its own momentum created.

In 2007, things began to change. In the heat of a particularly obnoxious appointment for a mayoral replacement that reeked of the “good ole’ boy” network at play, many conservative citizens of West Bend decided that they had had enough and wanted their city to reflect their values. It began with the election in April 2008 when conservatives Tony Turner and Richard Lindbeck were elected to the council over the more centrist incumbents. That gave conservatives a majority on the Common Council that they have held ever since. That conservative majority has strengthened and now includes Mayor Kraig Sadownikow.

The results of conservative city leadership have been impressive. West Bend has not had a tax increase in this decade. The budget has been balanced. City debt has been reduced. Meanwhile, the police station was expanded, city services have been maintained and city employees are seeing a pay raise this year. Conservative leadership works.

The alderman for district 4, Randy Koehler, has been part of this conservative revival. He defeated one of the incumbent liberal aldermen — Nick Dobberstein, in 2011 — solidifying the conservative majority. Koehler voted for several of those no-tax-increase budgets, supported library board members whose values were more in line with the public, backed many of the positive reforms in city government and has generally been a solid conservative voice on the council.

Last year, Koehler began to shift his message about taxes. He voted against the last city budget because the ratio of debt service in that budget. Koehler also began saying that the council should consider tax increases as one of many options on the table. Koehler has never advocated for a tax increase, but he has said repeatedly that a tax increase should be considered while not offering any further solutions for otherwise balancing the budget.

In August, Koehler announced that he was not going to run for re-election. On that news, Chris Jenkins, whom Koehler defeated in the primary in 2011, stepped into the race. Koehler changed his mind in November and decided to run after all, setting up the contest between Jenkins and himself in April.

Jenkins is no stranger to running for office. At age 25, he already has two unsuccessful races under his belt including a run for mayor when he was 18. Jenkins is a vocal conservative of the libertarian bent with a passion for public service. He has recently shown his conservative mettle as the president of the West Bend Library Board. Jenkins has garnered an impressive array of endorsements including Rep. Bob Gannon, former alderman Tony Turner, Common Sense Citizens President Paula Becker, School Board members Randy Marquardt and Rick Parks, and many others.

Jenkins can add me to that list of supporters. Koehler has been a good conservative alderman who can be proud of his service to his constituents. His two terms have been marked by many achievements for which we can all be proud. But his recent openness to tax increases and lack of concrete initiatives for further reforms or economic development do not bode well for a third term. There might come a time when the Common Council will have to come to the taxpayers and ask them to approve a tax increase or risk vital city services, but we are not near that time yet.

In contrast, Jenkins’ firm stance against tax increases and passion for reform would bring a fresh perspective to the Common Council and continue the conservative revival of our city. Once again the voters of West Bend’s 4th district are privileged to choose between two conservative leaders. This time they should choose Chris Jenkins.

Randy Koehler’s Comments

Randy Koehler, the incumbent West Bend alderman for District 4, drafted a letter to the citizens of West Bend

As your District 4 alderman I wish to explain the facts surrounding the notion that I advocate for raising taxes.

Each quarter we are given a financial update and forecast to track our current and future budget. For the past year we have been given information that shows the city tax rate increasing by $1.43 beginning with a 47-cent increase in year 2016. I only asked that the issue be placed on the table and discussed so the public is fully aware of the challenges we face.

As proven by my voting record over the past 3.5 years, I have never asked for nor voted for a tax increase, I have only asked that the issue be discussed so as to not catch our citizens by surprise if it ultimately has to happen.

I will continue to work with our city leaders to reduce expenses, increase revenues, create operating efficiencies and find creative solutions to keep our taxes flat.

Since 2012 we have seen $35.1 million in new investment in our city, 275 new jobs and the retention of 341 jobs. The total cost to operate the city in 2011 was $28.7 million, in 2015 it is $25.5 million a reduction of more than $3 million and the number of full-time employees has gone down from 260 to 213.

I have and will continue to be the person you elected by staying independent and voting as a taxpayer and citizen of this city. Proven experience and proven knowledge results in an effective leader. I look forward to serving you and ask that you vote based upon facts and not upon hearsay and misconception.

Randy Koehler West Bend

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.



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