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Candidates try balancing quality of life with fiscal responsibility

Four residents vie for two trustee seats

March 2, 2011

Fox Point — The four candidates vying for the two open spots this spring on the Fox Point Village Board agree the future of the Bridge Lane ravine footbridge and stabilization of property taxes are among the most important issues in the community.

Incumbents Bill Warner and Don Zien are facing newcomers Kevin Behl and Christine Symchych for the trustee positions, which carry a three-year term and are unpaid.

Getting involved

Behl said he felt compelled to throw his hat in the ring because he enjoys living in Fox Point and wants to continue maintaining the quality of life he and fellow residents have been able to enjoy.

"I really like the community and want to make sure that it stays the community I've come to like over time," Behl said. "I decided I can't just be one of those people who complains, so I wanted to be a part of the process."

Behl has served on a number of professional boards and committees, including a Business Improvement District in downtown Milwaukee. The roles, he said, have given him a broad perspective he could draw from if elected to the Village Board.

Behl said he is concerned about holding the line on taxes, yet working to maintain the level of services residents have come to expect over time.

Symchych said she has a desire to be more involved in the community and wants to have a part in making decisions that impact everyone in Fox Point.

"I have a general interest in civic involvement," said Symchych, who is involved in other activities in the greater Milwaukee area, including a role as trustee on the board overseeing the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Symchych said she believes in fiscal responsibility and, if elected, would do her part in making sure all department heads are making prudent decisions when it comes to spending taxpayer money. She said her professional role as a municipal planner would be a benefit to the board.

"The reality is the village has had to cut back," she said. "But at the same time, there is pride because there is a high level of service in the community."

Warner is completing his third term in office and is currently active on six village-related committees. Since he is retired, Warner said he has the time to devote and believes he can be an effective board member because of fewer distractions.

"I have an education in political science, and I think that's always helped me as I make decisions on the board," Warner said.

Tough choices ahead

The state of two regarded, yet aging, amenities - the municipal pool and the footbridge along Bridge Lane - are important issues in the community, Warner said.

"We've got to make a decision on the bridge at some point, and that will involve a long, hard look," Warner said. "We also have to talk about the pool, which is deteriorating quickly. We need to think about how it's going to be used in the future."

Zien, who is completing his first full term in office, said he wanted to run for re-election because his first run for office was satisfying.

"I've found it rewarding, and I think there's still some work I'd like to be a part of," Zien said. "There's unfinished business."

Zien said he views the future of the footbridge and pool as important issues - but holding the line on spending is of equal importance. He pointed to his experience in business as an asset to the board when it comes to making spending decisions.

"My philosophy has always been this is the people's money," Zien said. "It's not about just ourselves, it's about everyone in Fox Point. We need to think about that when we make decisions. I believe in frugality and being practical."

Village president is also up for re-election this spring. Incumbent Mike West is running uncontested for that position, which carries a three-year term and is unpaid.

KEVIN BEHL

ADDRESS: 700 E. Daisy Lane

AGE: 43

OCCUPATION: health care administrator

YEARS IN VILLAGE: 15

CHRISTINE SYMCHYCH

ADDRESS: 7240 N. Barnett Lane

AGE: 41

OCCUPATION: municipal planner

YEARS IN VILLAGE: 1.5

BILL WARNER (I)

ADDRESS: 413 E. Willow Road

AGE: 69

OCCUPATION: retired health care executive

YEARS IN VILLAGE: 31

DON ZIEN (I)

ADDRESS: 6406 N. Berkeley Blvd.

AGE: 57

OCCUPATION: commercial real estate broker

YEARS IN VILLAGE: 22

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