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Trustee candidates face tough fiscal choices in near future

Which project should the village spend money on first?

March 17, 2010

Fox Point — Three of four candidates for village trustee maintain that protecting the bluff and enforcing regulations that limit cutting vegetation on it are critical to the community.

Incumbent Eric Fonstad and challengers Craig Kaplan and Douglas Frazer, along with incumbent Sandy Garmer, are running for two seats on the Village Board in the April 6 election.

Garmer did not respond to a reporter's messages by press deadline.

The men agree that the ordinance requiring residents to get a permit before cutting on the bluff should be rigorously enforced.

Projects awaiting decisions

The candidates see other community assets - the Ravine Lane bridge, municipal pool and the proposed expansion of the North Shore Library - more in terms of dollars and what makes sense.

Frazer prefers looking at what costs the least in the long run.

"If it (the solution) involves replacing the bridge, then maybe rebuilding the bridge in a less expensive way (is the answer)," Frazer said. "We probably could still have a bridge which is less wide and less fancy than we have now."

Kaplan says that, if he had to prioritize between the three projects, he would place the municipal pool first, North Shore Library expansion second and Ravine Lane Bridge last. To him, the pool provides well-priced entertainment for families.

"Right now we have a lot of young families in the village," said Kaplan, "and the pool provides a very economical outlet for those families."

"It's reached the point where some major rebuilding needs to be done" or it will become too expensive to operate, Fonstad said.

Frazer is also wary of the pool and its potential costs.

As for the library's expansion, Frazer says he appreciates the fact that it's a shared resource with other North Shore communities and would like to see other things shared as well.

Fonstad says all three projects need to be more closely examined by the board and villagers before any action should be taken.

Why pick them?

Kaplan said, if elected, he would like to start holding quarterly town hall meetings to let residents know about issues.

Kaplan also says the board could better handle fiscal planning, taxation and spending.

"Fees have doubled in the last two years. The village component of the property tax has increased more than any other municipality. I would put forth an ordinance that any changes in fees has to be approved by the constituents."

Fonstad says he's working with the board to control funding issues with the police, public works and other public services that the residents of Fox Point have come to expect on a daily basis. He's not deterred though.

"There are some challenging issues that we'll be facing in the near term and I look forward to being part of them," he said.

According to Frazer, the village's levy could be better managed, and in order to attract more young families he would propose lowering it.

Frazer said the greatest concern facing the village is a lack of a "fiscal livestock," declining population and difficulty in attracting new families. Frazer says the answer is to lower taxes.

Trustees serve three-year terms and are not compensated.

Trustee F. R. Dengel III, 803 E Calumet Road, who was appointed to the Village Board in August, is unopposed in the race for a two-year term.

Craig Kaplan

Age: 55

Address: 8118 N Links Way

Contacts: (414) 460-3798; quantum-connection@wi.rr.com

Public Offices: first attempt at public office

Douglas Frazer

Age: 52

Address: 6405 N. Berkeley Blvd.

Contacts: (262) 754-2850; dhf@dewittross.com

Public Offices: first attempt at public office

Eric Fonstad (i)

Age: 62

Address: 7405 N. Beach Drive

Contacts: (414) 540-0288; efonstad@wi.rr.com

Public Offices: first public office held

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