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Lisbon Chairman Gehrke to seek third term to finish policies, fiscal work

Town Board will discuss Fischer vacancy

Nov. 27, 2012

Town of Lisbon - Town Chairman Matt Gehrke, citing "multiple important fiscal and policy issues" that he would "like to see through," has announced he will seek a third term as town chairman.

Gehrke was initially elected to the Town Board as a supervisor in 2006.

Three years later, he challenged incumbent Chairman Mike Reid because he thought Reid's management style was divisive.

Since 2009, Gehrke has earned a reputation as a strict fiscal conservative.

He has advocated town staff reductions and cuts in payroll costs.

He has blocked the adoption of a new Pauline Haass Library cost-sharing agreement between the town and Village of Sussex because he thinks the town's share of the cost should be reduced because town residents use the library services less than village residents.

He has also argued that the town cannot afford to hire a third-shift patrol officer.

One of the important fiscal issues the town has faced has been its inability - because of state law - to increase its tax levies to match the increases in the cost of governing. State law mandates that municipal tax levy limit increases cannot be higher than the estimated rate of growth in new construction, which in the town is less than 1 percent.

Gehrke has argued one solution to the issue would be the consolidation of the Town of Lisbon with the Village of Sussex.

Voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea in an August advisory referendum. After the vote, Gehrke acknowledged he was considering not seeking re-election in order to spend more time with his family.

Gehrke also supported the idea of incorporating the town into a village government, although he initially opposed using public funds to seeking incorporation.

In his announcement last week, Gehrke said, "While the Town Board has improved Lisbon's financial standing during the past four years, there are multiple important fiscal and policy issues that Lisbon will be facing during the next two years, which I would like to see through. Therefore, I have decided to seek re-election as Town of Lisbon chairman for another term."

Gehrke's decision is likely to help set the table for the 2013 municipal elections in the town. Supervisor Joe Osterman, who was prepared to seek election as chairman if Gehrke did not run, will now probably seek re-election as town supervisor.

There is likely to be at least one candidate seeking to replace Supervisor Dan Heier, who announced earlier this year he will not seek re-election because he is moving out of state.

The Town Board was scheduled to meet Monday, Nov. 26, to determine how to fill another vacancy on the board created earlier this year by the resignation of Dan Fischer. That meeting took place after this paper went to press.

Town Administrator Jeff Musche said the town has received some applications from individuals interested in replacing Fischer.

He said the Town Board will have to decide whether to appoint someone to fill the vacancy or whether to hold a special election in conjunction with the 2013 spring municipal elections.

The board is also expected to approve a $6.3 million budget for 2013, including a $3.4 million tax levy that was approved at the annual town budget meeting last week.

The levy will result in a 3 cents per $100,000 increase in the town tax rate.

Candidates seeking election to Town Board seats can begin circulating petitions Dec.1.

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Beth Warne Quartet: 12:30 p.m. Oct. 16, Spring Creek Church, 22000 Capitol Drive, Pewaukee. Preshow lunch option includes homemade buffet starting at 11:30 a.m. Concert begins at 12:30 p.m. Reservations for lunch and concert required at www.springcreekonline.com, $10 concert only, $5 ages 5-17.

Fall Fun Festival: 10 a.m. Oct. 16-18, Shady Maple Farm, N56 W27476 Lisbon Road, Sussex. Features hay rides, pumpkin fields, pumpkin decorating, build your own scarecrow, hay bale play area, 5-acre corn maze, toddler corn maze, caramel apple making, concessions. www.shadymaplefarmwi.com

“I Love You, Your Perfect, Now Change”: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16-17; 4 p.m. Oct. 18, Theatre on Main, W359 N5920 Brown St., Oconomowoc. $18-$22. (262) 560-0564

Hawk’s Inn Historical Museum Tours: 1 p.m. Oct. 17, Hawks Inn Visitor Center, 426 Wells St., Delafield. Tour this historical inn which is on Wisconsin Landmark on the National Registry of Historic Sites. Open 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 24. Free. 

All weekend happenings