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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:  

Country Christmas Outdoor Drive-through Lights Display: Nov. 27-30, Dec. 5-31. Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Wisconsin’s largest drive-through holiday lights event features more than a million holiday lights along a mile-long trail that winds through the woods, Includes animated figures and holiday scenes. Call (262) 970-5398 for details. $15-$25. $15 per carload, $25 limo, mini-coach or large van. www.thecountrychristmas.com

 World’s Greatest Cookie Sale: Noon-4 p.m.  Nov. 28, Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Sale features homemade holiday cookies and baked goods in many varieties. Entertainment includes magic shows, cookie and cupcake decorating, face painting, holiday coloring contest and Santa and Mrs. Claus. Sale ends at 4 p.m. For more information on the World’s Greatest Cookie Sale, call Country Springs, (262) 547-0201 or visit thecountrychristmas.com/cookiesale. Free.

 German Christmas Market: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Nov. 28, 29 and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 30, Downtown Oconomowoc, 100 E. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc. Celebrate Wisconsin’s heritage at this family festival that features heated tents, German beer, music, live bands, authentic German food, vendors, Santa and more. Free http://www.germanchristmasmarket.org. 

 Oconomowoc Winter Farmers Market: 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 30, Oconomowoc Landscape Supply & Garden Center, County Road K, Oconomowoc. Features local seasonally grown produce and artisan food products.  www.oconomowoc.org.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings.