VoteButtonFlag webBy Gail Peckler-Dziki

In February, Silver Lake voters narrowed the Village Board field from seven to six in the primary election.

On April 5, voters will decide on three Village trustees, including two incumbents, a previous trustee and two running for the first time.

The candidates, listed in alphabetical order, followed up with the Report as the election nears:

Laura Francart

This is Laura Francart’s first foray into local politics. She is 34 years old and a Wilmot High School graduate.

She has a BS in Education from UW Milwaukee and a MA in Education from Alverno and currently teaches at Racine Unified.

“As the election nears, I have had some opportunities to speak with citizens in the community,” she recently wrote, “and what their thoughts are on our lack of business and the excitement over what we have currently.”

Francart would like to see Lake Street become a commercial center of Silver Lake that will draw local residents and visitors from elsewhere.

“After all,” she said, “Silver Lake is the halfway point between Kenosha and Lake Geneva. We need a plan of action made for development in Silver Lake and future ideas.”

Francart would also like to see a continuation of shared services with surrounding communities and a strengthening of ties in Western Kenosha County.

“While there is progress being made on improving our park system,” Francart said, “I’d like to see a list of action items that will be done and a suggestion box for village members to place in thoughts and ideas. Our parks are here to provide our families a safe environment and overall promote the well being of the Village of Silver Lake.”

Kimberly Gerber

This is also Kimberly Gerber’s first run for office. She is 30 and a graduate of Wilmot High School.

She graduated from UW-Milwaukee in 2007 with a BA, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Post Baccalaureate Teaching Certificate Program in 2009.

Gerber currently teaches at Bradford High School in Kenosha since 2014.

Gerber recently wrote, “The future challenges for Silver Lake are how and where services will be provided. The current board has dismantled many of the services that made Silver Lake great. They disbanded the Silver Lake Police Department, closed the Silver Lake branch of the public Library, got rid of water patrol and even gave away our fire department to Salem.”

Gerber said she wants to see Silver Lake working with other surrounding communities and not only Salem.

Gerber stated that current agreements for services were hastily done and did not properly involve Silver Lake residents.

“I don’t think all options and ramifications were evaluated,” she wrote. “This is not the kind of government I want to live under, nor do I want to be involved in. I want to bring back open and honest government. I want to feel good about the decisions I am making and I want to know that my village will become stronger as a result.”

Roger Johnson (Inc.)

Incumbent Roger Johnson, 201 W. Depot St., is 62 years old and has served as trustee and village president.

Johnson is a Tremper high school graduate and works currently in sales as Palmen Buick, GMC Cadillac in Kenosha.

“I have always had the best interest of the village at heart,” Johnson said. “I have the knowledge and experience of applying for grants and programs to help maintain our village infrastructure. If re-elected, I will continue to work tirelessly to move Silver Lake forward by strengthening and rebuilding our dismantled services.”

Eldon Johnston

Eldon Johnston, 68, previously served four terms on the Silver Lake village board.

He believes one of the biggest challenges for the village will be “to maintain services and at the same time hold down property taxes. For example we were budgeting around $50,000 a year for fire and rescue services.

“The board signed a contract with Salem for $160,000 with yearly increases for fire and rescue services. The board signed a contract with the Sheriff’s Department for police service with no tax savings and we lost about 28 hours of patrol time a week.”

When asked if those 28 hours of patrol are missed, Johnston said that it was too early to tell. “We need to wait until this summer, to see what happens when the bars close.”

“The board did not budget any money for water patrol even though the DNR reimburses Silver Lake 60-70 percent of the cost. Silver Lake started patrolling the lake because the residents were unhappy with the service from Salem.”

Johnston would like to see the village actively pursue growth through annexation. “I know of one business and several other people who would like to annex into Silver Lake,” he said.

Johnston also believes the village ought to hire an administrator to handle the day-to-day village operations and to write grants.

“In less that one year,” Johnston wrote, “Silver Lake has lost the Police Department and Fire Department. Silver Lake Rescue Squad is contracted through Salem Fire Department. We have lost our branch library and no money has been budgeted for water patrol. We cannot keep giving away our services. With smart management, Silver Lake could have maintained the same quality of the services with less cost to our taxpayers.”

Bob Raymond

Newcomer Bob Raymond, 655 Fifth Ct., 56, has a BA Business Administration and Psychology and has worked for over 32 years in various types public works services.

Raymond noted the significant changes in the village in the past year and that those changes affect the future of the village.

“How we as a village move forward with it,” he commented, “and ultimately more change will be a challenge, a rewarding one, yet a challenge. Positive things are happening in Silver Lake.”

He believes that his experience “With my experience and skills in public works and municipal government give him the ability to move the village forward in a positive way.

Daniel Withers (Inc.)

Incumbent Daniel A. Withers, 930 E. Oak St., 36, was appointed by the board in 2015 to fill a vacancy.

He said, “Over the past six months, I have sought out opportunities to reduce the operating cost of the Village.”

He holds a BS in Aviation and Business Administration. He is also in the process of completing an MBA in Organizational Leadership.

Withers is a technical product support specialist for a leading industrial supply company.

Withers explained, “I would like to continue the progress the board has made over the past year and to concentrate my energy on the effective and efficient use of taxpayer dollars to further reduce village operating cost and the tax burden on residents.”

Withers said he wants to continue using his organizational skills to make government more efficient and responsive to residents.


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