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Development, budgets on candidates' minds

March 11, 2014

Franklin — Residents Susanne Mayer and John Nelson are in the race for the District 6 aldermanic seat April 1.

Incumbent Ken Skowronski became a state representative in the fall, and will not seek re-election to the Common Council.

Susanne Mayer

Mayer, who operates multiple businesses in the region, believes she can bring a "fresh perspective" and more transparency to the Common Council.

"My main concern is granting our constituents a voice," Mayer said. "I often hear of incidences in which residents feel like they've been railroaded by decisions made by the council."

Mayer said she could also help represent Franklin's female demographic, noting the only alderwoman on the seven-member council is Kristen Wilhelm of District 3.

"I feel like they (female voters) have lost their voice and, right now, it's not really balanced," Mayer said.

As a business expert, Mayer said, her understanding of fiscal budgeting will help to make prudent decisions to restore roads, equipment, schools and parks.

Her platform also emphasizes a need for responsible commercial development.

"I'm definitely concerned about people's taxes, and development won't necessarily help to lower taxes" if the city can't find developers, Mayer said. "I'm not against development, but it needs to be in context with the economy, which is a little unsure right now to be making large decisions."

All development considerations "need to be weighed, balanced and considered carefully," she added. "We shouldn't develop just because we can, but because it will be beneficial for the future."

John Nelson

Nelson, the safety and security manager for Milwaukee County Parks, has served 20 years in law enforcement and public safety roles.

He understands the need for quality services like the Franklin Police and Fire departments and wants to maintain those high standards if elected to the council, he said.

"We have great services, but there is a cost associated with having the best," he said, emphasizing that, as a fiscal conservative, he does not take spending lightly.

"I believe every taxpayer dollar needs to be transparent and justifiable," Nelson said. "We all have a vested right in knowing how our money is spent."

In order to follow through with that transparency, Nelson aims to speak with the community outside of Common Council meetings as well as to stand firm on his decisions.

As an alderman, "you need to make tough decisions, whether they're popular or not," he said. "You can't just hide behind a political cover; decisions need to be made.

"We need to make sure we get the best bang for our buck or we need to hold off on it, so that we use those taxpayer dollars responsibly."

To help retain business and to meet the commercial/residential 70-30 tax base ratio, Nelson wants to make the permitting process less difficult in order to appeal to new businesses, he said.

"Permits are there for safety reasons, but do we need to take it to the point of being unreasonable?" he said. "Our city puts up challenges to getting permits, and we don't want to make it too difficult for (potential) businesses to move in."

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