Mount Pleasant Trustee Anna Marie Clausen is running for a second term, and she faces challenger Jon Hansen. This is the first election during which residents will vote for board members according to seat numbers; trustees voted for the change last year.

Anna Marie Clausen

(i)Anna Marie Clausen, 67
5935 Taylor Avenue
Retired; Senior management in printing; Director of a non-profit; Taught at Carthage College and Gateway Technical College; MS Business Management, Cardinal Stritch University

Why are you running for this seat? 

We have made significant progress over the past two years. We have built a reputation on being “open for business”, and have a positive image. We are growing, and I wish to continue promoting that effort. I remain committed in my efforts, making informed decisions that are in the best interest of ALL residents and the long-term future of the Village. My record is proven, and I will continue to:

 Support local business and encourage economic development

 Focus on financial responsibility

 Communicate honestly and factually

 Address and respond to resident inquiries

We have come a long way, but there is still much work to do.

Name three great things about your community that you hope to build on. 

1. Mount Pleasant Day to showcase our businesses. The new Civic Affairs Committee, which I chair, hosted the first annual Mount Pleasant Day in September, 2015.

2. Complete the Pike River Pathway as a “quality of life” attraction in Mount Pleasant

3. Expand our positive image as a great place to live, and to do business

Name three challenges your community is facing and your ideas for overcoming them.

1. We are suffering from growing pains. Mount Pleasant is no longer a little town, but a dynamic village. This is a very attractive area and we have much to offer. We need to promote our parks, businesses, and events. We need to communicate and publicize all that is Mount Pleasant.

2. Balance economic development and resident concerns. Change is always difficult. And as the Village grows, this progress presents challenges. We must evaluate whether the project fits the overall plan for the village and determine if it is in an area of future growth potential. Communication with surrounding residents and businesses should be solicited and considered. Ultimately, the decision is whether the project is in the best interests of the entire community.

3. Communication. There has been criticism that the Board does not communicate. Within the past two years, executive summaries have been provided on topics before the board, in addition to the agenda. These are intended to provide a brief background of the topic before the Board. These are available to the public. Items come through committees where staff and volunteers research and evaluate the information, and only put them through to the Board when they are recommending approval. These committee meetings are also open to the public. There have been occasions when information presented at a Board meeting is mis-interpreted, or mis-quoted by audience members. Even when the correct information is provided, the erroneous information is repeated. This is disturbing.

What do you think our regional leaders can do to encourage job growth?

Over the past couple of years we have partnered with RCEDC, RAMAC, and the County Executive, as well as our state senators and representatives, to discuss job creation. They have been supportive and instrumental in getting municipalities to work together. Job growth potential would be greatly enhanced through additional collaboration and reduction or elimination of the water REC fee (charged by Racine) and possible modification of existing impact fees. The water REC fee has discouraged numerous developments and job creators from locating in Mount Pleasant. This issue should be at the forefront to enhance Mount Pleasant and Racine County’s identity as a place to do business and create jobs.

Do you support exploring a separate school district? Why or why not?

A study would provide valuable information and I voted to approve sharing the expense with Caledonia and Sturtevant to fund that study. This is critical to any decision on whether or not to form a separate district.

To look at other options, I attended a presentation by Dominic Carillo on “Education in Racine.” The Proposed Course of Action for Effective Education in Racine. The Master Plan is developed by a cross functional team of educators, business partners, and civic leaders, and calls for applying career academies pathways/connections into the district. This plan is much more practical, more cost effective and efficient, and can be implemented in the near future.

If you could implement one idea – no matter how crazy it might sound – what would it be?

Erect WELCOME to MOUNT PLEASANT banners on each of our highways coming in from I-94.

What is the best solution for funding the Highway V sewer and water project?

Early on the Village Board took steps to limit the financial impact to the residents, including changing the ordinance to remove the requirement to connect sewer within one year, and to use a single contractor to reduce cost and potential coordination issues. There is currently a proposal to defer assessments for both water and sewer for twenty years, without interest, unless a “triggering event” occurs. Once a “triggering event” occurs, payment options are available. It should be noted that agricultural lots are deferred indefinitely until a triggering event occurs. The dollar figures for the assessments are being calculated. There will be two additional opportunities to receive information and for discussion: Public Hearing at 7 PM on Monday, March 21; Special meeting at 6 PM on Wednesday, March 23. While I am mindful of the financial impact on the residents of Highway V, the terms being considered are fair and reasonable. Highway V residents should pay reasonable fees for the sewer and water as there is benefit from having access to municipal water and sewer, including fire protection, and increased property value in the future.

How should the village address fire department staffing and/or station location(s) to answer residents’ concerns about high response times?

Chief Stedman answered this concern at the Village Board meeting, and in a Journal Times interview. Fire Department staffing is his responsibility, and as he stated, he adjusted the crews to better serve our community. While there are varying response times within the Village, there are no “high response” areas. Longer responses occur when the closest unit is otherwise occupied, or one of our units is called outside of our area. Building more fire stations and adding personnel would take several million dollars.

To quote Chief Stedman, “We do the best job we can. We use the resources we have.” Safety and security of our residents is a priority, and I support Chief Stedman.

Some residents are questioning the transparency of both elected leaders and staff members. Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?

Much of the work of the village business is done in committees. Committees have elected leaders and a staff member or two. Projects are researched, discussed and evaluated here. If the committee deems it appropriate, the project is recommended to the Village Board for approval. Committee meetings are open to the public as well. Times and locations are posted for anyone to attend. In the past two years, executive summaries have been made available to those who attend the board meetings. They are intended to provide a brief overview of the project for the audience. There are no “secrets.” Closed sessions are held as prescribed by the state statute, when personnel, legal, or other matters are being discussed.

Jon Hansen

Jon Hansen, 54
624 Highway V
Racine County reserve deputy sheriff; Associate’s degree, police science, Gateway Technical College

Why are you running for this seat? 

I am running for Mount Pleasant Trustee because I care about our community and I want to see it thrive. We need responsible and responsive leadership, revitalization efforts and spending priorities. We can build a better future for everyone if we put politics aside and come together to address our Village’s challenges. I will listen to and partner with the residents of Mount Pleasant to represent our community at all levels. Together, we can create a vibrant, strong community that makes us proud.

Name three great things about your community that you hope to build on. 

Our Village’s tax incremental districts are well positioned for any type of business, and I would be diligent in attracting new and quality development for a sustainable community. I would build on the land use plan, continuing to add nature trails and connecting bike trails along the Pike River. Our great network of parks in Mount Pleasant and Racine County provides a means to better quality of life for our community and makes us an attractive destination. Maintaining what makes Mount Pleasant unique is important in keeping the character of our village.

Mt. Pleasant residents – whether they’ve lived here their entire lives or are newer to our community — care about their neighbors and the greater good of their home town. They are simply looking for village leaders who value their hard work and contributions, repaying it with responsible, transparent local government leadership.

Name three challenges your community is facing and your ideas for overcoming them.

Public Safety

The top priority of any local government should be to keep its citizens safe. We have many areas of the village where Fire and EMS response times need to be addressed and reduced. Fire Station #8 is disadvantaged when it comes to response times to certain parts of the village because it was not properly positioned. It is critical that our fire stations or any new stations created be strategically placed where they can be the most effective at what they do which is protecting our residents, visitors and businesses.

We must also consider any new public safety programs such as PulsePoint as an additional layer of public safety protection. PulsePoint was brought to the attention of Chief Stedman and a trustee on the Fire/EMS Commission almost a year ago and nothing was done. Elmwood Park is now looking at Pulsepoint. Mt. Pleasant missed an important opportunity to lead on this crucial issue. It is important that we invest the time, effort and oversight in these areas to ensure these critical services are in the best interests of our community.

Economic Development, Growth, and Job Creation

A prosperous community requires diligence in attracting new, quality development for family-supporting jobs and business growth opportunities. The development and growth process should be open and honest from the beginning, with the residents having a voice in decisions, and great consideration given to the impacts for residents and the greater community in terms of public safety and quality of living.

Economic development improves property values, strengthens the tax base and typically improves or enhances the quality of life. Growth must be proactively managed, consistent with the village’s comprehensive plan, at a level required to maintain our village and the services expected by the residents.

Fiscal Responsibility

I am committed to putting our village on a sound and sustainable fiscal path by wisely investing in the areas of public safety, economic development, infrastructure, and transportation. With smart, strategic investments, we will continue to create jobs, grow a thriving economy and increase village services, while keeping our village safe and affordable. This is what residents want, and I want to make sure that our village government is efficient and responsive to our residents’ needs.

What do you think our regional leaders can do to encourage job growth?

Although all business is important, small businesses are a job growth engine for our economy. Government regulation, fees and taxes hit small businesses particularly hard.To ensure that small businesses are poised to start, grow and create jobs our leaders need to:

Enhance Small Business Access to Credit

Help Innovative Small Businesses Obtain Early-Stage Financing

Help Small Businesses Connect to Regional Innovation

For Small Businesses seeking to Grow and Expand Reduce Taxes

Create Incentives for Capital Investment

Improve and Strengthen Small Business Exports

Double the Small Employer Pension Plan Startup Tax Credit

Help Small Businesses Provide Health Insurance to their Employees

Do you support exploring a separate school district? Why or why not?

The decision to explore a separate school district should rest with the residents of Mt. Pleasant and its neighboring communities. A school district referendum is an excellent tool to show interest and to gather the facts such as; determining enrollment projections, operating costs for each school, special education programs needed, and student transportation costs.

If you could implement one idea – no matter how crazy it might sound – what would it be?

I would allocate unlimited resources to provide the education, training and employment needed to eliminate poverty and achieve the best quality of life possible for all people.

What is the best solution for funding the Highway V sewer and water project?

This project is for benefit and development in Caledonia, not Mt. Pleasant. The Mt. Pleasant board amended the sewer and water contract with Caledonia in August of 2014 in a closed session which forgave $1.4 million of interest owed to Mt. Pleasant. The 2014 amendment capped Caledonia’s overall costs, and settled for a $150,000 interest payment. The original contract with Caledonia would have cost Mt. Pleasant residents nothing. My opponent, Anna Marie Clausen has never explained why she voted yes on a deal that penalizes Mt. Pleasant residents.

The financing for infrastructure projects is traditionally shared by the entire community and should include collecting what is owed from Caledonia with interest, borrowing from Mt. Pleasant TID #1, issuing a village infrastructure bond for the balance. TID #1 would then recover the sewer and water infrastructure costs from the new development at a later date.

How should the village address fire department staffing and/or station locations(s) to answer residents’ concerns about high response times?

We have many areas in the village where Fire and EMS 9-1-1 response times need to be addressed and reduced to the 4-minute gold standard of care response time. The most cost effective way is to send the closest municipality to 9-1-1 Fire & EMS calls to stabilize the scene.

Some cost-saving alternatives to building a fire station would involve negotiating a reciprocating response contract with bordering municipalities or creating joint fire stations with bordering municipalities. We can then begin a study on building a strategically placed gold standard Fire and EMS station for the entire community.

Some residents are questioning the transparency of both elected leaders and staff members. Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?

We can do a much better job with transparency and information sharing. I want to make as much information as possible available to the public in an easy-to-find and use format. Residents should be able to connect to the village records, permits and announcements. Access to this information is our responsibility, not a courtesy.

My opponent moved to dissolve the Village Technology Committee – her own committee. Their job was to create and maintain the new village website and ensure digital access to village information. This was a giant step backwards. If Mt. Pleasant is going to compete as a community we need to make sure information is available to businesses and families 24 hours, 7 days a week.

I believe that transparency is important so citizens can stay informed about the operation of their village and hold their elected officials accountable. The questions and concerns of taxpayers have been ignored and discouraged.

After attending Village Board meetings consistently for more than a year, my opponent, Anna Marie Clausen almost never asks questions or participates in debate on measures before the board. She is has been a “rubberstamp” for the majority.

Taxpayers deserve discussion and genuine curiosity. That is how good ideas and cooperation are forged.

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