New Kewaunee County Board chairman shares his views
Robert Weidner, who was recently re-elected Kewaunee County Board chairman after serving from 2004 to 2014, recently agreed to share his views on the direction of the county for the Kewaunee County Star-News. Following are answers to questions the newspaper submitted to him last week:
- After serving as county chairman from 2004-2014, how does it feel to have your old job back? I am looking forward to working with our board, administrator, department heads, and elected officials. Over the years I have gotten to know and appreciate the staff that keeps the day to day functions of the county running smoothly. They are a great source of advice and information that all board members rely on to make the best decisions.
- What unique skills and experience do you bring to the role of chairman? In any leadership role it is important to have the vision to know and understand how actions of the board effect the citizens long term. One must also consider how decisions are implemented and be aware of the consequences, such as, staffing, budgeting and overhead. All decisions should have a cost/benefit assessment. Much of this is common sense, but it does help to have experience in the private sector.
- What are the accomplishments you are most proud of during your decade as county board chairman? I joined the board in 2000. None of the county facilities were Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliant and some lacked a safe working environment for employees who work in areas of higher personal risk, e.g., courtrooms and supporting departments. The fairgrounds needed a lot of improvements and was not being used to its greatest potential. The County Board was able to make these corrections and improvements that will benefit the public for many years to come. The park system has grown considerably allowing for the county to develop the Winter Park and the soccer facility. The park improvements were made largely with grants and significant volunteer participation and without increasing our full time staffing.
- What is the biggest issue the County Board will be addressing in the next two years? We need to see measurable improvements in the environment. It will take a strong effort for local officials to fully engage the resources of the state and federal agencies.
- How do you and the County Board plan to address this issue? In my view it will take committed cooperation among all parties who acknowledge the scope and severity of the problem. We are all working on the same mission, and we can get more accomplished with mutual respect.
- What are two or three of the other large issues you and the County Board will be facing and how do you plan to address them? Fiscal issues will be on the agenda throughout 2016. We will try to maximize efficiencies, grants to the county, reimbursements and shared services. Consideration of a county sales tax will be a topic on the table during 2016 as it has been over the last 8-10 years
- .What are your goals for further business development in the county? Further business development would have a positive effect on our tax base and our employment opportunities. We will be doing a new comprehensive plan this year and we need to encourage business development and not unduly obstruct such development by restrictive land use policies
- What are your goals for further tourism development in the county? As of this year the county will have a staff employee working on opportunities for the tourism sector.
- What will the County board be doing to encourage growth in the dairy industry? The county has not taken a position, nor have I, on encouraging growth in the dairy industry. In a broader sense it is fair to say that land use planning, zoning and farmland preservation rules enacted by all levels of government have emphasized growth in ALL areas of agricultural development.
- What are the county’s greatest assets? Beyond the obvious rural character and natural beauty of this county, you will find a hardworking dedicated workforce both in government and the private sector.
- What is your vision for Kewaunee County 10 years from now? My 10-year vision is very simple. I would like to see that our children and grandchildren will choose to stay in Kewaunee County because they can find jobs that challenge their abilities, have a high quality of life, have security and safety and all of this at a reasonable tax rate.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: New Kewaunee County Board chairman shares his views