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Candidate Profile: Gary Neuenschwander
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Position sought: County Board Supervisor District 2

Age: 67

City/town of residence: Monroe

Family: Single

Education: UW-Madison graduate in journalism; advanced degree classes at UW-Madison and University of Illinois

Occupation: Retired after 34 years at The Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal newsrooms Now work part-time at St. John's United Church of Christ in the Christian Education Department

Previous elected positions held: Incumbent on the County Board

What are the top issues facing this district/municipality and how would you work to resolve it?

One of the top issues is the constant monitoring and protection of our environment, specifically the groundwater from contamination in light of the large farm dairy locating here. The recent groundwater study provides us with a solid tool in future planning, and we need to diligently work to protect and keep the high quality of natural resources we now enjoy. I am a strong believer in sound conservation practices in all areas of the environment to ensure and maintain those resources.

On the large farm issue, we need to seriously look at the issue. Much of the control over large farms has been taken from the county level and given to the state. What we are left with is approving the criteria set by the state and making sure prospective large scale farms meet those criteria. Even then, we are told we must vote "without prejudice" and solely on whether or not those criteria have been met. We need to continually lobby the state to return authority to the county level.

What are other key issues facing the district/municipality, and how would you work to resolve them?

Other issues:

1. Finances. The state limits the amount municipalities can levy for property taxes to the amount of the previous year's levy plus new construction, with allowances for some items not subject to levy limits. Yet expenses continue to climb as departments contend with losses of grant funding, payroll and benefit increases, etc. We have used monies in our undesignated general fund for the past three years to balance the budget, a practice we cannot sustain.

2. Roads and bridges. Several bridges in the county need repair and maintaining and repairing roadways is an ongoing process.

3. Aging facilities. A new Government Services building on the Pleasant View campus will replace two existing buildings, one dating back to the 1880s. In the future, we will need to look at the Sheriff's department. The current facility was built in 1959 with additions made over the years. Safety, adequacy and compliance with state law changes, and we are forced to comply.

The County Board operates on a committee system. Those committees work with department heads and serve as the board's link to each department. The committees bring their recommendations and concerns to the full board for further study and action.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I was born and raised in Monroe. Growing up, I enjoyed and utilized many of the offerings we now have, thanks to previous individuals. Now, I believe, it is my turn to do the same for others. Through serving on the County Board, I hope to continue to make Green County a desirable place to live and, at the same time, be a strong steward of the taxpayer's dollar.

As a volunteer for Cheese Days, Green County Historical Society, MAC, Monroe Public Library and Green County Library Board, I have met many individuals and listened to concerns they have. While we may have different concerns, we all want the same thing: a safe, healthy, welcoming environment to live and raise a family.

I am completing my second term on the board. There is a tremendous learning curve. I currently serve on the Pleasant View Oversight Committee and on Tourism. At Pleasant View, we are in the fourth year of a voter-approved referendum allowing up to $790,000 per year to offset operational costs and are striving to make the facility economically, self-sustainable. While not state mandated, Pleasant View provides a valuable and needed service, and I am a strong supporter.