Monroe Common Council
Odd-numbered wards on the Monroe Common Council are up for election this April. In Ward 1, incumbent Tom Miller is unchallenged. In Ward 3, incumbent Michael Boyce is unchallenged. In Ward 5, incumbent Charles Koch is unchallenged. In Ward 7, incumbent Louis Armstrong is unchallenged. Armstrong is also running for mayor. In Ward 9, incumbent Richard Thoman is challenged by Chris Dearth.
City/town of residence: Monroe
Family: Wife - Chrissy; sons - Brennan 12, Jimmy 11
Education: English, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Occupation: President Property and Casualty - Robertson Ryan and Associates
Previous elected positions held: Ward 3 Alder since April 2010
What are the top issues facing this district/municipality and how would you work to resolve it?
The city of Monroe is a tax hell. The city of Monroe's property tax is among the highest in Wisconsin and the nation. Seniors and families are being pushed to the brink by the high property tax rate and fees for services. Economic growth is at a standstill.
Forty percent of students in the Monroe school district and 15 percent of people older than 65 live in poverty.
The median income of private sector workers in Monroe is substantially lower than those who work for government.
The population of the city remains constant but the median age has increased dramatically which means our young are moving out and not returning.
Property taxes and high fees are directly related to leadership by the Mayor. The Mayor controls the annual budget process. Last year our Mayor of 16 years presented a $28 million dollar budget, the largest in the city's history by over $6 million.
City spending must be significantly reduced or the city's economic condition will continue on its current path.
What are other key issues facing the district/municipality, and how would you work to resolve them?
Public safety is the most important service a city performs. Public safety isn't an issue that needs to be resolved, rather it is an issue that requires detailed attention by elected officials and staff.
Public Safety spending is almost 40 percent of the city's annual budget. In addition, City of Monroe taxpayers pay about $1.8 million to the Green County Sheriff. Combined, Monroe taxpayers spend annually over $5 million on public safety, for a city just under 11,000 residents. That works out to be $454 per person every year.
In consultation with Chief Fred Kelley and the Public Safety Committee, I proposed hiring the Center for Public Safety Management to perform a public safety workload and staffing analysis. The last study was done in 2000.
This expert analysis is used effectively by other communities. It is an objective review by experts of how actual public safety workload compares to deployment and public demand for services.
Importantly, the expert analysis allows elected officials to make critical informed decisions about the most important and vital function performed by the city.