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Election Preview: Caledonia Village Board (Trustee No. 3)

Incumbent Kevin Wanggaard will take on challenger Maureen Cramer in Village Board race on April 2.

Incumbent Kevin Wanggaard will take on challenger Maureen Cramer on April 2 for the Trustee No. 3 spot on the Village Board. (Click on link for biographical information on each candidate).

Trustees serve two-year terms and are paid $6,600 per year.

To provide residents with the most information about the election, Patch asked the candidates their views on the key issues facing the village.

Here, in their own words, are the candidates' answers to those questions as well as some posed by Patch.

Why are you running for Village Board? Maureen Cramer 1. I want to preserve the nature of Caledonia, which is the reason most of us live there.
2. I want to be a voice for the people of Caledonia and will promote cooperation, transparency and two-way communication.
3. I believe that commercial growth belongs in commercial areas such as along Douglas Ave and on the Interstate.
Kevin Wanggaard

I have been fortunate to be able to serve the residents of Caledonia over the past ten years. Throughout my terms on the Town and Village Boards, we have been able to balance budgets, maintain and improve services, and hold the line on property taxes. Our future as a Village looks promising and I would like to continue working for the people!

What are your greatest strengths as a candidate, and how would you leverage those strengths to benefit the community?

Maureen Cramer As a salesperson and team leader, my job is to listen to my customers and fellow team members and make decisions and recommendations based on their needs and goals. As a board member, I will seek out public opinion and address/acknowledge the concerns of residents. I will be their voice on the board. Kevin Wanggaard As a current Board member representing the residents of Caledonia, it is my responsibility to do what I believe is in the best interests of the community as a whole, to further our growth and maintain public services while protecting our quality of life and preserving the areas within our borders.
What is the biggest issue facing the village, and how would you address it, if elected? Maureen Cramer Caledonia will have many opportunities for commercial and residential growth. I believe the Land Use Plan that was a cooperative effort between residents and the village for controlled growth needs to be followed. Kevin Wanggaard Bringing water and sewer out to the Interstate along the Hwy K corridor, by considering all options with input from the business community and the community as a whole! What kind of future development would you like to see in Caledonia, and how would you work to attract such development?
Maureen Cramer Planned and controlled development within established parameters. Development should not adversely affect people, their property or our shared natural resources. Kevin Wanggaard Fostering a good business environment within the Village needs to be a primary focus. We must continue working with existing businesses to strenghthen their presence, projecting a positive environment for business startups while maintaining our rural character. This strategy allows us to help businesses retain their current employment levels and when possible allow them to expand. Future development in the village,could be dependent on something as simple as access to water as demonstrated in the Hwy K and I-94 corridors. The Board's vision along with multiple factors through execution of following a process will determine the next step.

Edward Willing April 01, 2013 at 03:37 PM
This is true, T.R. I would be declaring war, in the minds of some if I said I would change this practice, but it can't be done overnight... yet it must eventually happen. There's a balance in state law that we could pursue, where people still have to pay normal residential taxes on residences, and can claim anything up to perhaps 2 acres as agricultural. The sad reality is that some of these large 100+ acre properties are paying less than $4,000 in taxes. I feel this is not appropriate, and even as a 100% conservative, I believe in FAIR taxation, not progressive taxation. Even if it benefits myself or others. I hope to have a part in changing this!
Edward Willing April 01, 2013 at 03:58 PM
LC, your research is very shoddy. Those statements I made were about Walmart in general. I don't mind a walmart in Caledonia. I just don't want it on 4 mile. At first, I was curious, but almost immediately realized how obnoxious the site is. BTW, I see that comment in my own feed, but not sure why... I wrote it up assuming they meant the 31 location again. I deleted it last fall, after I realized I was wrong about the location. Somehow it's still showing in my comment feed, for dirt-digging eyes like yourself to find. ;) But I assure you, from the beginning I felt that location was wrong, and since then have grown in opposition to state if it were an up or down vote, I'd say no. As for out of context, you took three comments from two different years and put them together, ignoring my other balanced statements that spoke about the importance of preservation, and having both responsible development and dedicated preservation. I serve on the Parks commission in Caledonia because it's important to me to invest in our space, so your attempt to discredit me will fall short. I ask you LC, why did you leave out these other quotes of mine? Ed Willing 9:45 pm on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 "The Conservancy has so much sway because their members are more engaged than the average citizen. I hope I get the opportunity to show up to more. I love our natural landscape, parks and trails. Part of our appeal and character. But we can have both. Time we make that argument"
Frances Martin April 01, 2013 at 07:04 PM
Brian Dey--your comments on real estate taxes, and which properties should pay more tax ignore the most basic related fact-: real estate taxes go to fund schools, police,fire ,weed commissioners, etc. One large parcel, say 20 acres, with a single couple/family inhabiting it uses no more services than one single family home anywhere in the village; that same 20 acres with 15-20 homes uses 15 to 20 times the services. There is a cutoff number somewhere between $250-$300,000 in assessed value-below that, the real estate taxes don't pay for the pro rata share of services; the further above that the assessed value is, the more the higher assessed value property is subsidizing the services provided to the lower value properties. And as for the benefit of big box retail store development, explain why it is that Wind Point has a lower mill rate than Caledonia, but Sturtevant and Mount Pleasant's are higher. Manufacturing, with family supporting wage jobs,is what we need to be be courting. I think we do need a Caledonia school system in order to attract good new business development, but that's a long difficult haul, and I don't see anyone working toward it.
Patrick Flynn April 02, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Thank you Frances Martin. She nails it here.
Brian Dey April 03, 2013 at 01:00 AM
Yes Fran, you nailed it alright. Every single home requires the same amount of services, although i doubt anyone living in Crestview will require police services for rounding up horses that stray like at the McCalvy's a few times. You make my point very clear. If each home requires the same services, then why are those large parcels given a tax break for being agricultural? They do not have livestock or produce crops for human or cattle consumption. Every other home owner in the village is charged a certain mil rate for being in a residential zone. The same should be applied to non-agriculture properties whether they are large acreage or not. Right now, no one is knocking down our doors except Wal Mart. My point is that if we continue the policies of Greenfield and say no out of the gate, that trend will continue. Sorry, but your attitude like I said is to protect your green space, and not that of the village. Or are parks just not appropriate green space? Does the Nature Preserve not meet the Conservancy's high standards? That you Fran, who has always stood up for Conservancy green space, and not our Parks when we lost all our funding, speaks volumes of the hypocrisy of the Conservancy.

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