Two retirees — one a former mayor and police officer and the other from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources — are vying for Seat 7 on the Fitchburg City Council on April 4.
Address: 2583 Norwich St.
Family: Married to Mary Kay Clauder; two adult daughters; four grandchildren
Job: Retired Fitchburg police officer
Political experience: Past mayor, city of Fitchburg; past vice chair of Cities and Villages Associations; 10 years on the Dane County Board; past vice chair of Public Protection and Judiciary Committee-Dane County; past chair of EMS Commission-Dane County; past chair of the Fitchburg Plan Commission; past chair of the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission
Other public service: Past member of AFSCME, Local 333; past member, Wisconsin Professional Police Association; life member of Wisconsin Law Enforcement Officer’s Association; past president of Wildwood South Neighborhood Association; chaplain and board member of Madison Elks Lodge #410; past member of Operation Life Saver; past chairman of Westmorland Neighborhood Association; recipient of Madison Area Technical College Athletic Hall of Fame Award (Basketball); recipient of city of Fitchburg Life Saving Award; recipient EMS Commission Service Award; dedication and service award from Madison Area Technical College; involved with Wisconsin Council on Highway Safety; past member of Lions Club and volunteer for Special Olympics.
Education: Associate’s degree from Madison Area Technical College
Email or website: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 2642 Pennwall Circle
Family: Married (Nancy), with two adult daughters (Lucy and Karen)
Job: Retired from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Political experience: Served on Fitchburg City Council from 2005 to 2011
Education: PhD in zoology from UW-Madison
List three of your top priorities.
Clauder: The city budget and taxes are always a top priority. It involves tough choices between competing priorities among the various city departments. The city of Fitchburg taxes are among the highest in the county. The second priority is promoting economic development which will bring revenue, jobs and increase our tax base. The last priority is to push for more affordable housing for renters, seniors and homeowners.
Horns: 1.) Find ways to enhance the agricultural economy of Fitchburg. 2.) Keep in place the Future Urban Development Area (FUDA) boundary, which was drawn to accommodate a reasonable rate of development while also protecting wetlands, farmland for groundwater recharge. 3.) Help the City Council play better together. Things that might help include having the Committee of the Whole meet around a table instead of along a long dais that encourages posturing for the TV, taking the approach of principled negotiation, and having the mayor stay out of debates.
If you could reverse one city action, what would that be?
Clauder: Fitchburg-Oregon Business Park. The Fitchburg City Council ultimately voted the joint business park down by a close vote. Part of the plan was to activate the rail line from Fitchburg to Oregon. This rail line could have ultimately gone all the way to Chicago. Oregon secured the Lycon Cement Plant within the Oregon Business park and at present time the rail line is now active and serving Lycon in Oregon. Fitchburg had Brunzell Lumber wanting to come to Fitchburg to use the rail line at the time, but because it didn’t pass, we lost that opportunity.
Horns: In 2010 we rezoned property adjoining McKee Farms Park to prevent construction of two apartment buildings. This was a violation of trust with the property owners who, 15 years previously, had obtained authorization to construct the apartment buildings (as part of a larger neighborhood) in exchange for the land that is now McKee Farms Park. We are now awaiting an opinion from the Wisconsin Supreme Court about the legality of the re-zoning.
How would you change the way the city handles development?
Clauder: The first priority would be to develop in already developed areas. However, the market can drive this, if a major developer/employer would want to come to Fitchburg. We do not want to lose good businesses going to other cities because we are not welcoming. For example, the Orchard Pointe Retail Development-Target Store area. This development came about when I was mayor and I didn’t want to lose the Target store to another community. This brought jobs, housing and consumers, all helping Fitchburg’s revenue and tax base.
Horns: I think our approach is generally very good. We have good traditions and practices of engaging residents in planning processes, and we have a good comprehensive plan with a well-conceived Future Urban Development Area boundary. My only suggestion would be to bring developers into periodic open-ended facilitated discussions with the Committee of the Whole and city staff about development issues and opportunities.