Incumbent Tony Hartmann is being challenged for Seat 8 on the Fitchburg City Council on April 4 by Richard Hammersley, who is looking to return to the council after serving four years in the early 2000s. (I) indicates incumbent.

Richard Hammersley

Age: 80

Address: 6287 Whalen Road

Family: Three children, four grandchildren

Job: Retired construction worker

Political experience: City Council 2001-05; Fitchburg Plan Commission for three years in the 1980s

Other public service: Fire Department, nine years as a volunteer

Education: 12 years

H. Tony Hartmann (I)

Age: 60

Address: 5680 Whalen Road

Family: Married, two children

Job: Renewable energy developer

Political experience: Incumbent, Fitchburg City Council Seat 8; served on Resource Conservation Commission, Public Safety and Human Services Committee, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee

Other public service: Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology (past board member); Wisconsin Biodiesel Association (past board member), volunteer; Boys & Girls Club fundraising; Fitchburg Waterway Cleanup; Dane County stream sampling; Habitat for Humanity; Taste of Madison, Bike Fitchburg

Education: UW-Madison, University of Minnesota-Minneapolis (bachelor’s degree); Thunderbird School of Global Management (master’s degree in international management)

Q&A

List three of your top priorities

Hammersley: Cut down taxes by not spending so much on sidewalks where not needed. Leave out dog park.

Hartmann: 1.) Affordability/economic development: We are the most expensive city in Dane County and have to increase revenue from other than residential property taxes. 2.) Sustainability/environmental stewardship: Perhaps our greatest resource is our highly fertile, loamy farmland in close proximity to 500,000 people. We need to find a way to encourage more high-value agriculture. 3.) Council Harmony: We need to work together to find solutions for our biggest problems, starting with a more productive/efficient City Council. We’re barely addressing poverty/education, and could be more effective if we ceased bickering and worked diligently on behalf of our constituents.

If you could reverse one city action, what would it be?

Hammersley: Try to cut taxes.

Hartmann: I would have rebuilt/moved the fire stations five or six years ago. We have delayed the relocation and updating of our fire stations such that the costs have risen by nearly 60 percent since first contemplated.

How would you change the way the city handles development?

Hammersley: Work with all council people, work with companies coming to Fitchburg, don’t say no all the time.

Hartmann: I would prioritize desirable projects, especially infill and brownfield redevelopment, and speed up the process for them to move through the various city departments and committees. We can empower the City’s Economic Development staff and get serious about competing for clean-tech employers. Finally we could begin by hosting a developer/builders summit and letting them help us identify the barriers to doing business in Fitchburg.

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