By Patricia Bogumil
Tom Roanhouse hopes to be re-elected President of the Waterford Village Board to continue his long tenure of community involvement and advance solutions to some of the village’s most pressing issues.
Judy Spencer, who has served as a village trustee for two years, hopes to unseat Roanhouse by offering taxpayers a choice of leadership and advance her own solutions to some of the village’s most pressing issues.
Voters will decide April 2 which of these two candidates should lead the village board for the next two years.
Information provided by each candidate follows.
• Spencer, who decided not to retain her trustee position on the Waterford Village Board beyond April in order to run for Board President, said she hopes to be elected in order to give taxpayers a choice of leadership.
Spencer said as Board President she will continue to look for savings without cutting services to the community, focus on creating and maintaining a team environment to encourage new ideas and best solutions, bring prosperity to the village through business and development and will continue to work and promote growth and deliver clear transparency.
“We are in a tough and lean economic period of time and need strong leadership to make tough decisions for the best interest of the taxpayers,” she said.
Using her skills as a business consultant, Spencer said she will find opportunities for growth and success without lowering the value of service.
As a loan officer for more than 20 years, Spencer said she has a deep understanding of mil rates and levies, assets and debts.
“I have good listening skills and will at all times listen to the taxpayers,” she said.
While serving as a village trustee, Spencer said she has worked as a team member at all times for the best interest of the village.
• Roanhouse, the incumbent Board President, said the most pressing challenge facing the village is the stabilization, sustainability and continued growth and development of the Waterford Fire and Rescue Department.
A reorganization of that Department is currently under way, focused on ways to meet the needs of the immediate future, he said.
“The challenge is helping transition what has been an all-volunteer department serving a community of 2,000 to one that now is both a volunteer and a municipal organization serving a population almost three times larger.”
In addition, Waterford’s population grew nearly 40 percent in the last 10 years, he said, while most other communities in Racine County experienced single-digit growth.
That means the Village Board is now asked to deliver the same scope of government to almost twice as many people, Roanhouse said.
“The challenge is to deliver the same services with the same staff, equipment, technology, resources and revenues – revenues that actually are shrinking on a state and national level,” he said.
Still, the Village Board has succeeded in delivering a budget without increasing the tax levy paid to run village government for the last five consecutive years, he said.
Another pressing issue facing the village is upgrading its information technology and computer capabilities, Roanhouse said.
The village board has been working with a special task force committee to move the village’s computer technologies into the 21st century, he said. “This is not only important because of our antiquated system, but it allows us to address the task of delivering government services with limited resources.”
Roanhouse said much of his personal and professional life has been related to government service, and these lifelong experiences have prepared him to continue to be the strong leader Waterford needs as its face the challenges of a community experiencing tremendous growth.
His father, who served 25 years on the Racine County Board, was the greatest mentor anyone could ask for “as I watched him contribute to his church, his schools, and to his community,” he added.
Roanhouse worked for U.S. Rep Mark Neumann and was the manager of his Racine office and Kenosha office during his first term.
“Government service is always self-taught because you cannot enroll in a traditional academic class to learn how to be a village trustee, town board member or city aldermen,” he said. So, the learning curve in government cannot be ignored and must be taken seriously, he said.
“Besides all the related experiences I’ve had with government, I am most proud of – and passionate about – the 14 years I’ve been involved in Village of Waterford government.
“I want to take everything I’ve learned in those 14 years, plus my 11 years listening at other government meetings and those dealing with constituent issues for Mark Neumann and parlay all that learned collateral into a greater positive for Waterford.”