Good Government Council: Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors District 8 Questionnaire
When: Tuesday, April 5th, 2022; polls open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Find your voting location at myvote.wi. All absentee ballots must be requested by March 31st, 2022 and turned in no later than 8:00 p.m. on April 5th either by mail or dropped off in-person. In-Person absentee voting will start Tuesday, March 22nd and end Friday, April 1st. Residents of the City of Eau Clarie can vote early at City Hall, and residents of the Town of Washington can vote early at the Town Municipal Building. You can vote early Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you plan to vote by mail, voters are strongly encourage to mail their ballots as soon as possible to ensure their ballot is received by the deadline.
What it’s about: The County Board has 29 members, with each member representing around 3,645 people. Each member represents one of the 29 districts and serves a two year term. All 29 seats are up for election this spring. The candidates for District 8 include:
- Cory Sisk
- Kevin Stelljes (Incumbent)
Who can vote: The election is open to all eligible voters who reside in District 8. Click here to find your district.
Where you vote and who is on your ballot:
- Go to myvote.wi.gov
- Enter your voting address to learn which races are on your ballot and where you vote.
Why this questionnaire: The Good Government Council (GGC) is a committee of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce dedicated to encouraging voter participation and providing members of the business community with non-biased information about candidates’ positions on important issues. Although the Chamber is active in policy issues, it is non-partisan and does not endorse political candidates.
1.) What are your background and qualifications for this position, and what value will you bring to the County Board personally?
Cory Sisk: With my background as a Sr. Claims Adjuster, I’ll bring accountability through transparency and be accessible to constituents. Residents want to be heard & I look forward to listening & being honest with them.
Kevin Stelljes: I am a seasoned manager, retired from our local supercomputer industry and a long time resident champion of our community quality of life. A degree in finance, broad management experience, a passion for public lands, and diverse experience in County government provide solid qualification. Personally, I bring vision and enthusiasm for our County Parks and Forest, a balanced perspective between urban and rural life, and solid fiscal judgement.
2.) With a strong local economy and low unemployment, many employers report difficulty in filling positions. What is the role of Eau Claire County in attracting more people to the community, and ensuring that the County is an attractive place to live and work?
Cory Sisk: Supporting our rural/surrounding communities is a great start, to much focus is given to the City of Eau Claire. Listening and supporting rural communities in the area of economic development and growth can help make the county a more attractive place.
Kevin Stelljes: I moved here 40 years ago because of the quality of life the area offers. That is our big selling point. We provide a modest size town, with good employment, healthcare, arts, and recreation. Housing is relatively affordable. We need to continue to grow the County and City in a way that appeals to people choosing long term career locations and welcoming to a diverse population.
3.) The Chippewa Valley Housing Task Force found that the community is experiencing housing supply challenges at all income levels and housing types. What should the County’s role be in expanding housing supply within areas of its jurisdiction?
Cory Sisk: I believe that government needs to get out of the way and put the needs of affordable housing in the hands of local investors, developers and builders that can get the task done. Working with local developers will help boost the housing needs within the county.
Kevin Stelljes: This is a challenge and often controversial. Growth and county rezoning needs to be carefully controlled to optimized transportation, utilities, and land preservation. Conservation developments must be promoted, These would allow considerable housing density and at the same time, preserve 50% of rezoned parcels for conservation and public space. We should also consider mixed housing areas with single and multi family housing in a development.
4.) The County is in the process of determining how to spend over $20 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Over $4 million has already been committed to broadband and to assistance for non-profits and small businesses. What are your thoughts on the priorities for the deployment of the remaining $15 million of funds?
Cory Sisk: Since the funds being received are non-recurring we should be sure not to use them for recuring expenditures that will require budget increases in the future. My understanding is ARPA has a limited scope on the how the funds may be used, so I would consider using the remaining towards critical infrastructure. I also believe the funds should be spread out over the qualifying period to ensure budget and financial stability in the county.
Kevin Stelljes: The process in place for evaluating funding is a sound one. Those most impacted by the pandemic and those most vulnerable should be prioritized. Beyond that, we should fund projects with long term paybacks that help the community be more resilient to economic and climate changes.
5.) If elected, what will be your top three priorities in your term as a County Board Member?
Cory Sisk: Reduce bonding debt or debt overall, lowering or at least maintaining the county tax levy, working with depts to reduce the increase in crime and drugs.
Kevin Stelljes: 1. As chair of our Parks and Forest Committee we will complete a system wide master plan for our parks, complete major capital improvement projects, and pursue opportunities to expand our public lands.
2. Water quality protection will be a priority. Our forest and agricultural policies need constant update to reduce runoff closing our beaches and lakes. More severe weather events just make this more difficult to manage and we need to continue to do trial projects and outreach to known problem areas.
3. Fiscal management is a a fundamental responsibility as a board supervisor. I will continue to have our Parks and Forest system be a net revenue department, with no tax levy. Further I will strive to see that our County tax rate remains well below state average, another great feature of our community.
All 29 Eau Claire County Boards seats up for electionPosted by Danya Morman, Governmental Affairs Intern