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Five candidates are running for three seats on the Mount Horeb Village Board in the April 2 election. Candidate Thomas G. Orshall is also running for village president and would have to choose one office if elected to both. The terms are two years. (I) indicates incumbent.

Ryan Czyzewski (I)

Age: 40

Address: 108 Terrace Court

Family: Married with three children

Job: IS Manager, Thompson Investment Management

Prior elected office: Village trustee, 2013 to present

Other public service: Former board member and vice president, Mount Horeb Area Chamber of Commerce; member, Mount Horeb Area Economic Development Corp.; chairman, Public Works Committee; member, Finance & Personnel Committee, Utility Commission; past member, Public Safety Committee, Room Tax Commission, Business Park Workgroup; officer, Knights of Columbus; youth soccer coach

Education: Bachelor of science degree, business administration, Marian University; master’s degree, business administration, Globe University

Jason Fendrick

Age: 42

Address: 901 Spellman St.

Family: Married with two children

Job: IT systems engineer

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: Secretary and treasurer, Kearney Sertoma Club (service organization), Kearney, Nebraska; den leader, Cub Scouts Pack 62, Mount Horeb

Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science, University of Nebraska-Kearney; law degree, University of Kansas School of Law

Jessica Jackson

Age: 37

Address: 116 Robyn Ridge

Family: Married with two children

Job: Business owner, Icki Sticki

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: None

Education: Bachelor’s of science degree in education, Drexel University

Thomas G. Orshall

Age: 72

Address: 1102 Manor Drive

Family: Widower with two children

Job: Retired federal officer, Department of Veterans Affairs; Mount Horeb bus driver

Prior elected office: Village trustee

Another public service: Army veteran

Education: Not provided

Website or email: Not provided

Brent D. Yauchler (I)

Age: 50

Address: 809 E. Main St.

Family: Married with four children

Job: Electrical contractor

Prior elected office: Mount Horeb Village Board, appointed mid-2018

Other public service: Member, village of Mount Horeb Finance and Personnel Committee, Public Works Committee, Tourism Commission; Mount Horeb Area Economic Development Corp. board; Mount Horeb Chamber board and associated committees; past Mount Horeb Rotary Club secretary, president, past president, club board member; past Mount Horeb Food Pantry board member; past Breaking Barriers Mentoring—Wisconsin president and board member

Education: Associate degree in arts and sciences, UW-Baraboo


What makes you better qualified than your opponents for this position?

Czyzewski: My experience as a trustee, participation with many village commissions and committees, and active involvement in the community is a definite asset. I understand the constraints of how a municipality can operate and what is needed to continue sustained growth, success and safety. I can collaborate with the chamber and EDC to strategically grow our commercial tax base.

Fendrick: I bring a variety of skills. I’ve been a small business owner, and I’ve also worked for small and large companies. I’ve had to balance a budget and determine the most cost-effective way to resolve problems. I’ve represented clients on all sides of real estate and development matters and am aware of the challenges and opportunities faced by local governments.

Jackson: I am committed to seeing this village grow and prosper for my children. I am a home and business owner in Mount Horeb. I enjoy living and working here. My children go to school here. We enjoy spending our time downtown at the shops and restaurants. This is a special place.

Orshall: I would say I am not better than my opponent, but I have more experience.

Yauchler: I wouldn’t necessarily suggest I’m more or less qualified than my opponents. I’m a local business owner of 15 years with 35 employees, so have some experience with budgeting, organization, critical thinking and patient listening. I have had some Mount Horeb Village Board experience, as well as experience with our local EDC and chamber boards. I’ve also had the pleasure of serving on the Village Finance and Personnel Committee through the 2019 budget process, giving me much better insight into the needs of each of the village departments and associated districts that rely on us as a funding source. Experience can be an excellent teacher, and I’ve been fortunate to have been able to serve in the job for a bit.

What is the top issue facing the village and how would you address it?

Czyzewski: State limits on revenue options is an issue we need to lobby for change. Municipalities are forced to rely on property taxes more than neighboring states. Locally, affordable senior and workforce housing is needed. The village needs to be an attractive option for developers so lifelong residents can stay in our community and local employees can afford to live here.

Fendrick: Food, clothing, shelter and other necessities are plentiful in Mount Horeb — if you can afford them. Not everyone can. As the village grows, the need for assistance in providing these necessities will grow as well. The village needs to coordinate with the organizations providing the safety net in our community to ensure that these needs continue to be met.

Jackson: Parking. We need to create more parking options for our visitors and citizens.

Orshall: Growth, but build west not all in the downtown area. Taxes, it is getting to the point that some of us are older taxpayers who are having a hard time. Social Security only goes so far. Schools and safety are also concerns.

Yauchler: That’s a great question, but a complicated one. Depending on who you speak to within our community, it most likely is the perceived and real lack of parking capacity within the downtown area of our village that will come up as a hot topic of discussion and debate. We have also had a good deal of growth in our downtown over the last couple of years, so continuing to maintain our image and identity relevant to our history as a small town in south-central Wisconsin is very important to a lot of folks who live here.

What’s one new way the village could keep property taxes in check?

Czyzewski: With one of the lowest tax rates among cities and villages in the county, we are already doing a good job through five-year budget planning and commitment to long-term financial health. We need to work with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and Dane County Cities & Villages Association to increase state revenue-sharing and other non-property tax.

Fendrick: Property taxes in Mount Horeb are generally lower than or comparable to similar cities and villages. The village should remain vigilant in providing services to the citizens in a cost-effective manner. Expenditures of existing programs and services should be consistently reviewed by the village, and new programs and services should only be started if the benefit justifies the expense.

Jackson: We as a village need to continue to nurture and promote locally owned businesses. These businesses will greatly have a positive impact on our taxes.

Orshall: The best way is don’t give the village away to big development. Let the little guy or entrepreneur have a chance at the low-interest loans.

Yauchler: Thankfully, we’ve been able to keep our taxes in line with revenue growth through an increase in the tax base, even with new expenditures brought from a much-needed school referendum to provide additions and repairs to our high school and other school district infrastructure needs. Continuing our oversight through the budgetary process will remain important. I think most of the existing board members have a strong sense of fiduciary responsibility when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars.

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Steven Verburg is a reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal covering state politics with a focus on science and the environment as well as military and veterans issues.