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Bayside incumbents face two challengers

Top two voter-getters take Village Board seats April 2

Feb. 27, 2013

Bayside - Bayside Village Board incumbents Eido Wanly and Michael Barth are challenged by newcomers Kelly Herda and Tom Noble in the April 2 election.

Walny, who has been a trustee since 2008, is founder of boutique estate planning law firm Walny Legal Group in Fox Point. Barth was first elected in 2003 after serving as a resident member of a village committee. He is a deposit product manager at Associated Bank.

Herda is looking to continue her community involvement after serving on the Nicolet School Board for six years. She is the co-founder and senior partner of Prown and Associates. Noble, a sales manager of 25 years for North America at Gerresheimer, is running to become more involved in the community and bring new ideas to the Village Board.

More transparency needed

Noble is a firm believer in transparent government and sees a need for board communication, saying, for example, residents were not made aware of a project that widened Town Park Way.

"The next thing you know there were marks on trees to cut down and no one knew about it," he said. "It's about communication - transparency."

Though he said the current administration and Village Board have been "doing a great job," there are a few issue he would like to address in an effort to "pump some new blood," into the board. Issues, he said, include the feasibility of a community pool, as well as additional signage needed for bicyclists and pedestrians on Fairy Chasm Road.

"(A pool) is very popular with the residents, but we don't have enough information to validate it, but it's something to look at," Noble said.

Herda is running to bring a fresh perspective to the board. Though this is her first time running for a trustee seat, she is not new to village projects. Herda was active in helping to develop a volunteer crossing guard program on Donges Bay and Brown Deer roads so children can cross the roads safely at the busy intersection.

She was also part of the grass-roots effort to bring municipal water to areas of the village. This project is moving forward, as more than 100 residents have voluntarily elected to be assessed to build infrastructure and be hooked up to municipal water.

Herda said she handled much of the communication, going door to door talking to residents.

"It increases the value of the homes here in Bayside all the way around to be on city water instead of well water so it was good for the entire village," she said.

The village of Bayside has been recognized for good governance, which is something Barth is proud of since serving on the board. Barth was also instrumental in helping the water project move forward through finding bonds to help residents fund the project that do not obligate the village for repayment - the residents who volunteered.

Finding new ways to keep services

"The biggest thing is how we continue to work to maintain services while holding the line on taxes," Barth said. "The village is in very good shape and I think it's really attributable to the work the board has done and village staff."

Walny echoed these sentiments, saying it is board members attention to detail that has kept them from facing any sort of budget deficit despite revenue limitations from the state.

"We don't spend to the maximum and we don't play games that other government plays," Walny said. "We are very careful with our budget. It puts us at a very good stance. There are issues we monitor, but at the end of the day, things in Bayside are going very well and we are happy with those results."

Bayside's staff has won awards for their budget. Walny cited the purchase of a new garbage packer as an example of how the staff and the board research the details when it comes to village expenditures, saying they found the best piece of equipment with multiple functions that saved the village money in the long run.

"A lot of thought went into that because that became an opportunity for us to increase efficiencies, save a tremendous amount of money, be safer, be smarter and increase our bottom line," he said.

Herda said being a new face on the board, she can bring creative ideas and think outside of the box to make cost-effective decisions in order to maintain quality village services.

New blood, new ideas

"I really enjoyed my work on the Nicolet School Board and being in these positions - when doing community service - we should change those seats regularly to bring in new ideas and talents," she said.

Noble is accustomed to managing budgets, having worked as a sales manager for a manufacturing company overseeing a $15 million budget.

"Win or lose, my heart is in for the long term for the community and the passion we all have for living in this great village," he said.

Walny said it comes down to whether or not people are happy with how Bayside is going.

"People get their property tax bills and they aren't always happy. We only have control over our portion of the bill and that has been very steady over the last couple of years," he said. "I'd love the opportunity to continue to serve on the board and continue to serve the people of Bayside."

Barth is especially proud of holding the tax levy flat through the last three years as head of the Finance Committee in cooperation with village staff, and leading the effort for a consolidated dispatch center in the North Shore, as well as the cleanup days that have increased village recycling by 50 percent.

The top two vote-getters will be elected. Village trustees serve three-year terms and earn $1,200 annually.

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