Walter Kriese: 2021 candidate for Hainesville village board
Four candidates competing for three 4-year terms
Occupation: Electronic Technician (Machine Repair)
Civic involvement: Village Trustee (Present)
Q: How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state and federal authorities?
A: Give a voice to constituents.
Q: Did your town continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A: Even though our village hall was closed to the public, our office staff would return phone calls. Service requests and building permit applications and approvals were handled through our village website. The Public Works Department was available throughout the pandemic for service requests or emergency calls.
Q: In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?
A: That our first and foremost goal is to protect the health and safety of our constituents. Contacting our public health agencies for their guidance on the crisis. Then, inform our constituents on what is recommended to protect themselves and to help to find the resources needed. Continue to forward updated information as received from these agencies.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: Balancing our budget as to decrease our tax rate. Our board approved two separate $100 utility rebates to our residents and businesses. We also waived business license fees, alcohol license fees, late and final notice water fees.
Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project you must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what infrastructure project can be put on the back burner?
A: Making upgrades to our water/sewer systems. These utilities have components that our aging and some have been in service over 20 years. I am a proactive person and I feel we need to address future failures before they occur not have to react to a major failure. The Village has establish an Enterprise Fund just for our water/sewer system. Most of the upgrades can be funded through this fund. Since we have started to become more proactive with all our infrastructure projects, maintaining streets, sidewalks, drainage we take on our projects in graduated steps as to not burden our budgets.
Q: Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
A: We are a small community which does not have a lot businesses. If there are businesses that don't comply I would first need to address the issues with them. After finding out the facts and a solution can't be remedied I would not have a problem closing or restricting that business.
Q: Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board/council has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A: I agree with our stance.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: Once this pandemic is over bring back some of our community events back. Like a concert in the park or something to that nature.