MEQUON - Political newcomer Abby Thompson will challenge incumbent Mark Gierl for the 5th District alermanic seat on the Mequon Common Council in the April 4 election.
The candidates were given three questions to explain what they feel are the biggest issues facing Mequon as well as what they might bring to the council table to combat those issues.
What do you see are the biggest challenges facing Mequon and/or in the 5th district in the near future?
Gierl: Maintaining low taxes. The city has depleted the general fund by using $2 million to cover structural deficits. In 2018, the deficit approaches $2 million due to the DPW and school referendum debt expenses and work to fix the east trunk sewer in District 5 to correct raw sewage backups.
Thompson: Public safety in Mequon is one of the biggest future challenges. Our city is one of the safest in Wisconsin, but I believe we must recognize the impact of evolving crime on our first responders and police. We must equip our fire and police departments to keep our families safe.
With Mequon’s Town Center and recent expansion plans over the railroad tracks the city has a lot of central development. What is your philosophy of how the city should develop in the future?
Gierl: We should be making a more strategic effort to attract businesses to our existing industrial parks and create a cohesive plan for commercial development in the northeast corridor where freeway access is ideal. Commercial development requires less city services and adds more value versus high-density apartments in a TIF District.
Thompson: I believe future development should attract families to stay and move to Mequon. Future development should be responsible, strike a balance between green space and family-friendly entertainment, and make use of land that is otherwise vacant/vastly under-utilized. This increases our tax base and supports local businesses and Mequon.
3. What experience or talents do you have that would help you bring a unique and helpful perspective on issues facing the city and your district?
Gierl: As a local businessman with a marketing background and MBA in finance, I bring a keen eye to managing budgets and adding value to city services. I am independent, principled, honest, unbiased and my priority is to stand up for the residents of District 5 and the city of Mequon.
Thompson: I have the privilege of working with consultants who provide advice and guidance to Fortune 500 companies around the world. Being a part of an organization that is forward-thinking and consultative to some of the most successful companies in the world provides me with perspective to successfully serve District 5.
Address:14108 N. Birchwood Lane
Political history: Alderman, District 5, 2014-present
Phone number: 262-618-2028
Address: 2106 W. Saddlebrook Lane
Political history: Fiscally conservative and socially liberal
Phone number: 608-215-3436