Five candidates are vying for three seats on the Poynette Village board of directors | Government


On April 5, residents of Poynette will vote to elect, among other things, three director seats on the village board of directors. There are five candidates vying for those three seats, including the three incumbents – Terri Fiore, Chris Polzer and Judainne “JJ” Stronach. Polzer also represents District 17 on the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, which covers the majority of the village.

The two challengers are Justin Seas and Renae Przybyl.

Each of them spoke with Poynette Press about why they are running for office, current issues facing the village and other things. Below are the candidates’ responses, which have been edited only for clarity and brevity.

Why are you standing for election/re-election?

Terri Fiore: Because of my dedication to the community and residents. I spent 16 years in special education school, seven years as president of the Legion Auxiliary, and I still volunteer with the Legion. I also work part-time at the Harmony Bar and have organized two $1200 fundraisers for the (Legion) library, so being a Village Council Trustee is an extension of what I want to do for and with the community. The current board, with the new admin (Craig Malin) is very aggressive, which I really like. I’m pretty much the voice of the little town boy. I’ve had people come and ask me to paint their fire hydrant. A resident said his tree branches forgot to pick up, so I had to call someone to come back and do it. We don’t seem to submit (articles) as often, we seem to push initiatives. I want to continue to be part of it.

Chris Polzer: One, I appreciate that. We have a very good Council. I appreciate the community. I like the fact (the Council) is non-partisan, and I like working with people…and putting the community first. I want to use some of my experience as appropriate and as I can. It took me a long time, when it comes to budgets and long term planning, getting to know people and building relationships. I see these really starting to pay off.

Renée Przybyl: I am a permanent resident of Poynette. I work from home so I’m in the village most of the time. I think it’s time for me to get more involved in what’s going on in this community. I am also an easily accessible person for residents to share with questions, concerns or ideas.

Justin Seas: Most importantly, my wife is on the Chamber of Commerce, and I know they, and a lot of other people in town, want more businesses to come here. I don’t know why, but the village is struggling to attract new businesses. I know they want to keep the small town feel, but it also needs to expand a bit.

JJ Stronach: It’s the same reason I ran for office the first time…because I want the community to have a voice, and it’s mostly the people in the community who want a voice, but their schedule doesn’t work not to show up for meetings. So they come to me with their concerns, with their comments on the agenda, and then I can express things for them.

What makes a good village council administrator?

Polzer: I think the most important thing is to do your homework. Really keep on top of things and be aware of things. The big thing I’ve learned, especially with the County Board, is that I represent all residents, so when I make decisions, I think a good administrator is one who makes decisions based on need. of the whole community, and what will have the greatest impact on the whole community. I think another thing is someone who is willing to listen – not only people in the community, but also other board members, and to think a little bit. I’m really into consensus building and working together, and we’re not always going to agree, but I learned early on on the board from someone who had quite a bit of experience – they really reinforced when I was working on being civil with other people, he said ‘keep that course, I love having you on the board because of that.’ I don’t have all the answers, so I try to approach things with an open mind, and the hardest lesson I’ve ever learned is that you have to have both versions of it first. a story and then start working, and that truth is somewhere in the middle.

Przybyl: A trustworthy person who has the village in its best interest. Someone who researches topics that are on the agenda and is prepared for meetings.

Seas: Someone who can be honest with other Council members and people in the community, but also does what they say. If they say this is the way to go, do it. Don’t say what you think you have to say to sit on the board.

Stronach: For me sitting on this council now, for the past three years, what makes a great village council is open communication and conversations. We have good conversations, and there are times when I’m sitting on the fence, leaning more heavily to one side, and then after listening to everyone’s comments and/or concerns, or the repercussions of actions, it’s like, ‘yeah, I didn’t think of that.’ That’s the one great thing about the board is that we have this great open conversation. You feel more free to express your opinion.

TF: Making sure you follow the next thing to come and doing research, which I had to do from day one — I didn’t know what a spur was, I didn’t know what a infrastructure. I was very persistent in making sure before meetings that I was well informed and understood what was coming.

What are the main problems the village is currently facing?

Przybyl: I think a big issue for taxpayers in this village is what is required of all employees in the village. I think all residents have a right to know what their tax money is used for.

Seas: The biggest thing is the subdivision (West Ridge), and I’m trying to get it through – I know it’s stuck in a few areas. So push that through and make sure there are commercial properties in there that will help attract business. Any new business that comes to Poynette has to be built. There’s nothing to rent here and it’s a huge inconvenience trying to get someone here. There are many people who want to have a small business, but cannot afford to build something.

Stronach: Right now, given the economic situation, that is our tax base. We have to make sure we’re looking ahead – and that’s the other good thing about the council is that we’re looking ahead, and we’re looking ahead, and we’re looking at grants and everything to help reduce the costs to the community for the projects we have arrived and planned. Some of our budgets have been planned four years ahead of schedule, and we’re expecting them, but because we’ve planned and got the grants, it’s going to reduce what’s going to be charged to the community by 50% sometimes on some projects. It’s seriously just money right now, because everyone is hurting.

Fiore: One of the problems is to bring commerce, to bring businesses. I’ve seen businesses walk in and out of Main Street without success. I would like to see the community more involved in (businesses) staying in town, but they will stay in town if we have something to keep them here. And housing. We’ve had two requests from people who have bought a home here, worked here or nearby, raised their families, and now the families are gone and they want a two bedroom fourplex (to be reduced). And there is nothing available. There are enough people like that for us to look into.

Polzer: I’m not trying to be flippant about it, but, money. By that I mean being a good steward of taxpayers’ money. We will spend money wisely, we will plan ahead and we will manage our resources wisely. It also ties into the fact that we’re going to be making some really sound decisions about our infrastructure. I was delighted that the taxes were fixed. This ties in with something our admin (Craig Malin) said recently about delivering more services with less – meaning taking what we have, while still delivering quality services.

What is your position on the development of the West Ridge subdivision?

Stronach: I like the plan we have right now for the open neighborhood concept, with the parks inside. Again, it’s up to the developer how much money they can invest in the project. Hopefully between our ideas of what would be awesome there and the potential monetary (contribution) (from the developer) up front, we get to that point where we can meet somewhere in the middle and everyone will have a happy medium.

Fiore: I think that’s a good idea. I think the plan looks good and workable, and I agree with it.

Polzer: I’ll wait and see at this point. I will insist on using our money wisely, by reducing taxes. If there is growth in the village or community, most of the time people will think that is more money for the village tax base and other things. There are benefits to this if more people come in maybe we get another restaurant. But there’s also pressure on other departments because it affects public safety, water, sewer, even city hall with permits – it affects all of that. It’s good for local businesses, but again, there are other things to consider. I think it’s early enough (in the process) to wait and see how it goes. I think I’m just concerned about the role of the village in things.

Przybyl: I am for development. I would need to know more about what is going on with the West Ridge subdivision dish before commenting further.

Stronach: I’m okay with building the subdivision because there’s a lot of houses, but there’s also 50 plus units that could be built, so they can go there and rent instead of owning a house . But they are also trying to add commercial lots to it, and I totally agree. It’s just trying to navigate with the owner of the land.

To see complete answers to all of the questions posed to applicants, go to


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