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HomeTown of Grand ChuteMeet the Grand Chute Candidates

Meet the Grand Chute Candidates

Candidates for Town Chair

Jason Van Eperen is chairman of the Town Board of Grand Chute, Wisconsin.
Jason Van Eperen is chairman of the Town Board of Grand Chute, Wisconsin.

Name: JASON VAN EPEREN
Address: 5711 W. Broadway Drive
Age: 44

Occupation: Owner and operator of a cash grain farm. I also work in the fuel delivery business.

Highest education: Associate’s degrees in agribusiness and automotive technology from Fox Valley Technical College

Relevant experience: Grand Chute town chair; Joint Sanitary District president; Postsecondary Agricultural Student Organization state vice president; and member of the Grand Chute Licensing Committee, Fox West Regional Sewerage Commission, Community Development Authority, Outagamie County Drainage Board, FVTC Student Government Association and the Greenville Cooperative board of directors nominating committee.

Campaign website: www.vaneperenforgrandchute.com

Why are you running for office? As a lifelong resident of Grand Chute, I am interested in both the heritage and the future of our town. My experiences include operating my own Grand Chute farm and a career in agriculture where I learned a lot about our town families. My experiences helped me consider how I could contribute to our town and the values we find important.

I have enjoyed my first term serving as town chairperson and enjoy the opportunity to work for and with our Grand Chute families and businesses to ensure we have the kind of town residents value and appreciate.

What makes you the better candidate in this race? In my first term as chairman, I made it a point to listen to our people to find good solutions to issues of concern. Some examples include the work done to stop special assessments and in responding to resident input concerning South Casaloma Drive and Melmar Court. In addition to listening to our residents, I have worked to emphasize transparency in our operating culture. I will continue to seek the input and perspective of our residents and our businesses to ensure that our town is moving in a direction that values the will of our people.

What are residents telling you are their most important issues, and how would you address them? Many people have expressed relief and appreciation about the elimination of financially dangerous special assessments for road funding projects. Residents have now appropriately been inquiring about how our roads will be funded. My solution, after much study, has been to fully fund our road improvements through our existing property taxes. I’m excited that we have not had to request an increase in our property tax levy to do so. That’s because we as a board have also focused on spending our current road dollars wisely. For example, we have stopped the practice of automatically urbanizing all roads regardless of need.

Dave Schowalter is a candidate for chairman of the Town Board of Grand Chute, Wisconsin.
Dave Schowalter is a candidate for chairman of the Town Board of Grand Chute, Wisconsin.

Reporter’s noteDAVE SCHOWALTER didn’t return the questionnaire. The Post-Crescent called Schowalter after the deadline, offering to still publish his answers with an explanatory note. He said he would see what he could do.

Reached again by phone after no response, Schowalter said he chose not to fill out the questionnaire.

“I’m just not going to answer it,” he said. “I just think that the newspaper isn’t the way to go right now.”

Meet the candidates for Grand Chute Supervisor 1

Ron Wolff is a member of the Town Board of Grand Chute, Wisconsin and candidate for re-election.
Ron Wolff is a member of the Town Board of Grand Chute, Wisconsin and candidate for re-election.

Name: RON WOLFF
Address: 5090 N. Milkweed Trail
Age: 63 h Occupation: Small business owner

Highest education: General Educational Development certificate through Fox Valley Technical College; certified nurse assistant through American Red Cross ofWisconsin

Relevant experience: I started Lakeshore Cleaners as an “odd jobs” company with virtually no start-up capital. I was able to grow it into a company with $2.1 million in annual revenue and as many as 35 employees. I also am proud to be an owner of Willow Lane Assisted Living.

Campaign website: wolffforgrandchute.com

Why are you running for office? I was elected to the Town Board two years ago. My reason for running was to ensure that residents are treated with respect. That emphasis has not changed. I want to make sure that people’s voices are heard and that expenditures are made with great care.

What makes you the better candidate in this race? I have made it a point to visit with residents to learn about their wishes and concerns. Having this understanding, I am in a good position to represent their needs and expectations for our town. The changes being made in our operations reflect that input.

What are residents telling you are their most important issues, and how would you address them? The three most common topics I hear about from residents are:

  • I have not been listened to; there is lack of respect.
  • Special assessments have become dangerously high and need to be eliminated.
  • There is not enough communication with residents.

In response, an emphasis of mine has been to contact and visit with residents to make sure their concerns are heard. I would like to see us communicate better with residents on an ongoing basis.

I and several others on the new board have heard the outcry about special assessments and have worked to eliminate/ limit their use.

Tim Bantes is a candidate for the Town Board of Grand Chute, Wisconsin.
Tim Bantes is a candidate for the Town Board of Grand Chute, Wisconsin.

Name: TIM BANTES
Address: 217 E. Broadway Drive
Age: 61

Occupation: Retired Grand Chute fire chief

Highest education: Associate degree in fire science technology from Fox Valley Technical College; six credits away from completing a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Silver Lake College.

Relevant experience: I served for over 38 years in fire and emergency services. I was elected to the governing board of the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association and served as the association president in 2019. I also was appointed to the Wisconsin Emergency Medical Services Board and was elected president of the Outagamie County Fire Chiefs Association for four consecutive terms.

Campaign website: www.facebook.com/electtimbantes

Why are you running for office? After recently retiring after a 38-year career in fire and emergency services, having the honor of serving as town fire chief for the final 15 years of that, I am seeking to continue to serve our community with the same level of dedication, responsiveness and integrity that I previously demonstrated.

What makes you the better candidate in this race? As a representative of our community, it’s my desire to draw upon their input as well as my experience in local government to ensure a safe, fiscally responsible, sustainable and excellent quality of life for current and future generations of Grand Chute citizens.

What are residents telling you are their most important issues, and how would you address them? The fair and sustainable funding mechanism and methodology of road construction and utility projects remain a high priority. The financial implications for both the taxpayers and the town require an advisory referendum vote of the citizens to gain an accurate perspective on the most appropriate course of action. Additionally, future land-use and development planning needs to be carefully executed with ample opportunities for citizen input. Citizens have voiced to me concerns with the increased crime and use of emergency services in our town. The Town Board needs to be supportive, proactive and fiscally responsible in addressing these issues.

Meet the candidates for Grand Chute Supervisor 3

Walt Nocito is a member of the Town Board of Grand Chute, Wisconsin and candidate for re-election.
Walt Nocito is a member of the Town Board of Grand Chute, Wisconsin and candidate for re-election.

Name: WALT NOCITO
Address: 3260 N. Spruce St.
Age: 78

Occupation: Retired

Highest education: Master’s degree in business administration from Widener University; certified public accountant in North Carolina (inactive)

Relevant experience: I am the Supervisor 3 incumbent. For ten years, I was one of the three owners of Berlin Foundry and was the principal partner charged with handling all matters that were concerned with municipal, county, state and federal issues. I am very familiar with the issues of small and medium businesses and the impact that government actions can have on a business.

Campaign website: Friends for Walt Nocito (forthcoming)

Why are you running for office?  Grand Chute has grown from being a rural town to the largest Wisconsin town and as such is experiencing matters that now require different skill sets. As the incumbent, I have seen the complexity of the issues and the level of analytical skills required to properly serve the residents.

What makes you the better candidate in this race? My prior business and professional experience bring to the board a set of analytical skills that is based upon arriving at decisions and policies taking into account the facts of a matter and with the residents’ concerns to achieve an effective solution.

What are residents telling you are their most important issues, and how would you address them? Almost to a person, the most important issue has been to eliminate special assessments for funding roads. Special assessments, in addition to their dubious legal nature, cause financial hardship especially for seniors who comprise 35% of the town and equally so on young families.

The board explored the use of a transportation utility, however, until there is a state statute for such a utility, the legal nature of such a utility is not settled.

Roads are long-term capital assets and, as they are used by residents over time, should be paid for over that same time in the property tax.

Beth English is a candidate for the Town Board of Grand Chute, Wisconsin.
Beth English is a candidate for the Town Board of Grand Chute, Wisconsin.

Name: BETH ENGLISH
Address: 4033 N. Trailway Lane
Age: 70

Occupation: Retired

Highest education: Bachelor’s degree in medical technology from the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh.

Relevant experience: I worked for Thedacare Laboratories for 34 years and was promoted to supervise staff. I served on the Fox Cities Fair Housing Council, Outagamie County Aging and Long Term Disabilities Committee and Fox Cities Greenways. I also served as president of the local League of Women Voters and on the state LWV board for two terms.

Campaign website: Beth English for Grand Chute

Why are you running for office? I believe every race should be contested to give voters a choice. I bring key skills important for the role of a Town Board member. I am a critical thinker and will listen and respond to issues of importance to the town residents. I represent the thoughtful, informed leadership needed.

What makes you the better candidate in this race?

This is my first candidacy, but I have been involved on a variety of community boards. I have studied local issues from a nonpartisan perspective as a League of Women Voters member for over 40 years. I am your nonpartisan candidate ready to find the most collaborative and equitable solutions.

What are residents telling you are their most important issues, and how would you address them? The most pressing issue is road funding. The board took recent action to eliminate the current special assessment policy. Finding few alternatives, the board cut the current capital outlay in half. This put some roads that were scheduled for improvement off the table for this year. This decision is not sustainable. Reexamination of that action is important for the future.

Residents are longing for more greenspace and trails. Grand Chute has long lagged behind other communities providing neighborhood park and recreation areas. I would make sure that the proposed County JJ trail will still receive the Grand Chute dollars promised.

Originally published March 9, 2023. Contact Duke Behnke at 920-9937176 or dbehnke@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DukeBehnke.

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