Second supervisor race is under wayTwo-thirds of the government in the town of Hudson could change over if new challengers win the April 7 election for three supervisor posts. Incumbent Tim Foster is up against David Bartizal for the Supervisor 2 position.
By: Jon Echternacht, Hudson Star-Observer
Two-thirds of the government in the town of Hudson could change over if new challengers win the April 7 election for three supervisor posts.
Incumbent Chair Jeff Johnson is challenged by Gregg White. Incumbent Tim Foster is up against David Bartizal for the Supervisor 2 position, and the open Supervisor 4 seat is a contest between Kernon Bast, who served on the board in the past, and Todd Mullinax on the five-member panel.
Foster, 58, is a native of the Milwaukee area who came to college at UW-River Falls, earned a business degree in 1975 and never left. He has served as a supervisor for 16 years and was a Plan Commission member for 13 years prior to that.
Bartizal, 43, grew up on St. Paul’s East Side and in Woodbury. He moved to the town of Hudson 12 and a half years ago. The supervisor race marks his first campaign for a local government post. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1989 from the University of Minnesota and has been a member of the town Plan Commission. He is running in a triumvirate of sorts with White and Mullinax, all with similar campaign platforms.
“I feel it’s important to make sure of the direction we are going,” Foster said in a telephone conversation late last week. “You can’t stop growth but we should have organized growth and positive changes.”
Foster feels the town has been a model of progress over the decades. “In 1959 the town of Hudson had zoning, before the city of Hudson,” he said. “We had a comprehensive plan in 1988, long before the state required it.”
He said the supervisors have always kept an eye on spending. “The board has always been a frugal group. We saved for 10 or 15 years before we built a town hall and paid cash for it,” he said.
“We have never borrowed money -- some communities are paying thousands of dollars in interest and we have no debt service to pay. Because of that, when the (state) government put on the 2 percent freeze a few years ago, it didn’t affect us,” Foster said.
If there is a mistake, we should have made more bike trails and parks when we had the space. We will be asking for (federal) stimulus money to develop a four-foot shoulder along town roads for bike traffic,” he said.
Bartizal agrees that the strategic plan doesn’t adequately handle park situations. “It is my belief that the comprehensive plan does not go far enough to define specific plans for acquisition of park lands or setting aside areas in subdivision development,” he said on his Web site.
Bartizal wants to assure that ample consideration to open space is a priority and that affordable long-term solutions are found.
He also stresses fiscal responsibility and vowed to work endlessly to find the lowest cost options that deliver the best value and serve as a steward of taxpayers’ money.
“I don’t think our town government is focused on the long term. I am concerned we are not taking action now,” Bartizal said in a telephone conversation Monday. The economic downturn over the last six months requires immediate action, he said.
Bartizal, White and Mullinax have been working together since November when issues of spending and salaries came to a peak at a Town Board meeting. Bartizal said the salaries of the chair and the supervisors were set to increase in April. “We, along with some other residents, rejected the idea of raises and got it turned around. There will be no increases in April,” he said.
“It’s the wrong time for any government officer to ask for a raise,” he said.
Another area Bartizal stressed in his campaign platform is citizen involvement in local government. “To put it bluntly, public officials perform to a higher standard when people are paying attention, sharing ideas and providing different points of view to contribute to the debates that need to occur as part of any decision-making process,” he said.
In the Star-Observer story about the town of Hudson race for chair, there was an inadvertent misinterpretation of the terms in the contract for the assistant animal control warden, stating he gets a maximum 30 days vacation. The contract doesn't award any vacation days for the position. The Star-Observer regrets the error.