Primary to trim Beloit Town Board chairman candidates
TOWN OF BELOIT Voters in the Tuesday primary will decide which two of the four men running for Beloit Town Board chairman will appear on the April ballot.
The candidates are Tim Guenther, 2556 S. Natures Ridge; Jim Olson, 2228 Pow Wow Trail; Jim Stevens, 4707 St. Lawrence; and Phil Taber, 2828 Riverside Drive.
The chair position has been empty since former Chairman Rob Pavlik moved out of state last year.
Guenther: "I'm running for chairman because I feel I'm best qualified to continue in the path we've been going and what we've settled in the last 1.5 to 2 years," he said.
When he started on the town board two years ago, the board was dealing with many issues that the board has made progress on, such as the sewer district and incorporation, he said.
"My fear is that … we'd actually be taking a step back on a couple of those issues" if other candidates were elected, he said.
Olson: Olson is a member of the Beloit Turner School Board and is seeking re-election to the school board and running for town chairman.
"I'm interested in the town's economic development," he said. "I don't see the leadership on the town board that I think we need. I've had some experience in that capacity before. I think I could provide some."
He served as town chairman about 20 years ago.
Stevens: The Gazette was unable to reach Stevens. He is town board Supervisor No. 4.
Taber: Taber served on the town board for more than 12 years since 1999 and as recent as April 2012, when he didn't seek re-election. He decided to throw his name back into the hat with the opening of the chair position.
"I would like just to see if I can be a little more assistance as a chairman rather than a board member," he said.
"There's a lot of things in the town I would like to see before I retire from politics," he said. "I'm very much in favor of the incorporation. I think that would be good for the town."
The town again is considering plans to incorporate part or all of the town into a village. The board last week met with an attorney in closed session and decided to wait until after the April election to continue the discussion.
Guenther: Incorporation would be a benefit to the town and the most densely populated areas, he said.
"It's going to help and develop it (the town)," he said.
After a town is incorporated, it can create tax incremental finance districts and have better access to money for residential and commercial property developments, he said.
One option would be to incorporate the most densely populated area into a village and leave the agricultural area as a town, he said.
Another option would be incorporation of the entire town into a village, he said.
Olson: The town explored incorporation when Olson was chairman. It didn't go anywhere, and he called it an "exercise in futility."
"Now, there are so many avenues that could be pursued, and if I were chairman, I'd want to pursue them all," he said.
"It's hard to be definite when the options are so many."
He said he wants to maintain the town as a separate entity. He's always been opposed to the city of Beloit encroaching on the town's tax base. The town has a lot of land that could be used for commercial and residential development, he said.
Stevens: The Gazette was unable to reach Stevens.
Taber: "I'd like to see the town advance, and incorporation is the biggest one," he said.
Incorporation would provide more access to funding, he said.
"Also by incorporating, it gives us a little more leeway in what we want to do," he said. "Now (we) have to have cooperation of the county and Beloit, (which) also have a say on what we could do. It's kind of nice to have a little power yourself. (I'm) willing to listen to anybody."
He said he doesn't want to split up the town in any way.
"We're still one big, happy family," he said.
"I don't want to shove anybody out in the cold. It's going to take a lot of looking into."
Voters in Tuesday's primary will narrow to two the field of four candidates for Beloit Town Chairman.
Address: 2556 S. Natures Ridge, Beloit.
Job: Project manager with Morse Group, Beloit.
Education: Some college courses at University of Georgia and UW-Madison
Community service: Has been involved in Beloit-area organizations over the last 35 years.
Elected posts: Serving his first term as Beloit town Supervisor No. 1
Address: 2228 N. Pow Wow Trail, Beloit.
Job: Self-employed in a financial service business
Education: Bachelor's degree in business administration and economics from UW-Platteville, specialized courses at UW-Madison.
Community service: Past president of Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce, past director of economic development for the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation, member of Beloit Rotary Club, legislative officer for Rock County disabled veterans, served on Stateline Literacy Council board.
Elected posts: Beloit town chairman from 1991-93, currently serving first term on the Beloit Turner School Board.
Address: 4707 St. Lawrence, Beloit
Elected posts: Currently Town of Beloit Board Supervisor No. 4.
The Gazette was not able to reach Stevens for other details.
Address: 2828 Riverside Drive, Beloit.
Job: Retired from the U.S. Postal Service
Education: Beloit High School graduate
Community service: Previous member of the town parks and festivals committee.
Elected posts: Beloit Town Board member for more than 12 years.