Balance of power hangs on Town of Waukesha supervisor's election

Published on: 3/11/2014

Joe Banske, a Town of Waukesha supervisor, said there's still work to be done in the town, and he wants to continue playing an essential role.

But Jim Radke, vice president/general manager of a trucking company and a co-owner of Le Caffe Bistro in the town, thinks it's time for a change.

Voters will decide in less than three weeks as Banske and Radke are squaring off for the Supervisor 1 position on the Town Board.

Banske calls this "a watershed election" as the balance of power could change with one seat.

Radke has centered his campaign around ending "the bickering" among Town Board members.

"The discord and bickering among the board members is out of control and costly," Radke said. "I felt to be able to change things, you need to get involved. So much time right now is wasted in senseless bickering."

Banske said, in response, "It is not bickering to debate or disagree with someone. I stand intelligently on my guiding principles." Banske added that he provides leadership to the board even though "(Chairman John) Marek and (Supervisor) Brian Fischer continue to bait the hook to get us to 'bicker.'"

Opposing views

Radke has also come after the board on issues such as "out of control" spending on attorney fees and the town's issues with its on-site septic system.

Banske countered by saying that spending $160,000 over two years on legal fees in the fight against the Town of Brookfield and 288 acres of land was a "wise investment" because it protected $70,000 in annual tax revenue.

Banske added that the town septic issue "is being blown out of proportion for campaign rhetoric and that had the previous board and the engineer/architect that was used to design the past additions to the town properly addressed the septic, this would not be any concern at this time."

Banske also said his leadership in insisting a replacement septic be considered will lead to saving town taxpayers more than $100,000 in infrastructure costs and thousands more in water and sewer bills.

"My governing style is highly interactive," said Banske, 46, a mortgage banker/branch partner. "I care about the decision. I care about how my vote impacts someone's home and the enjoyment of the area that they chose to live. I do what the job calls for in order to gain the best knowledge of the details so I can make and defend my position."

Radke's ideas

Radke said he became intrigued in getting involved when Dunkin' Donuts was looking to come into the town last year. After the Town of Waukesha approved a drive-through for the site, given that one was allowed by zoning ordinances, Radke — whose business would have been by the proposed Dunkin' Donuts — contacted Waukesha County to find that a drive-through was not allowed.

"The oversight on the ordinance in place, and the arrogance the board exhibited to myself and the neighbors that were promised restrictions for safety reasons was something no one should ever have to contend with," Radke said. "That the town planner was not aware of the ordinance restrictions and to get answers I had to first contact the city that put me in touch with the county for resolution is ridiculous."

Radke also said the town should use Waukesha County's salt-storage facility instead of using one in Dousman. He added that the town should help the city get Lake Michigan water, but needs to first "repair our relationship with the city." He said incorporation should be pursued.

Radke, who says his experience in managing his businesses will translate to being an effective supervisor, has also criticized the town on allowing supervisors to attend meetings through the use of videoconferencing. "To even use it on an occasional basis is disruptive and unreliable," Radke said. "Do you really need to attend a board meeting when on vacation? If the board can work together, enjoy your vacation without having to Skype in."

Banske's take

While in favor of using video conferencing methods, Banske looked at limiting the amount of times supervisors can use it at a recent meeting as a way to find "middle ground." But his proposal was shot down after Marek and Fischer opposed it.

Over the last 3 1/2 years, Banske said, he's been a "proven champion of lowering taxes." He added that his actions have been consistent in protecting the private wells in the town. Banske said he showed this by increasing funding for the town's well monitoring program by 60 percent.

He also said he was instrumental in the town's capital expenditure plan, something, he said, the town didn't have before he was elected in 2010 during a recall election. Through the plan, he said the town has established a seed fund that has $285,000 in designated funds for fire truck equipment.

Banske added that he secured confirmation from the state Department of Natural Resources last year that says if the city does not get approval for Great Lakes water, the city's future water service area will be limited to its previous reduced area that excluded much of the town. "This was a pivotal declaration," Banske said.

Joe Banske (inc.)

Age: 46

Address: S32 W26341 Bob Bell Court

Employer/occupation: Cherry Creek Mortgage, mortgage banker /branch partner

Years of residency in the town: 10 years

Education: Cardinal Stritch University, business administration

Previous political experience or other related experience/community involvement: I have been elected 3 times to serve in the Town of Waukesha, Fox River Christian Church: Adult Bible study group leader and Upward Sports Ministry Commissioner, three years, former Waukesha South Varsity Men's Volleyball Head Coach, nine years

Family: Married with two children (ages 6 and 9)

Jim Radke

Address: S42 W25448 Dale Drive

Employer/occupation: Vice president/general manager, Grafton Transit. Co-owner, Le Caffe Bistro

Years of residency in the town: 20 years

Education: Bachelor's degree in business administration, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Previous political experience or other related experience/community involvement: Chairman, Waukesha County Technical College Truck Driving Advisory Committee, former board member, Wisconsin Movers (Wisconsin Motor Carriers)

Family: Wife, Sherri; two daughters