Tags: County Report
|Bourdo (click for larger version)|
March 04, 2014 | 02:18 PMELKHORN — Ben Bourdo, town of Troy, first became involved in local politics in 2007.
He said he advocates for lower taxes and property rights.
“Keep your money and do what you want with your property,” he said during a Feb. 28 phone interview.
He is now running for the county board supervisor in District 2.
The county’s second district represents the towns of LaFayette, Spring Prairie, all but one ward in the town of Lyons, all but one ward in the town of Troy and a ward in the city of Burlington.
Bourdo is running against Joseph Schaefer. Bourdo said he has nothing against Schaefer, but he was interested in running for the county board. Schaefer is a long-time incumbent, first elected in 1974, which is the same year Bourdo was born.
Bourdo decided to run for supervisor in the town of Troy in 2007 and said more people should get involved in local government.
“The more people that are involved, the better result you’re going to get,” Bourdo said. “I think that when you take one step — that if if you do good enough in that step — that you should be able to move up to the next step.”
During an interview Bourdo talked about eliminating wasteful spending and ensuring that the tax rate is low for the county. He said he did that as a supervisor in the town of Troy.
“If you look at the town of Troy, at our levies, one year it went up 0.04 percent,” Bourdo said. “It went down this year, and it went down more years than it went up.”
In the town of Troy, Bourdo said the town receives a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) from the state.
It is payment sent to municipalities from the DNR for tax-exempt DNR-owned land.
If elected, Bourdo said he will ask the state for a similar grant for other tax-exempt land in the county.
He also said it is important for elected officials to carefully watch government spending.
“When I first got on the town of Troy board, there were concerned people who knew that I would be looking at the money,” he said. “Just by somebody thinking that they are being watched, it makes them more efficient.”
Does Bourdo believe Walworth County is being inefficient?
“I think there is an opportunity for efficiency in any situation, but I do believe Walworth County spends too much money,” he said.
One of the main issues for the county in the past year was the purchase of parkland in the town of Lyons.
“I heard they paid too much for the land, but I haven’t seen the land,” Bourdo said.
Bourdo owns 175 acres of farmland himself and was concerned about the price tag.
“People need places to go and there aren’t enough parks around, but I think they may have paid too much,” Bourdo said.
He said he didn’t know enough about the park purchase to have a strong opinion on it.
“I think we should have more public trails, as far as recreation,” Bourdo said.
The county is also debating whether to take over inspections of restaurants from the state.
He said if the county could do it without increasing fees, he would support if there wasn’t an increase in fees.
“If it is not going to cost anybody anymore, and you’re going to have better protection, then I agree with it,” he said.
However, he said if it would cost more for restaurant owners to pay more in fees, then he wouldn’t support it.