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Walworth's Watters won't run for Village President

Trustee Rasmussen seeking seat

December 22, 2010 | 08:37 AM
Walworth — After eight years as village president, Todd Watters will step down and a familiar face in local politics hopes to take his place.

Trustee David Rasmussen announced he is running for village president. Watters is endorsing Rasmussen for the position.

Watters, who has served four two-year terms on the board, also said the past year has been difficult for him and his family because of "work-related concerns."

"This has been a major source of distraction from the business of the village and had adversely impacted my on-the-spot availability," Watters said. "The village needs a president who is more accessible during business hours."

Although Watters won't seek re-election as village president, he hopes to continue working on the board as a trustee.

"I have enjoyed my service to the village and wish to continue to share my experience and knowledge, but in a more focused manner," Watters wrote in an e-mail. "Serving as a general board member designated to oversee a more limited number of topics will allow me to add greater value to the board and the village."

Looking back at his tenure, Watters said he is proud of his accomplishments on the village's Plan Commission.

"(We) significantly augmented the public park and recreation availability with the acquisition and development of Badger Park and Badger Conservancy, and the completion of multiple bike paths throughout the village," Watters said. "We established annual unit growth parameters that we felt the village could support while still maintaining its essential character, and we were able to stick to those parameters despite heavy development pressure."

Plans as village president

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On Monday morning in his law office on Kenosha street, Rasmussen laid out some of his plans on what he hopes to accomplish if elected. Rasmussen was the village president in the late 1990s.

As he sat behind a large, solid teak desk that was part of the library table in the Maytag Estate's Ceylon Court, Rasmussen said the village needs to address issues of what he called "undevelopment."

Undevelopment is subdivisions which were started, but road work and other infrastructure wasn't completed, he said.

For the past several months, the village has discussed placing a special assessment district on Windmill Prairie because infrastructure work that should have been finished isn't.

Rasmussen said Library Square and Whitetail Ridge also has road work that should have been completed.

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Building in the Windmill Prairie has been stagnant and Rasmussen said the planned development could move forward by decreasing sewer impact fees.

"We could lower the sewer impact fees substantially," he said.

However, fire and library fees, which he said are significantly less than sewer fees, don't need to change.

Part of the reason the sewer impact fees could decrease is because the plant expansion was completed using a grant from the federal stimulus program.

"I would have opposed the sewer plant addition in the current form and grant money not been available," he said. "As soon as grant money became available, I got out of the way."

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Rasmussen also is optimistic that the village can negotiate with development company Sho-deen for the property the company owns on the southeast side of the village.

"As someone who strongly opposed the high-density golf course development proposal, I believe we are in a good position to negotiate a comprehensive plan incorporating a low-density development on that property," he said.

There are other budget issues Rasmussen hopes to address.

"Going forward we have to address the size of the working capital reserves," Rasmussen said.

As the village's budget has increased, Rasmussen said the working capital has remained the same.

He also said the village faces challenges with road construction. In 2011, the village only budgeted to complete the east end of Maple Street.

"Another financial challenge is the street budget has gotten too small," he said.

Personal life and law practice

Rasmussen is married to Betsy, a registered nurse, and has two adult children, Anne and Mark.

His father, Warren, also was an attorney in the village and started the Rasmussen Law Offices in 1948.

Although Warren died earlier this year, his office still has pictures and medals from his service in World War II.

His brother, Richard, earned a juris degree from the University of Arkansas Little Rock.

David, who describes himself as a conservative, laughed when he talked about his brother taking a constitutional law course from former President Bill Clinton. "Ask him if he learned anything," he said.

David earned his degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1980.

He is also the church organist at the Immanuel Church of Christ. He said prior to that he played keyboard in a rock and roll band. He plays guitar and accordion.

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Walworth County