Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Chairwoman beats unexpected write-in opponent
Former chairwoman gets more than 200 votes in last-minute effort

by Chris Schultz

April 11, 2013

Joy Bartelson was unopposed on the ballot for Lyons Town Board chair.

Bartelson was re-elected chairwoman on April 2 with 349 votes. But that doesn’t mean she was unopposed.

On election night, town election officials also counted 218 write-in ballots; all of them for William Mangold. Mangold is the former town board chairman Bartelson defeated for the job two years ago.

Town Clerk Karla Hill said in an interview on Monday that copies of an anonymous letter were hand-delivered to homes about a week before the election.

The letter urged voters to write in Mangold for town chair. Hill said she did not keep a copy of the letter, but she said it cited displeasure with real estate taxes and issues surrounding the town’s two sanitary districts.

The two sanitary districts have seen their sewer rates increase over the years, in part because the Lyons Sanitary District 2 recently built a modern sewage treatment plant to maintain state wastewater treatment standards.

Contacted by phone on Monday, Mangold said he was surprised when authors of the campaign approached him.

However, he said he also agreed that, if elected, he would serve.

Mangold said the criticism he heard most about Bartelson had to do with communication.

“She’s not real open, I guess,” he said.

However, he said the reduction in the Timber Ridge Lodge assessments was not Bartelson’s fault.

“I think we all thought that they were properly assessed,” Mangold said.

He did not identify the authors of the write-in campaign. He did say that it appeared that supporters of the write-in effort came from all parts of the town.

Mangold did take out nomination papers for this election, but then decided not to return them.

He said he decided that he had given enough years to the community and town government, and it was time to let others take over.

However, he said he appreciated that so many voters wrote his name on the ballot.

“I really appreciate them thinking enough of me to write me in,” he said.

Hill said it was the largest number of write-ins she’s seen cast in the town. She said it took town election officials two hours to tally the write-ins after the polls closed.

She said usually the town supervisor and board chair elections garner one or two write-ins each.

The letter urging voters to write Mangold in seemed to have spurred write-ins in the town elections in general, Hill said.

She said Mangold got write-ins for the other two town supervisor seats as well.

All three seats on the town board are up for election at once.

Property taxes in the half of the town within the Lake Geneva elementary and high school districts saw increases of about 17 percent.

Part of the increase was due to a court-ordered reassessment of the Timber Ridge Lodge hotel.

But loss of state shared revenues in the two Lake Geneva school districts also contributed to the increase. By state law, school districts are allowed to increase their levies to make up shared revenue losses for one year.

Property owners criticized the town board for not warning property owners about the Timber Ridge reassessment, but town officials said they had no idea what kind of impact that decision would have on property taxes.

Incumbent town supervisors Doug Day and Bill Henningfield were also unopposed on the ballot.

Henningfield was the top vote getter with 503 votes. A variety of other candidates received 22 write-ins.

Day received 459 votes, but 35 write-in votes went to various candidates, Hill said.