Sturgeon Bay Common Council Election: District 1 Questionnaire

Helen Bacon serves on the Door County Board of Supervisors and said the death of her daughter, Emma, in 1997 “has been an important part in my seeking to advocate and promote the services that we as a county provide to our citizens.” She has three other children, one of whom lives in Sturgeon Bay.

“Local government works best when local officials are Non-partisan,” she said. “I need to represent all citizens not just people I like or agree with.”

Dawn Goodban, 53, studied at the Cerritos Community College Academy of Radio Broadcasting and at the Blue Sky school of massage therapy and bodywork. She has served as a volunteer for the humane society, Living Fee, United Way, and the City of Sturgeon Bay. “I have a work history in customer service in the manufacturing and healthcare industries. I have always worked well with people,” she said. “I enjoy engaging in resolution based issues. Inclusive collaboration is something I would strive to build and maintain.”

What changes would you suggest, if any, to the way the city conducts council meetings and solicits public input at those meetings?

Dawn Goodban: I think having a newsletter or other monthly publication or forum outlining the agenda and inviting public feedback would be one thing we could try.  

Helen Bacon: Meetings need to run in a fair and impartial manner. A good leader can move the agenda along and bring the group back to topic. Shorter meetings can be just as informative and productive.  Much of the work and discussion can be done at the committee level and then moved forward to the common council. When an official is elected he or she enters into a relationship of trust with the citizens who voted for them. I know many people that are not able to attend meetings, but I will respect their ideas and opinions. Citizens have many ways to communicate and I urge them to choose the way they are most comfortable with.

Would you change the way the city approaches economic development, and if so, how?

DG: Part of this whole process is education. The more we know about what works and what doesn’t work the better decisions we can make going forward. There must be change in order to have growth. Change is inevitable, the question is when and how? I’m sure there are many things we can do to start the process and move forward.

HB: Collaboration in healthcare, tourism, retail and manufacturing is the way we can move our economy forward. As a county board member I sit on the Door County Economic Development Corporation, (DCEDC). They work with the city of Sturgeon Bay to ensure that we stay competitive and responsive to local needs. DCEDC can help us solve challenges in business growth, population decline and engaging a younger workforce. We continue to have hundreds of well paying jobs with benefits in our industrial park, as well as jobs in tourism, retail and healthcare. Collaboration on childcare, housing, wages, benefits and quality of life are discussions we that can move our city forward. Economic development is much more than simply getting a job or starting a business. We are stronger when we work together.

How should the city encourage development of more affordable apartments?

DG: This is not a simple question that can be answered in 150 words. Anyone (like myself) who rents knows we have a crisis on our hands. The old models are not working so we must look to new ways to address old issues. Other communities have had to think outside the box and find innovative solutions and I think those solutions with a tweak here or there are things we could incorporate. Reaching out to those communities and talking to people involved in these innovations in housing is a first step that I would pursue

HB: Collaboration is necessary to achieve this goal. Using data from the United Way Asset Limited, Income Restrained, Employed Project, (ALICE), we know that almost 30 percent of workers have not had a wage increase in 12 years, but the cost of living has gone up. We need to harness the Door County Economic Development Corporation, (DCEDC), and work with them to assess needs, identify sites and connect with developers. They are working to bring non profit developers to the county and also to make Wisconsin Housing

and Economic Authority loans (WHEDA) available. The next push is urban development looking at the old West Side School and on the east side looking a the soon to be vacated Nicolet Bank Building and other empty properties.

If the proposed PRAT Tax to fund street improvements does not gain traction in the state legislature, what should the city do to address the state of its crumbling streets?

DG: This was a question posed at the League of Women Voters forum on Feb. 28. I answered honestly by saying I would need more information and input from District 1 residents to make an informed opinion on an alternative to the PRAT tax which I think is what most people prefer of the current options.

HB: Premier Resort Area Tax (PRAT) is one of six items that Door/Kewaunee Legislative Days will take up with our representatives in Madison. With the support of our legislators I am hopeful that it will pass. Other cities have used the Wheel Tax, but only local automobiles and light trucks are taxed. Any one living outside the city limits or tourists coming to visit would not be contributing to this fund. Special assessments are often proposed. This is not a good idea for maintenance of roads but possibly for larger street projects.There are several items that would generate money at a state level. Gov Tony Evers has proposed a gas tax that would tax gas coming into the state. How this would impact the price at the pump is unknown. Raising the vehicle registration rate and toll roads have been proposed. These are not in effect at this time.  Good, attractive roads are important in attracting visitors and new citizens to our community and I consider it a top priority.

What is the biggest opportunity you see for the City of Sturgeon Bay?

DG: Personally I see Sturgeon Bay as a sort of hidden gem of Door County. We are the hub of the county yet a lot of tourist dollars head north of us. I think by invigorating our waterfront with interactive public spaces and adding innovative concepts to our already beautiful geography we can build on our unique opportunities.

HB: Our varied economy, our schools, parks and our unique location on both sides of the bay. I know we can collaborate and move forward with wise and responsible decisions for our city.