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Brown Deer Village Board voters guide

March 18, 2014

Jamie Awe

Age: 34

Employer/occupation: annuity specialist at Robert W. Baird & Co.

Education: bachelor's in finance and marketing from UWM

Contact: (262) 894-5347; jdawe7@gmail.com

What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

My expertise in both finance and marketing will help the village in many ways. I will use my skills in finance to prioritize spending, and optimize our budget and borrowing. My marketing skills will be used to improve our image, and sell ourselves to new businesses and home buyers.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the village and how would you solve it?

An ever-tightening budget is the number one issue facing the village. Levy limits, declining home values, vacant properties, and dwindling state funding all threaten our village's finances. With our tax rates among the highest in the state, we must do more to work closer with the school district and other parts of the village to help reduce costs. Spurring retail and economic development will help alleviate some of the burden on the budget as well.

To many nonresidents Brown Deer is still associated with the former Northridge Mall and its issues. How can Brown Deer shake this misconception and redefine its image to the outside world?

The misperceptions about Brown Deer have been around for years. This is one area where my marketing skills will be valuable. Redefining the village is a two-step process. First, we need to develop a marketing plan that utilizes the tools of today (e.g., social media) to showcase our safe neighborhoods, renovated school campus and small-town appeal.

Long term, we must work with the DOT and business leaders to improve our major roads and properties. The green city limit sign, a soon-to-be vacant appliance store, and a 40 mph speed limit do not distinguish us from the Northridge area very well.

Terry Boschert (i)

Age: 60

Employer/occupation: engineer at Master Lock

Education: associate degree in industrial engineering from Moraine Park Technical College; bachelor's in management systems from Milwaukee School of Engineering

Contact: (414) 354-1150; tbosch@wi.rr.com

What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

The one thing that distinguishes me from my opponents is my experience and trustworthiness. Being a 27-year resident and three-term Trustee I have the background to deal with the important issues confronting Brown Deer. That knowledge gives me the foresight to move Brown Deer's future forward.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the village and how would you solve it?

One of the biggest issues facing Brown Deer is declining property values. We have recently added resources to staff in order to effectively deal with properties that fail to meet current ordinances and to ensure that foreclosed properties are maintained to village standards. We are also going to do a physical assessment of all properties in the village to get an accurate valuation of properties. In addition, we need to market Brown Deer's affordability index.

To many nonresidents, Brown Deer is still associated with the former Northridge Mall and its issues. How can Brown Deer shake this misconception and redefine its image to the outside world?

The root cause of this misconception stems from the fact that Brown Deer Road stretches all the way from Bayside to 124th Street in Milwaukee. This leads to a lack of understanding of where Brown Deer borders exist. We have recently added unique new wayfaring signs along heavily traveled roadways in the Village. We will also be adding new village entrance signs in the Brown Deer Road medians that will give us a visible presence. Another new development will be our association with the Glendale / North Shore Chamber of Commerce to more align ourselves with the North Shore.

Bruce Thomas

Age: 58

Employer/occupation: self-employed owner of a uniform business

Education: bachelor's from the UWM school of business

Contact: (414) 371-0329; bthomas6200@gmail.com

What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

During the nomination process, I spent hours talking with residents. I listened to your comments on high property taxes, lower assessed home values, and economic development in this village. I believe that encouraging businesses to locate here will generate more property tax revenue for the village offsetting residential property taxes.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the village and how would you solve it?

Increasing our home values and dealing with high property taxes are issues without a doubt.

New businesses will pay property taxes into the general village fund which can serve to lower future residential property taxes. The new Walmart site will have a guaranteed assessed value of $11 million and will pay almost $345,000 per year in taxes. The plan by International Auto to purchase the vacant gas station site will revitalize a blighted corner.

To many nonresidents Brown Deer is still associated with the former Northridge Mall and its issues. How can Brown Deer shake this misconception and redefine its image to the outside world?

Attracting new businesses to Brown Deer will offer residents more options for goods and services which will make Brown Deer a more attractive place to live. A new Dunkin Donuts on Green Bay, a new super Walmart with grocery store, and a possible high end car dealership are steps in the right direction. The village might work to redevelop the American TV site into a super Target or a destination IKEA Furniture.

Brown Deer already has excellent police, fire and paramedic services. We have a great DPW department. We should market these strengths to attract more residents and businesses. 101 words

Sherry Yusuf

Age: 56

Employer/occupation: agent, American Family Insurance

Education: bachelor's in business administration from Mount Mary College

Contact: (414) 355-2994; ibuje1974@yahoo.com

What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

As a businesswoman, I have balanced budget, payroll and implemented business development opportunities for last 27 years. I am opened minded, forward thinking, a fresh voice and will bring real life and work experience to the village board.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the village and how would you solve it?

A fragmented village and villagers is the biggest issue facing the village. If villagers are not talking or voting, how can the communities, business and government work cohesively together to solve issues. Communicating, listening and dealing with the real issues holding the village back can move the community, business development and job growth in a positive direction. Brown Deer could be the model for an integrated community within a segregated Milwaukee County. 95 words

To many nonresidents Brown Deer is still associated with the former Northridge Mall and its issues. How can Brown Deer shake this misconception and redefine its image to the outside world?

Communities are totally individual in nature however; The Village of Brown Deer should refine the village boundaries by creating ample eye catching signage, enhance the street islands, and require new construction and remodeling projects to conform to the original village landscape such as the Original Village area and the Sherman Ave and Bradley St development. We should work from within and appreciate what the Village of Brown Deer has truly become; a community rich in history and culture and we should embrace it. Make it a point to meet a new villager every day!!!

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