Chairman’s race heats up in Sullivan

March 20, 2019

SULLIVAN -- A pair of newcomers is competing for the top seat in the town of Sullivan election April 2.

Scott Buth, a former member of the School District of Jefferson Board of Education, and Jefferson County board Supervisor John Kannard cite their respective past public service experience in seeking the chairman’s post in the town.

The two candidates were asked to provide information on their background, experience and top issues of concern related to being in public office. The following are their responses.

Buth said he is seeking to continue serving his community on the town board as chairman after serving nine years on the school board, including seven as president while his children were in school.

“Now that they are both out of school this is just a natural progression to take another position and help out at the town level,” Buth said.

He cites his experience running board meetings and handling different opinions among members and being able to resolve it as a reason voters should support him.

He also feels his business experience with budgets, profit and loss, and general financing could benefit the town, as well.

Buth has owned his own business and currently is a sales manager for a Dousman-based company that sells machinery to manufacturing companies.

Prior to serving on the board, Buth had been on the district’s committee for the building referendum. His other community service has included a variety of positions at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sullivan including as chairman, treasurer and board member.

He has a degree in agricultural economics and agricultural engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Buth points to the resignation of the town’s public works employee as among a top concern, noting that the job will not only be taking over the role as chairman, but also being responsible for bringing on new employees.

“Having owned my own company, I have a lot of experience with interviewing people and making hires, and being able to transition people into new positions,” he said.

The newcomer also noted that as any municipality, the town of Sullivan struggles with its budget.

“Having experience in doing budgets and looking for unique ways to make things happen is something I have a lot of experience in,” he said.

Going forward, Buth believes the town needs to analyze its revenue streams.

“I remodeled my entire farm 10 years ago and didn’t have to buy a single building permit or do anything other than go to the county to get zoning permits,” he said. “I think the town is leaving some money on the table by not charging for building permits for additions and other things like that. I believe there is some opportunity to add some revenues to the town without having to cost the taxpayers other than those who need those services.”

Also, Buth said it is important for the board to be proactive on requests for proposals and ensuring the town is getting the best possible deal on all the services it purchases.

Kannard points to his service to the community as a supervisor on the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors for several years. He was on the board from 2004-2010 and has been serving again since 2012.

In addition, he also owns his own business, Southwest Surveying & Associates, Inc.

“I regularly attend town of Sullivan board meetings and I am familiar with the town government operations/responsibilities,” Kannard said.

Other than his service as a county board supervisor, Kannard has been a town of Sullivan fire commissioner for the Rome Fire District from November 2000 to April 2005 and has served on the town’s planning commission since 1998.

“I believe the current town board has done an exceptional job,” he said. “I would continue with the same philosophy and attention to detail as the current board.”

Kannard said the upmost concern he sees is with road aid for town road maintenance and repair.

“I would work with state elected officials to increase state road aid,” he said, adding that he would also look for efficiencies that could stretch the limited funds.

Kannard noted that he is very familiar with and has a good working knowledge of road maintenance and repair.

“There is always more need than dollars available,” he said.

Also, Kannard said Jefferson County is in the process of revising its comprehensive plan and also the agricultural preservation land use plan.

“The town needs to understand the significance of these plans, how they will impact the future development within the town, and the impact on the property rights of the landowners,” Kannard said. “I work with the Jefferson County Zoning Office applying the land use plan and zoning ordinance on a daily basis so I would be able to explain the plans so the citizens would understand the impact.”