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Maintain city services to hold property values

Mayoral candidates answer question on foreclosures

Jan. 24, 2012

Each week leading up to the April election, Wauwatosa NOW will ask the candidates running for mayor one question about an issue facing the city. The candidates have been limited to 150-word answers.

The three candidates - Peter Donegan, Kathy Ehley and John Pokrandt - will be narrowed down to two contenders with a primary election Feb. 21.

Readers are encouraged to submit questions they'd like the candidates to address by sending an e-mail to reporter Stefanie Scott at sscott@cninow.com.

Q. Homes aren't fetching as much in today's market as in the past, and they are taking longer to sell. What should the city do to preserve home values and to reduce the negative impact of foreclosures on Tosa neighborhoods?

Peter Donegan

A. City operations are critical to property values in ways we take for granted. Imagine how the community's desirability would decrease if the following diminished:

Clean water from every faucet

Sewage removed with a flush

Accessible streets

Police patrolling 24/7

Emergency response in minutes

Garbage removed weekly

These are fundamentals of community well-being. We must maintain high standards. We shouldn't take these for granted. Until we recently corrected, proper investment in the first three had been badly neglected for a long time.

I believe our library, building code enforcement, zoning policy and the "urban forest" make important contributions to desirability and value. Maintaining quality schools and attracting young families certainly drive values. That's why I pressed for the renovation of Hart Park's athletic fields.

Answering this question is easy. However, continuing to deliver current service levels challenges us in a big way and will require excellent human and financial management.

Kathy Ehley

A. People move into Wauwatosa because of the school system, safety, city services, well-maintained diverse housing stock and our neighborhood associations.

The reality is that when a home goes into foreclosure, it is the bank that deals with the issue, not the city. When the banks put the home back on the market, it is the perceived desirability of the community that will make the difference in the selling time and value. We have an impact on how desirable a place Wauwatosa is to move into.

City elected officials and staff must do their best in providing high-quality services that are efficient and cost-effective, and the Wauwatosa residents must also get involved to support the schools, neighborhood associations, commissions and boards to help keep the quality of life in Wauwatosa at a highly desirable level. It takes all of us to make a community great.

John Pokrandt

A. In these tough economic times, Wauwatosa's property values have been supported by safe streets, excellent school district and amenities like our library, parks and vibrant business districts. Maintaining city services is essential to maintaining the desirability of Wauwatosa as a community.

Reducing the negative impact of foreclosures will require enforcing code compliance and working with owners of distressed properties to ensure they don't fall into disrepair. As mayor, I pledge to work with the Building and Safety Division to ensure code compliance and force institutions that own foreclosed homes to maintain them to the standard expected in Wauwatosa.

I will engage with the Wauwatosa School District to maintain our position of excellence in public education. I will be a tireless advocate on public safety issues, ensuring we maintain our trend of year-over-year crime reduction. Finally, I will strive to support smart economic development that will benefit the city long-term.

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