2022 Municipal Responses

Fox Point Trustee Questionnaire

  1. What are the biggest challenges facing the Village and what changes would you attempt to address them?

    Elizabeth Aelion - The Village faces the challenge of providing services in a rising cost environment where the ability to increase revenues is limited. The Village Board must make a decision on whether to rebuild or renovate the pool, Village Hall and Department of Public Works facilities. A new agreement must be reached on the North Shore Library. Given state restrictions on raising taxes, the Village must seek the most cost-effective ways to address these challenges. Currently, higher density development is mostly along Port Washington Road. Residents were surveyed and the recently completed Village Comprehensive Plan did not include as a goal or recommendation the construction of higher density housing elsewhere in the Village. Policy changes regarding higher density development to increase tax revenue must reflect the wishes of residents with regard to the future of the Village and should encompass the Village as a whole. Any discussion regarding Tax Incremental Financing for development projects must include all information necessary to make an informed decision and provide the opportunity for all residents to participate in a decision that will affect everyone living in Fox Point.

    Bill Kravit - We have a few big deals coming down the pike.
      1. Replacement of the village pool. This cascades into where the pool should be located or relocated, or built at all, and if built to what size?
        1. The pool relates to whether Fox Point should help finance development, or even relocate its DPW along the Port Washington Bradley road area.
        2. If Fox Point moves DPW and perhaps other Village space to that corner then what does that mean to the existing Fox Point DPW area as far as development?
        3. If the Pool is moved over to Longacre park, what happens to the skating rink and how will the neighbors feel about that?
      2. The Library. This has become a mess. Years of political and perception issues have clobbered this relationship with Glendale. All of it not good for the library. Now it has become a political football in Cobalt’s pursuit of a development deal in Bayside.
      3. Resurfacing Lake Dr. As all of us have driven north from Shorewood, once we reach Fox Point, it seems we’ve reached the end of any caring about Lake Dr. This will be re-paved courtesy of the State of Wisconsin, but then there is discussion about what else Fox Point can or should do to Lake Dr in unison with the State repaving effort.

    Eric Fonstad – The biggest challenge facing Fox Point is the same one we have struggled with, fairly successfully I would say, for years. That challenge is: how can we maintain and enhance the high level and quality of Village services that residents expect within the context of increasing costs and constrained revenue.

    With the support of the Board, Village staff has done an excellent job putting the Village on a sound financial footing. We have the highest possible rating for our debt and can take on additional debt if that becomes prudent. Fox Point taxes are high. Trustees need to be vigilant to make sure our tax dollars are well spent.

    Many of our challenges cannot be addressed through policy changes. One that could is our changing demographics: our population is going down and the average age is going up. We lack alternatives for aging residents who can no longer maintain or afford their homes. At the same time, not enough homes are available for new families who want to move here. We need to find ways to ensure aging residents can stay in Fox Point while we continue to welcome new families.

    Other big challenges facing the Village are: what to do about the municipal pool, the future of the North Shore Library, how to manage the aging and increasingly expensive Village Hall and DPW yard, the possible redevelopment along Port Washington Road, rebuilding Lake Drive, protecting roads and sewer lines along Lake Michigan, and finding ways to enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety.

    It can take a frustratingly long time but we will work our way through these challenges. I have the skills, background, and experience needed to meet these challenges. I ask for your vote on April 5, 2022, to re-elect me as a Village Trustee.

  2. How would you specifically try to improve transparency on issues important to the village?

    Elizabeth Aelion - I plan to be pro-active in reaching out to residents to make them aware of issues coming before the Village Board, both via social media and direct contact. I would also like to have a regularly scheduled listening session to seek opinions and suggestions on decisions being made and to follow up with information on ongoing issues. People don’t always have time to come to Village Board meetings, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. Residents need to know their voices are being heard and their input is important.

    Bill Kravit - There is good transparency now. We have the Website, we have other printed magazines and notices. We have Zoom option for board meetings and all other Village meetings where the public doesn’t have to appear in person to see their trustees or committee members at work. We need to be always be receptive to other ideas of transparency continuance.

    Eric Fonstad – I am proud that I have taken every opportunity to improve transparency on issues important to Fox Point residents. It was my request that lead to the weekly posting on the Village website of the Village Manager’s Weekly Report. It was my suggestion that resulted in the Small Area Study, Pool Study, Village Hall/DPW Yard Study, and Comprehensive Plan being posted on the Village website in conjunction with the Cobalt proposal.

    I will continue to prompt staff to publicize information that is important to residents. The most significant thing the Board has done to improve transparency is to hire a Village Manager who is engaged and responsive and who insists that members of his staff are open and responsive to residents.

    Closed sessions at Village Board Meetings are necessary at times to deal with litigation, personnel matters, or negotiations involving the sale, purchase or exchange of property. Trustees do not decide when something will be taken up in closed session but I make sure that closed session discussions are limited to the matter at hand and that other things are not discussed.

    We are no longer able to rely of paper forms of communication like the newsletter we used to send out or the North Shore newspaper that had reporters who covered Fox Point news. I support continuing to have DPW staff distribute flyers during refuse collection when the situation warrants such as the questionnaires we used while updating the Comprehensive Plan and I will continue to look for ways to enhance access to information online. In that regard, Village staff is in the process of updating the Village website to make information more accessible.

  3. What experience do you have that makes you a good fit for this office?

    Elizabeth Aelion - I have a background in economics and finance; my work experience includes detailed financial and economic analysis. I attend Village Board meetings regularly and am ready to put in the time and effort to ensure the Village is making decisions only after a comprehensive review of all necessary information.

    Bill Kravit - I now have six years of Village Board experience, 35 years of owning and achieving success in my own ventures and businesses, and have very successfully enjoyed building and growing these enterprises as they have been built with strong character and trusting relationships developed over the years. Being an owner, being the person that creates jobs and manages people to bring out their best, being the one that takes responsibility and learns from failures, and knowing how a successful and happy organization can be so instrumental in furthering success, all have made me the individual that I am today – Experienced, capable, strong willed, trustworthy, and making the tough decisions.

    Eric Fonstad – I have been a Fox Point Village Trustee for fifteen years. During this time, I have had the pleasure of working with a wide range of personalities, including fellow trustees, Village staff, and Fox Point residents. I have been able to work well with everyone involved in Village government.

    Both Village Board Presidents I worked with endorse me for re-election. Douglas Frazer, Board President since 2017, says: “If there was such a thing as village board MVP, it would be Eric Fonstad. He is an immensely valuable member of the board and merits re-election.”

    Michael West, Board President from 2002 to 2017, says: “I’ll be voting for Eric Fonstad for Village Trustee in April. Eric and I served on the Village Board for ten years in common. Thus, I know very well Eric’s devotion to good government and the welfare of our community. Please join me supporting Eric’s re-election as Village Trustee.”

    I have Mechanical Engineering and Law Degrees from UW Madison and an MBA from UW Milwaukee. Before retiring at the end of 2010, I had over thirty years business experience as a corporate attorney.

    I am an inquisitive and engaged problem solver. I believe in the Village hiring qualified staff and giving them the authority and responsibility to do their jobs. I expect staff to justify their actions and recommendations and I do not hesitate to challenge them if I think they have not made a sound case for their actions.

    The institutional knowledge gained from fifteen years on the Board, my ability to work well with others, and my dedication to being prepared and working hard make me the best candidate for re-election as Trustee. I ask for your vote on April 5, 2022.