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Contested race for village president in Bellevue

By Press Times Staff

BELLEVUE – There is a contested race for village president April 6 with the incumbent, Steve Soukup, being challenged by Jackie Krull.

The top vote-getter wins a three-year term.

The Press Times emailed each candidate the same questions and gave them 100 words to respond to each.

Steve Soukup

Why should people vote for you?

Experience matters. I am the only candidate with experience on the Bellevue village board. I believe in paying your dues, and I have done that.

For over 20 years, I have worked my way up on numerous committees from Salary Committee chairman to president of the village today. As I have taken this journey learning and listening to Bellevue citizens, it has prepared me to be the best.

I know for a fact that being a Bellevue trustee, for 11 years first, made me a better president. I have also worked on 17 budgets, looking out for your tax dollars.

Steve Soukup

How would you encourage growth and retain Bellevue’s rural character?

We are certainly encouraging growth, but we are using a smart and planned process.

Our growth to the east, which is rural, is predicated by landowners selling to developers.

The Village of Bellevue doesn’t purchase land like other communities, but we will work with each group to make sure it is a sound project.

I do value our rural feel and respect our history. We have one farm, which celebrated 150 years in Bellevue.

Finally, we need to help our rural area with broadband internet, so they can have inexpensive costs and still have that rural charm.

What is the right mix of housing for the village to grow?

Over the last six years, our emphasis is on growth of our inventory of residential lots, and it has really worked.

In 2020, we had record residential building growth, which was the best since 2006. It looks even better in 2021, with many new neighborhood developments available. We will continue to help developers in the process of more expansion of residential lots.

In general, we do have too many apartments. But citizens are requesting more that have current, desirable amenities at a much higher cost to rent. I do scrutinize each project on its individual merit.

What should Bellevue do to attract business development?

As a business owner in the Village of Bellevue, I know we need more rooftops to attract business development. We are currently doing that at a record pace.

We also need to continue our Tax Incremental District (TID) projects that started over 10 years ago. Our first one helped us bring in Costco in 2013. It helped build the infrastructure to attract them to look at Bellevue, and to be on the same playing field as other communities.

I assure you that it will be a profitable project for Bellevue. All of the other TIDs are fiscally responsible, too.

What’s one thing you’d like to see changed in village government?

The major change I would like to see is to have more collaboration between local governments. There is some, but we need more to cut duplication and costs for the same services.

More metro services are needed in public safety. The Village of Bellevue has been going that direction and made that decision in 2020.

The historic merger of Bellevue and Green Bay Metro Fire Departments, which I studied and negotiated, began on Jan. 1, 2021. We are already receiving better service time to fires. Bellevue will save close to $8 million in capital savings over the next five years.

Jackie Krull

Why should people vote for you?

With a fresh perspective, I will lead the community as a visual and vocal elected official.

I’ll have an immediate effect as a village board member and village leader; as a natural progression from attending village board meetings since 2012, and budget work sessions since 2017.

My 20-year business ownership and acquired leadership and facilitation skills provides a foundation for guiding the municipal organization of Bellevue.

I have resided in Brown County since 1991 and in Bellevue since 2001.

Residents visiting JackieForBellevue.com will learn more about my endeavors to connect residents to information, elevate issues and spotlight municipal topics.

Jackie Krull

How would you encourage growth and retain Bellevue’s rural character?

Through preserving our green spaces for destination transportation and recreation, we will create a strong connected community.

Bellevue is transitioning towards full buildout, with development at the edges of rural, working lands.

Cultivating our community is a balance of vision and investment, while understanding the deep places of the heart of our former rural community.

Expanding our biking, walking and rolling culture with safe on-road paths and off-road trails will string community neighborhoods together and offer transportation to retail or employment places to support community life, retail growth and business advancement.

What is the right mix of housing for the village to grow?

Housing opportunities should support a family through all stages of life.

Bellevue is home to first-time home buyers, condos seekers, families with financial constraints, those seeking flexible rental or lease agreements, independent seniors looking for community living, forever home buyers and those later in life who would benefit from age-in-place options.

There is an enormous demand for expanded housing opportunities, and we need to respond to that feedback.

What should Bellevue do to attract business development?

A community that reflects stability and prosperity attracts business development.

We need to attract infrastructure that will increase density, while still retaining flexibility.

The “go-out-and-get” culture has changed to a “come-to-me” culture, which has been the reality of things for the past year.

This shift will have lasting effects on how people choose to shop, work and socialize.

We should focus on shared spaces, smaller spaces, that allow small businesses to move into retail space, not just chains.

We will build resiliency by understanding that recovery post-pandemic may not mean restoration.

What’s one thing you’d like to see changed in village government?

The hallmark of a strong community is a local government that is focused on its people; on serving them, on the co-creation of a place.

Local government will benefit when we move from merely serving customers to engaging citizens by bringing local government closer to the people.

Orienting toward our people and elevating our strong citizens, the people who care, will ensure we create Bellevue by design, our design.

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