Trustee Jim Roemer's decision to step down from the Village Board was not an easy one.
Roemer has served on the board for six years, which is longer than any other trustee on the board. A managing director working in commercial real estate at The PrivateBank, Roemer's service to the village began nearly 11 years ago when he joined the Community Development Authority. He will continue to carry out his second term until a new trustee is elected on April 2.
Jay Miller, the other trustee whose term is up, will seek re-election to his second full term. Nomination papers are available at Village Hall and must be filed by Jan. 2. If more than two candidates file papers to run, they will compete for the two at-large seats available in April. Trustees serve three-year terms and earn $600 annually.
Roemer said the job of village trustee can be demanding, and he is proud of what the board has accomplished.
"I don't have any qualms about stepping down after two terms," Roemer said. "I think we've accomplished a lot, and things are moving in the right direction on a variety of fronts."
It's been a busy six years for Roemer — most notably in the summer of 2010, when a string of torrential rainstorms flooded basements in Whitefish Bay. Roemer, whose own basement was flooded, became well-versed in sewer issues and would later serve on the village's Private Property/Inflow and Infiltration Committee.
"It was a really brutal stretch of time, emotionally and physically in terms of time commitment," he said. "It probably aged everybody on the board."
Roemer said he believes Whitefish Bay is headed in the right direction to fixing its sewers with a $105 million capital improvement plan. Sewer progess will be evaluated on a regular basis, so the scope of the project may change in the future.
"I feel good that we've laid the roadmap out, and I feel confident that the board and staff will review progress on an annual basis and will be prudent in continuing, modifying and reducing whatever is appropriate, taking into consideration the progress that is made," he said.
Although he's enjoyed his time on the board, Roemer said he's spent the past six months wrestling with whether he should continue his work on the Village Board or spend more time with his family. In the end, he chose free time and family. He still plans to be an active community volunteer, such as organizing the Sounds of Summer every year.
"It's time to diversify a little and let somebody else step up," he said. "For me, I'm going to spend more time with my family and take some time to recharge."
Miller will seek re-election
With four years of experience on the board, Miller said he is pleased with the game plan the village has developed for sewer issues, but realizes there is much more work ahead. He also said he is pleased with the recent uptick in new businesses, and the prospect of the Mandel Group's apartment development being part of the landscape on Silver Spring Drive.
Miller also said he is pleased with the village's attention to pesticide issues relative to the needs of local sports teams; acting on the JCC's request for expanded hours in a responsible fashion; and the hiring of Village Manager Pat DeGrave, who he said has introduced innovative and cost-saving ideas to the village.
He said the board has been able to reach these accomplishments by working collaboratively with residents and village staff.
Miller said sewer upgrades and business development will continue to be priorities in the future.
"In the future, we need to strike the right balance between implementing a sewer plan that solves our flooding issues and being mindful of the costs as we proceed," he said. "Likewise, we want a vibrant business district, but one that complements the neighborhood feel of our community."