Newcomers Jeremy Walz and Bonnie Lemmer defeated longtime Menomonee Falls Village Board trustees and incumbents Michael McDonald and Jeff Steliga in Tuesday's election.
It was a close race for Walz and McDonald, as Walz won by 359 votes, garnering a total of 3,215 or 53 percent of the vote. McDonald had 2,856 votes. Lemmer received 3,203 votes, or 53 percent compared with Steliga's 2,825 votes, or 47 percent.
Village trustees serve three-year terms and receive $5,500 annually.
The unofficial vote total:
Jeremy Walz 3,215
Bonnie Lemmer 3,203
Michael McDonald 2,856
Jeff Steliga 2,825
Election results remain unofficial until they are certified by the board of canvassers.
The troubled Radisson Hotel that received a $17 million loan from the village when it was first developed made the difference in the race, said both Lemmer and Walz, who adamantly opposed the expenditure. Both candidates were also endorsed by the Menomonee Falls Taxpayers Association.
"I think that I tried to portray that I was for the residents and that I did not condone what has been going on for so long in some instances like the Radisson, and I was the kind of person who was going to keep my word and delve into some of the issues that I brought up," Lemmer said.
One of her first priorities as trustee is to research expenditures related to the hotel. She would also like to see a boost in development and businesses that would "add warmth to the village." During her campaign, Lemmer said she wants to be vocal with residents and keep them informed by creating a newsletter sent to all residents with their utility bill that would be paid for by advertising. A promise she plans to uphold.
"I want them to feel they can contact me for anything," she said.
Walz, whose campaign was based on smart spending, said the issues surrounding the Radisson were a big factor in the outcome of the election.
"I would like to thank my family for their support. I also want to thank the voters for their trust and the Menomonee Falls Taxpayers Association for their endorsement," Walz said. "I would also like to thank Mr. McDonald for his 20-plus years of service to the Menomonee Falls community. I am excited to get to work and serve the residents."
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