Three Unopposed Alderpersons Have High Hopes for City
Pam Akers, Karl Kastner and Shirley Saryan do not have opponents on this spring's ballot, assuring the current council that has been together since 2009 remains intact.
Barring unforeseeable circumstances, Greenfield’s Common Council will remain intact until at least 2014.
All three alderpersons up for re-election this spring – Karl Kastner in District 3, Pam Akers in District 4 and Shirley Saryan in District 5 – are unopposed on the April 3 ballot, keeping a continuity on the council that has been in place since 2009.
Alderpersons serve three-year terms with an annual salary of $6,300.
Below are short bios of the unopposed alderpersons and their answers to a Greenfield Patch questionnaire.
Name: Karl Kastner
Address: 3820 S River Ridge Blvd.
Years on Common Council: 12
Family: wife Kristen; two children, Kendall (16) and Kaiser (14)
Employment/Occupation: Insurance Agent / Owner of Kastner Agency Insurance
Current/previous city committees you serve/served on: (current) Council President, Finance & Human Resources, Planning Commission, and Community Development Authority; (previous) Board of Public Works, Tree Commission, and Board of Health
Name: Pam Akers
Address: 4920 W. Layton Ave.
Years on Common Council: 3
Family: daughter, Melissa; grandson, Drake; two dogs
Employment/Occupation: Academic Departmental Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Current/previous city committees you serve/served on: Public Works, Legislative Committee and Board of Health
Name: Shirley A. Saryan
Address: 3714 W. Vogel Ave.
Years on Common Council: nearly 7
Family: husband Leon; daughter Ani; son Armen
Employment/Occupation: special education diagnostic teacher
Current/previous city committees you serve/served on: (current) City of Greenfield 5th District Alderperson; Finance & Human Resources Chairperson; Board of Public Works; Public Library Board; Park & Recreation Board; (previous) Legislative Committee Vice-Chairperson; Community Health Improvement Planning Committee; Community Center Ad Hoc Committee Chairperson; Land Use Steering Committee; Public Celebration Committee.
Why did you decide to run again this spring?
Kastner: I believe that I can still make a difference, with my years of experience in the public and private sector. The ultimate goal is to help the people of Greenfield.
Akers: While I've learned a great deal over the past three years, I still have much more to learn. I feel I can still represent the residents of my district using common sense and practicality, since I understand how difficult it is for many of us with to deal with these difficult financial times. I also enjoy helping people and while I wish I could solve everyone's problems, I understand that, that will never be possible, but in those cases, I try to do what is best for the City as a whole.
Saryan: I enjoy serving my community in a leadership role and want to continue to help Greenfield become a better place in which to live.
During your tenure as an alderperson, what would you consider the city's greatest accomplishment?
Kastner: Stable taxes and continuing quality services.
Akers: The creation of the Community Center (done without tax dollars). It shows what Greenfield citizens, businesses and the City can do when they all work together.
What is one thing you look forward to seeing, or would like to see
happen in Greenfield in 2012? Over the next five years? Over the next 10?
Kastner: Putting the city in a position that will make it a desirable place to raise a family, relax as an empty nester, own and operate a business, as well as enjoy the open space (Parklands) for generations to come.
Akers: What I'd like to do, isn't possible, but if I had the power I'd like to lower property taxes, and not just the small portion that is the City of Greenfield's, but all parts (schools, MMSD, state, county etc.) and increase services. But the reality is that isn't possible. The cost of everything is rising and the tax basis in the City can’t keep up. So realistically, I would like the City to continue to find innovative ways to raise monies without putting a bigger burden on the residents, encourage businesses to invest and develop within the City of Greenfield, and also for the City to continue to find better and more efficient ways to provide services.
Saryan: I look forward to seeing the landscaping/outdoor improvements to our Community Center, which will occur within the next few months. During the next five years, I would like to see the continued revitalization of South 27th Street, more citizens using our library and parks, and more sidewalks and bike paths in Greenfield. The next decade will hopefully see the economy improve and local businesses grow stronger. I also look forward to the continuation of healthier lifestyles and the beautification of homes and gardens in our city.