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MOUNT PLEASANT

Mount Pleasant to become only municipality in Racine County where board members have a three-year term

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MOUNT PLEASANT — The Mount Pleasant Village Board has voted unanimously to extend trustees’ terms from two years to three years.

The decision was voted upon Jan. 24 and will take effect next year. As such, each of the currently seated members’ terms will still only be two years, as will those elected in April.

There are three Mount Pleasant trustee seats up for election this spring. Each race is uncontested, with two incumbents (Anna Marie Clausen, Denise Anastasio) running and Andrew Docksey looking to replace Bud Eastman who isn’t seeking re-election.

“It’s very important that everyone understand, even though it was said very clearly, numerous times and at the open public meetings, this does not in any way, shape or form, affect the term of anyone who’s currently on the board,” Village Attorney Chris Smith said.

This change was first formerly brought to the board in April 2021, though discussion of it began back in 2018, according to Smith.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the United States and Europe remained unified on not only the nature of the Russian threat to Ukraine but the consequences that Russia would face if it invaded. They also defended the increasingly dire warnings that a Russian invasion may be imminent. Fears are rising about what would happen to Europe’s energy supply if Russia were to invade Ukraine and then shut off natural gas exports in retaliation for U.S. and European sanctions.

The ordinance is congruent with the village’s strategic planning process, which overall works toward the “betterment of the village going forward, beyond any current village board member’s term length,” Smith said, adding that the board wants “to have this plan in place to make sure the village is on a sound path.”

Trustee Nancy Washburn said during the Jan. 24 meeting she supports the ordinance for a few reasons. “No. 1 and most importantly, I think the three-year term is going to attract people that are invested and interested in public service … Those of us sitting here on this board … we have to look at budgets that are allowing for the future … We are constantly having to plan far outside of what a two-year term allows us to do,” she said. “I think it allows us to better immerse ourselves in the village itself.”

It’s rare but not unheard of for a village’s elected officials to have three-year terms. None in Racine County do.

But, according to village documents, several Wisconsin municipalities of the same population — such as Menomonee Falls, Germantown, Whitefish Bay, Greendale and Shorewood — have trustees with three-year terms. More than 10 school boards have seats with three-year terms in Racine County; Racine Unified, Burlington and Waterford Union High are among them.

Citizens have 60 days from the passing of the ordinance on Jan. 24 to petition for a referendum to the ordinance. The organization A Better Mt. Pleasant is currently gathering signatures for a petition.

The current board agreed the extension of the trustee term would promote continuity, which helps in bringing in developers and attracting residents to the community.

“The board believes it just gives citizens, people, businesses, anyone looking to live or work or develop in Mount Pleasant, that it gives them a little bit more certainty of who they’re dealing with,” Smith said.

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