Sheboygan Mayor Vandersteen Retains Seat

Mayor Mike Vandersteen overwhelmingly won a reelection bid against challenger John Belanger on Tuesday.

The first-term incumbent collected 3,952 votes to Belanger’s 1,678 in unofficial results posted online late Tuesday night.

The mayoral hopefuls had disagreed over how much money the city should borrow to address its street work. The city has normally capped its yearly borrowing for capital improvements projects — a category that includes street maintenance — at about $3 million. Officials have agreed this year to ratchet up that amount, though, and could borrow several more million dollars to address building needs at City Hall.

The stepped-up borrowing has alarmed Belanger. He has said he would be OK with a slight increase in the city’s borrowing limits, but has called recent decisions to step up bonding “reckless.”

Vandersteen, though, has defended the city’s borrowing, noting the city has worked for years to rein in its debt and is now in need of more dollars to improve long-neglected streets. He has also pointed to low interest rates that make stepped-up borrowing more appealing.

Another disagreement surfaced late in the campaign, when both candidates expressed diverging opinions on how to tamp down on staff members’ paycheck costs, which represent a sizable portion of the city’s budget. At a candidates’ forum late last month, Belanger called for privatizing or outsourcing, where feasible, some of the services the city currently provides. He specifically cited Sheboygan’s garbage collection service.

Vandersteen, though, has been critical of calls to privatize some city services. The incumbent had instead pointed to efforts already underway to lower staff costs, including having city workers pay more for their insurance benefits.

Other Council Races

Multiple other Common Council seats were up for election Tuesday, but only a few featured contested races.

Here are preliminary results in those contested districts, with all wards reporting:

District 4

Andy Ross beat Adam Cain, 343 votes to 176

District 6

Henry Nelson beat Dean Dekker, 316 votes to 253

District 8

Ryan Sorenson beat incumbent Joe Heidemann, 654 to 229

School Board

Five candidates were vying Tuesday for four up-for-grabs school board seats in the Sheboygan Area School District.

All four of those seats’ incumbents — David Gallianetti, Peter Madden, Jennifer Pothast and Larry Samet — were running for reelection. They faced a challenge from newcomer Kyle Whelton.

Here’s what results, with all wards voting, showed:

Kyle Whelton with 4,483 votes

Jennifer Pothast with 4,022 votes

David Gallianetti with 3,959 votes

Larry Samet with 3,698 votes

Peter Madden with 3,681 votes

A widespread scattering — 1,358 total ballots — most from Town of Wilson voters

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