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Jim Ness

City of Lodi mayoral candidates created their own profile questions before receiving ones from the Chronicle.

Jim NessTell us about yourself (background, career, etc.)

I am the youngest of 12 children born to Thomas and Verna Ness and have lived in City of Lodi all of my life.  I raised two daughters and now have four grandchildren.  My working life began at the Gray Rexall Drugstore for Russell and Thelma Gray when I was in the 6th grade until 1965.  I continued at the Dick’s Pharmacy after Dick Rott purchased it until1967.  I then spent six (6) years in the Army National Guard with the 13th Medical Evac Unit in Madison from 1965-1971.  I had a thirty-nine (39) year career at Oscar Mayer working mostly as a Millwright Mechanic and retired in 2006.  At age fifty-eight (58) I passed the Elevator Apprentice Test and worked as a Mechanic’s Helper in the elevator industry until 2011. I still find time to assist my niece at KD’s Bar and Grill now and then.  Most of my time is devoted to conducting business at City Hall as the current Mayor.

Why do you think you are qualified to be the Mayor of the City of Lodi?

I have lived in Lodi all of my life. The experience working on Main Street during my school years has given me insight into the Lodi business climate.

I have served as the Treasurer at the Curling Club for thirty (30) plus years and know finances.  I also understand governmental finances from my time serving on the City of Lodi Finance Committee.

As the Oscar Mayer Union Steward I worked closely with Management to resolve employee relation issues and concerns.

Along with being the Mayor for two consecutive terms I also served on the City Council as an Alder for over 12 years.  We have accomplished some amazing things and rebuilt a great organization.  I participated in the formation of our current Recycling program.  Cooperated with the School District to construct the streets and infrastructure for the new Primary School building.  Built the additional Multi-purpose trail for a route to the schools.  Refurbished the Gateway signs and constructed the new sign on HWY 13 on the southside of the city.  Streamlined the committee and commission meeting schedule to more efficiently use the time of the Alders.  Executed the plan to install the Peaceful Valley mural on the side of the Martial Arts building. Expanded TIF district #5 to set the table for economic development.  In the process of planning the 2023 state HWY 113 project.  Through employee resignations and retirements I recruited multiple high level positions such as Director of Administration, Chief of Police, Director of Operations and the City Clerk.

Have you held public office in the past? If so, when and what roles?

Yes, I was elected to City Council and served from 1990-1996 and served on Public Works Committee, Finance Committee, Parks Committee and Utilities Commission then again from 2009-2016.  My Mayor responsibility started in 2016 to the present.

What do you believe are the roles/responsibilities of a Mayor?

The roles and responsibilities of the Mayor are to promote Lodi both commercially and industrially by meeting with engineers and developers along with promoting our Tax Incremental Districts.  Planning future street projects, address employee relations, and promote cohesiveness during Council Meetings.  Evaluate the strengths of the Alders to make appointments to proper committees and commissions.  Build relationships with city employees and citizens to represent their best interests.

The Mayor is the friendly and welcoming face to whomever visits City Hall.  I am here to listen to concerns, address problems and resolve issues.

Describe your highest priorities for the City of Lodi.

  1. Road construction projects and infrastructure are crucial and must be high priorities.  The Hwy 113 road project is scheduled for resurfacing in 2023 and extensive planning with engineers and the State of Wisconsin DOT are taking place.  Within the next two (2), years both Fair and Sauk streets reconstruction and infrastructure need to be addressed and grant applications have been submitted to attempt an offset to the cost to the taxpayers.
  2. Residential development planning on the westside of the city continues.  Designing, preparation, and foresight including all the key stakeholders will resume as the projects unfold.
  3. Developing the relocation plan for a new fire station with the collective townships is significant for the safety of all area residents.
  4. Strive to continue our high level of customer service while maintaining the current level of taxation.
  5. The highest priority is to preserve Lodi as a desirable community for us all live.  I always do my best each and every day for Lodi.

What do you think the biggest challenges are for the City of Lodi?

The biggest challenges include continuing to fill the Main Street empty storefronts, expanding the Industrial Park and dealing with floodplain issues.

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