Incumbent Republican Lon Strand appears to have secured re-election to the Dodge County Board of Supervisors, representing district three, fending off a challenge from Democrat Daniel Beerbohm, according to the most updated numbers available from the Dodge County Elections Commission as of press time.
Strand received 1,455 votes (74.23 percent) to 502 votes for Beerbohm (25.61 percent).
Neither Strand nor Beerbohm was available for comment on Tuesday night to comment on the initial results.
Strand is a fourth generation Dodge County farmer who will now be serving for his fourth term on the board—holding a seat that was once held by his father.
In an interview with the Tribune last week, Strand touted the board’s fiscal conservatism, arguing that the board has historically been in the bottom 10 percent of county levies across the state.
“You can ask any department head in the county and they would tell you it’s like trying to get blood out of tomato to get more money,” he said.
Strand also sat on the board during this past budget cycle where the tax request and levy did increase—largely because of a recently approved $11 million project to overhaul the county’s reportedly outdated emergency public radio system, considered crucial to public safety, and a growing jail population. But in board meetings, Strand has maintained that the county’s share of the property tax remains significantly lower than other taxing entities and is still lower than most other counties.
He added that preparing for population growth could be one of the biggest challenges facing Dodge County in this next term, arguing that the county needs to be prepared to address increased infrastructure demands on fire departments, police departments, jails, roads and more. At the same time, he argued that the county shouldn’t invest heavily in expanding those services until it was clearer how population growth was affecting infrastructure.
“If we can figure it out ahead of time, that’s great but if not, be ready to do something in a short amount of time,” he said.
While Beerbohm ran in this election as a Democrat, he is a self-described independent who has run for this seat in the past as a Republican.
“I’m still kind of an independent, but running as a Democrat because you got to be in a party to run for a seat as a supervisor,” he said.
Beerbohm is a lifelong Dodge County resident and has been a full-time farmer since 2011. He was also running for the Pebble Township Board, a position which he currently holds, and was re-elected there.
Beerbohm had campaigned on the idea of making the board more accountable to citizens, suggesting that they push their meetings, currently held at 9 a.m. every other Wednesday, to after work hours so that more members of the public could attend.
He also argued that the county should be more aggressive in seeking additional financing opportunities, like federal grants, for projects like the costly public radio overhaul.
Both Beerbohm and Strand have expressed concern about how that project played out in rural areas, with Strand arguing that rural fire departments and police departments have not received enough information on the project, and Beerbohm calling for more financial alternatives.
“I know a lot of our fire departments can’t afford what the county’s trying to force on them or trying to get them to pay from what I understand,” Beerbohm said. “We need to look at ways of financing that to help out these small fire departments so we don’t hurt them financially.”