Though nomination papers are not circulating yet, two men have announced candidacy for mayor of Rice Lake.
One is current Mayor Michael Diercks, who is seeking a third 2-year term. The other is Doug Edwardsen, who is in his second term on the City Council, having been elected as Alderman for Ward 4 in 2017.
Prior to joining the Council, Edwardsen was the Director of Continuing Education for UW-Barron County, starting in 2014. He also has more than 30 years experience working in leadership positions for several manufacturers.
In a statement, Edwardsen said his experience working directly with customers, developing plans and managing large budgets will be a good fit for the mayor position. He is also active as a Board member for the UWEC-BC Foundation, Rice Lake Protection District, Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary and the Rice Lake Historical Statue Project Committee.
In Diercks’ statement, he said the City mill rate has been lowered from 8.9 mills in 2016 to an estimated 7.9 mills for 2020—the lowest of Rice Lake’s seven comparable cities of similar size in the state.
Diercks stated, “A large part of the lower tax rate is having a tax base which is growing.”
He noted that the rax base has increased by $118.8 million in 6 years, or 19%.
“Rice Lake has grown in other ways, too,” said Diercks. “Businesses have come into Rice lake, others added on, and new housing developments have spring up.”
Diercks said that one of the main reasons he is seeking re-election is the development of the former Heritage Manor property at 19 W. Newton St. The City bought the property in late 2018, and is now poised to sell it to a developer for the creation of 47 new housing units.
“The need for the additional housing in Rice Lake and throughout the County is shown on the housing study done for the City of Rice Lake and Barron County,” said Diercks.
That study can viewed at http://ci.rice-lake.wi.us.
The Wisconsin Spring Election is April 7, 2020, and will also serve as the presidential preferance primary. If there are more than two candidates for mayor, a primary will be Feb. 18.