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Nobody Wants To Be Mayor Of 1 Wisconsin Town

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. (WCCO) — If you think it’s rewarding being a small town mayor, you’d better talk to Karl Hoffmann.

“You’ve got some false information!” Hoffman said with a large chuckle.

What’s no laughing matter is that answering the call of civic duty is the keystone of our democracy. But in Fountain City, Wis., the phone’s been silent at city hall. The election filing deadline came and went and nobody stopped in.

Mayor Hoffmann is not running for re-election and it appears that nobody else wants his job.

“If you get one person to run for mayor in a small town, you’re pretty fortunate,” said Hoffmann.

One reason might be this: For all its small town charm, Fountain City is plagued by aging infrastructure. Making matters worse, cuts in state aid means there’s little money to fix things.

That’s one big reason why bar owner John Jaszewski says being mayor of any small town is a thankless job. He said despite trying to make things better for everyone there’s always going to be constituents who criticize you for your work.

“Every time you enter into a large decision in a small town it’s a 50-50 split. And I wouldn’t want that job and a lot of folks in town don’t want to get anywhere near that job,” Jaszewski said.

It’s not the end of the world if nobody enters their name on the April 10 ballot. There is always the option of a write-in. Of course, the write-in winner would have to accept the job, which is never guaranteed.

Mayor Hoffmann said he’d probably accept another term if enough voters write-in his name and want to keep him as mayor. But he made it clear, at an annual salary of $2,500, it’s not the money that would make him do it, but rather the pride.

“It’s just knowing at the end of the day and the end of the week that you’ve done the best you can to move forward,” Hoffmann said.

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