Loesch says goodbye after 16 years as village president

Longtime Village of East Troy president Bill Loesch presided over his last meeting April 15 after serving as Village President since September of 1996 and Trustee since 1986. (Vanessa Lenz photo)

Former village president Bill Loesch saw Monday night’s village board meeting from a new perspective ­– the audience.

The longtime public servant was keeping good on a promise he made to keep his eye on local government.

The move isn’t surprising since serving the Village of East Troy has been a focus for Loesch for more than two decades.

“It’s been enjoyable,” Loesch said. “I like the small town feel of East Troy. I can go out and walk the dogs and everybody says ‘hi’ and waves. It’s a friendly community. At least nobody has thrown rocks at me yet.”

Village Administrator Judy Weter said the amount of change that occurred during Loesch’s time on the Village Board would surprise most residents. 

“Over the last 16 years as president and five years as trustee, Bill has spent about 1,100 Monday nights sitting at Village Hall in meetings.  He probably missed a lot of Monday  birthdays,  anniversaries, and some of his son’s sports,” Weter said. “He’ll have more time now to walk his horses (Great Danes) and ride his motorcycle.”

Loesch, 66, who grew up in New Berlin, and his wife Linnea, who grew up in Burlington, moved to East Troy in 1978.

Loesch decided to run for office after receiving his tax bill one year.

“Taxes went up a bit. I was curious so I went and started to sit in on meetings – that’s what got me involved initially,” he said.

He was elected to the Village Board in 1986 and served as president beginning in 1996.

Loesch got the presidency title from a coin toss, following the retirement of president Mitchell.

“There were two of us who expressed interest in the position and there was a 3-3 tie so Mr. Mitchell tossed a coin,” said Loesch. “I thought I had something to contribute.”

Loesch brought a wealth of financial experience to the position.

While currently retired, he previously worked in finance  for manufacturing companies with positions including Controller, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance.

“It’s totally different than governmental accounting so I had to pick things up as I went,” he said.

Loesch’s time on the board has been filled with memories and accomplishments.

He got involved in the League of Municipalities, served on Walworth County’s  Intergovernmental Council, as well as the ad hoc  facilities committee for the East Troy Community School District.

Heading the Village Plan Commission, Loesch has overseen a number of projects around the village, including the East Troy Industrial Park, the village’s first stoplight, the construction of Prairie View Elementary School, East Brook Plaza, the new Village Hall,  several subdivisions and the  veterans memorial on the square to name a few.

The village staffers documented the developments in a slideshow for Loesch.

“It really surprised me a bit how much change happened,” said Loesch. “There was nothing striking. It was just gradual.”

The village re-shaped much of its staff with Loesch as president, with a new Village Police Chief and Department of Public Works Director hired in recent years. Loesch also worked with two Village Administrators prior to current Administrator Weter.

“It has been  a pleasure to work with Bill for the last 10 years. He brought a lot of private sector  finance, human resource  and general business management  skills to our village government.  His history on the board was very helpful when the Village Board was considering new projects or ideas,” said Weter. “Bill  is very thorough whenever he reviews anything – finances, legal  agreements, and development plans. At the same time, he never micromanaged the village.”

One of the largest staffing developments he was involved in was the creation of a parks and recreation department.

Loesch said the job did have its share of adversity, including the struggle to fill East Troy’s Business Park in recent years.

Loesch said his aim was to keep a strong community center in the village.

“I think the village has maintained a small town atmosphere centered around the square. It’s still a nice friendly community,” he said.

Loesch presided over his last meeting on April  15.

He lost his bid for re-election in the April 2 election with incumbent trustee Randy Timms securing 43 percent of the vote

So what’s next?

Bill and Linnea have put their house and the market with hopes of moving to California to be near their two sons, 37 and 34, and 1 ½ year old grandson.

“It’s only a 15-20 minute walk from the beach. It’s nice,” Loesch said.

Loesch doesn’t have any immediate plans to jump back into public service, but said it’s not off the table.

“I might stick my nose out there (on the West Coast) and attend some meetings,” Loesch said.

Until then, Loesch said he has very intent to stay involved in the village and can still be found in the back of the room in the Village Hall on Monday nights.


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