Mary Ann Komiskey is seeking her first term as mayor.
She is running against incumbent Nellie Pater and fellow city of Tomah city council member Mike Murray (District 3).
Komiskey is the alderman for District 1 on the Tomah city council. She has served on the council since April 2015. She ran unopposed for the seat after incumbent Bobby King did not seek re-election.
She has resided in Tomah for 45 years but is originally from just outside of Pittsburgh. She attended Apollo High School, where she graduated from in 1959.
Following high school Komiskey moved to Washington, D.C., where she attended George Washington University part-time for two years while working full-time for the government.
Komiskey worked for the Pentagon before moving to Virginia Beach, Virginia, where she worked for the JAG office for the Marine Corps. She remained there until moving to Tomah and working at Fort McCoy, where she remained until her retirement.
Outside of retirement, Komiskey worked as the director of an adult day care program, technical writer for Best Technology and as a freelance writer for the Monroe County Democrat.
In the community Komiskey is the president of a women’s group at Queen of the Apostles Catholic Church and is on the parish council. In the past she served on the Tomah School Board for six years and was the secretary for the gifted and talented program in its pilot year.
Komiskey said she likes to help people.
“I’ve always been interested in trying to make things better for people,” she said. “I led the parade on getting the fence at Lemonweir (Elementary) School, and I also campaigned about getting rid of the black top from the school playgrounds ... I’ve always been out there in the public trying to make things better.”
If elected, Komiskey hopes to make the community more comfortable with being involved with the city government. She also hopes to create a finance committee.
“We do the budget once a year, and I think ... we really need to be more familiar with the budget,” she said. “So if we had a finance committee, that could keep us abreast throughout the year.”
On the city’s Tax Incremental Finance Districts 8, 9 and the possible creation of 10, Komiskey has reservations.
“I think we really need to step back and see is this what we need, or will the business, the hospital and the cancer center generate enough interest that businesses will come in on their own that we wouldn’t need the TID,” she said. “TID 8, I was never really in favor of that, I voted on that no. TID 9 I have some reservations about it, I just wasn’t sure. I really wanted to know what kind of jobs were coming in.
She said if the jobs are low-wage, “it puts a burden on the social programs ... the business has to match the community.”
Komiskey is happy for the new Tomah Memorial Hospital and Gundersen Clinic and cancer center coming to the city.
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful that the hospital and that whole complex is coming in,” she said. “I think ... the cancer center is certainly going to be an asset to not only our community but all the surrounding communities.”
On the relocation of Monroe County’s Rolling Hills Rehabilitation Center & Retirement Home to Tomah, Komiskey is leery to call it a victory because the final decision is still up in the air.
“I think there are a lot of good reasons to have it in Tomah,” she said. “Location, location — we’re right where people can get to it. I feel that with the money that was saved for transporting in an ambulance from Rolling Hills into Sparta, we’re saving a lot of money there.”
On the new Chamber of Commerce building, Komiskey wants the Chamber to pay rent. She expressed concern that “there’s nothing in writing that we can refer to.”
“I kind of feel like the council is being given a black eye because there is at least half the council on there that wasn’t on the council when this first started,” she said. “I don’t think that the business, any business here in Tomah, would expect the taxpayer to pay their rent, whereas on the Convention Bureau side, again that agreement was made, and the Chamber and the council were not really familiar with it. There’s nothing black and white about it and it wasn’t voted on.”
For taxes, Komiskey said they are where they should be.
“All your constituents complain about taxes, that’s a given, but I do feel that ... the council does work to keep the taxes down and sometimes you just have no control over it — as long as we want the services to continue,” she said. “I mean where do you stop? Do you say no garbage collection? Do you say no police support? Do you say no fire support? It’s very, very hard to cut the budget with the necessities.”
Komiskey said roads in the city are in dire need of repair.
“Public Works is doing their best with the budget to get them repaired, but I can’t really say much about that,” she said. “I understand that they are in dire need of repair, but unless we can come up with more money for Public Works budget without raising taxes, then we just have to try to do what we can with them.”