Whenever a proposal came to the Town of Verona over the last two-and-a-half decades, the Town Board could be sure one of its supervisors had already done his homework and was waiting with questions.
That person was Manfred Enburg, who retired from the board April 14 after deciding to not seek re-election to his supervisor seat he had held for all but two years since 1996.
“He liked to have as much information and analysis as he could get his hands on,” Town Chair Mark Geller told the Press. “That kind of was his approach to everything at the town.”
Whenever there would be questions about development, town clerk John Wright recalled, Enburg was going through those documents with a “fine-toothed comb.”
“In the course of a board meeting, you could pretty much count on (Enburg) going through sections of updates to policy and development plans, and road plans and budgets for replacing rolling stock,” Wright said.
Enburg, a civil engineer who moved to the town from the greater Chicago area, is leaving the board – at least for now – because he’s juggling a lot of responsibilities with running his own consulting firm.
“I’m not leaving with any feelings like, ‘I’ll never go back there,’ or ‘I want to get out,’” Enburg said. “I really love the town.”
Enburg said when he first ran for Town Board, there were issues with its roads and people in the town had asked him to get involved because of his expertise working with traffic and roadways.
“A lot with regards to challenges the town has is limited dollars to do various things in public works,” he said. “That’s a large part of the town’s budget, whether it be drainage or road maintenance.”
Since then, Enburg has been involved in multiple challenges – funding issues, boundary agreements with the City of Verona and a two-year effort to consider consolidating the town into the city that culminated in a failed referendum in 2008.
That was a time, Enburg said, where the town’s future seemed in jeopardy, where board members felt it would be, “Last one out, turn out the lights,” as is happening with the impending dissolution of the Town of Madison.
That’s not the feeling anymore.
“I think the last several years have been very satisfying, because I think the town has come a long way, not just with what the feeling in the town is, but also people’s feelings now are the town’s going to be around for the next 50 years,” he said.
Enburg said he always tried to be an elected official who listened to the townspeople and represent them the best he could. He made decisions with a mindset of considering how he’d like to have been treated as a homeowner who was being affected by a policy decision the board was making.
“Sometimes that gets challenging because … everyone has a different opinion at times, depending on what the issue is, but (I was) always looking to do the best that could be done for the town,” he said.
Geller said Enburg will be missed by people on the board. Enburg was a wealth of historical knowledge, had the ability to bring perspective no one else had and treated everyone fairly, he said.
“What I always appreciated in (Enburg) is whether or not … you fell on his side of the argument, either supporting it or not, after the meeting, he was – and is – the nicest guy, never took anything real personal,” Geller said. “As long as he had the chance to be heard, that’s what he wanted.”