Kraft Officially Sworn in as Seymour Mayor

Seymour has a new mayor, but for many, he is a familiar face.
Ryan Kraft was born and raised in Seymour, graduated from UW-Green Bay where he graduated with a masters in corporate finance and also in economics, and has spent time on the council before.
Before his first child was born, Kraft spent 2010 through 2014 on the Seymour City Council, but took a break to focus on parenting.
After his kids grew a bit older and there was less traveling for work he found himself with some more time and rejoined the City Council with some new ideas and new vision for the city.
“When I looked back to where we were when I started in 2010 and to now, a lot of the things we talked about hadn’t come to fruition,” Kraft said.
With a more progressive mindset he hopes to start up some more positive change in Seymour.
A lot of what it boiled down to in Kraft’s mind was a more reactive approach than proactive, something he hopes to shift the board’s focus toward.
That new approach begins with forming a plan for the city and structuring out these plans for years in the future to give the council goal posts to move towards as opposed to reacting to issues.
One of Kraft’s plans is for the city is to help modernize some building facilities and create a common infrastructure between buildings.
“Each building and department has its own server, its own back up, its own contract for services and as a result of that we have redundancies in equipment and more importantly redundancy in cost,” Kraft said.
By removing those redundancies and creating strategic plans should bolster what Kraft says is already a great city.
There are also concerns about the physical infrastructure, the roads and streets, and a desire to move away from stop gap measures like chip sealing to more long term solutions.
According to Kraft the city is in good financial shape and there’s a lot of good pieces that the city council can build around.
“I don’t blame any of the past councils or mayors, they did great jobs, but the focus hasn’t been there on moving the city forward,” Kraft said.
Parks in Seymour were one of the spots where improvements can be made by bringing more focus to keeping up with maintenance of these parks will help the city.
“If we address those issues, do the developments, modernize the city infrastructure, have good roads, and insure we have ample recreational space we’ll attract residents,” Kraft said.
Kraft is excited for the chance to take his new ideas and put them into action with the council he has in place.
“One of the first things I learned on council was this isn’t about politics it’s about service,” Kraft said.
With some change over on the council, Kraft feels like his term as mayor will be a sort of fresh start for the city.
The hope is that some new energy and long term plans can help attract more people and businesses into Seymour.
“If you take a look at sites like Zillow, you see there’s not a lot of houses available, which is good because it means people aren’t leaving, but we want to figure out how to get more people in,” Kraft said.
With its position between Appleton and Green Bay, Kraft thinks the town can better utilize its space to attract new businesses and residents in.
“With no chamber of commerce or city administrator, it really falls on the mayor and the council to be more proactive in how we are interacting and supporting our local businesses,” Kraft said.
He hopes to be able to reach out more to local business owners in figuring out how the city can better work to help them.
Kraft’s biggest obstacle to his ambitious plans is the budgetary constraints of a small city.
“We have levy limit, we can only increase what we put on the levy by so much,” Kraft said. “That’s why it becomes so important to plan things out strategically.”
Kraft hopes the shift to more strategic planning will help propel the city forward.
Kraft is also excited for the challenge and opportunity to be able to help the city where he grew up in.
“When we bring it all together and we work collaboratively it’s going to be in the best interests of the city and allow us to move the city forward,” Kraft said.
After being officially sworn in on April 17, new Seymour Mayor Ryan Kraft, takes over official duties for his first City Council meeting as mayor.
– Photo by Stephen Knoll