The Town of Verona lost 23 years of experience in 2008 and another 29 in 2012 when Rosemary Kavon and Rose Johnson retired from the town administration.

This time, it’s the elected experience that’s leaving.

Long-time Town Chair Dave Combs and town Sups. Gregg Miller and Robert Rego all have announced they will not seek re-election in April. They have a combined 30 years of experience in town government.

Miller, in fact, is likely done on the town board next week as he and his wife, Deb, are moving to the City of Verona, which disqualifies him from serving in the town.

“That’s the only reason,” said Miller, who is retired and has served on the board for eight years.

Combs, on the other hand, said he’s experienced enough in his 15 years in town government and is ready to pass it on. 

“I just quite frankly thought it was time to hang it up,” said Combs, a dairy professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been great, we’ve accomplished a lot of good things over the last several years, but I think it’s time to move on.” 

Combs joined the Town Board in 1999, and as chair he oversaw efforts to consolidate with the City of Verona (which failed in a 2008 referendum) and led the Verona Joint Fire District through a dissolution that turned into the town contracting for fire services with the city. 

He said leaving the town’s leadership in the hands of administrator/planner Amanda Arnold, who was recently given a new three-year contract, and the other Town Hall staff makes him comfortable.

“I really seriously considered not running last time around, but we had just hired new staff, and it just didn’t feel like it was a good time to throw more challenges at our staff,” Combs said. “But they’ve (done) a wonderful job. 

“Amanda’s just done a super job,” he continued. “The town staff is in great hands. I think that’s a huge accomplishment in itself.”

The new leadership on the board will likely oversee the construction of a new Town Hall, the continued recodification of town ordinances and discussions on relations with the neighboring cities of Verona, Fitchburg and Madison.

Both Combs and Miller said a major accomplishment in their time on the board was improving those relationships with the surrounding communities, which were contentious at times in the past. That included a lawsuit with the City of Verona over an annexation just prior to the consolidation efforts and changes in the city-town relationship after the consolidation failed. 

“For so long there was such a bad feeling … between the city and the town,” Miller said. “It’s good to see that having dissipated and everybody move on to be able to work together for the betterment of the entire community. Whether we live in the city or the town we’re still a community and we’ve got to be able to work together.”

Rego, who runs a farm on the town’s southeast side, has been on the board for six years and had previously served on the Plan Commission. He agreed the new board will have to continue the work on boundary agreements that should help clarify territorial claims with nearby expanding cities.

“It’s one of those things that you never finish,” he said. 

Miller and Rego said the people they worked with, both constituents and fellow board members, helped them enjoy their time on the board.

“I’m going to miss it,” Miller said. “It was an interesting group of people, and there are interesting things going on in the town right now. 

“I’m going to be sad to not be a part of that any longer.”

Combs said that while he was ready to step down, he was a little disappointed he wouldn’t be around to help with the Town Hall.

“That’s going to keep the Town Board very busy in the coming year,” he said. “Quite frankly, I’m kind of missing that opportunity; that actually sounds kind of fun.” 

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