Herald JournalHerald Journal, Oct. 25, 2004

Voters' guide: Howard Lake candidates

Two people running for mayor, 2-year term

Three people running for two available council seats, 4 -year terms

Mayoral candidate Terry Ostgulen

1. Why are you running for office?

After two years of learning the workings of local government, I believe there are many opportunities for fiscal efficiency and improved planning for the future. As mayor there is a much better opportunity to guide and develop a more efficient government that better reflects the wishes of the people of this community.

2. What do you think are two major issues at this time and what do you propose to do about them?

• Communication - In the last few years Howard Lake has had several issues that caused many mixed emotions within the community. I think all citizens should be clearly informed before any major issue is decided. I would provide more detailed information to each citizen and make sure they have easy access to myself and public information.

• Self-sufficient utilities - I believe the utilities of this community should be operated as any other utility we use in our homes. We don’t expect surprise costs with our other utilities and we should not be expected to have unexpected financial burdens with our water and sewer.

3. Why should your be elected?

I support individual rights and small town environment. I believe elected officials should represent the needs and desires of the collective individuals of this community. Each of us is a shareholder in this community. It is the responsibility of the officials of this community to protect the investments each person has made in this community.

Mayoral candidate Gerry Smith (incumbent)

1. Why are you running for office?

I am running for the position of mayor so that I can continue to serve the residents of Howard Lake, using my experience as citizen, business owner, retired military officer and a vast array of volunteer positions. I believe that my hard work, high ethics, and experience as mayor enable me to manage the developers and all city projects to the advantage of the citizens of Howard Lake.

I have saved the city of Howard Lake hundreds of thousands of dollars by convincing the new developers to pay for roads, sewer and water, trails, sidewalks, and many other extra items for the privilege of putting their developments in the city of Howard Lake and while still respecting our township neighbors of Middleville and Victor by negotiating orderly annexation agreements protecting the townships and our city.

I am available day and night to solve problems, listen to the public and to manage our great little town.

2. What do you think are two major issues at this time and what do you propose to do about them?

• Managing Howard Lake growth while providing adequate housing for all ages.

I will continue to manage the growth of our city and developers by following our comprehensive plan that has been developed to ensure that the residents receive the maximum advantages from all developments.

I will continue to work with the developers to provide affordable homes, multiple units, and homes for all levels of income. I believe the number one shortfall of Howard Lake is that we do not have an assisted living facility. I have been working to build such a facility. We move closer at each meeting. There still is a long way to go and my plan would be to continue to work hard to get an assisted living facility in Howard Lake.

• Managing our city’s budget so as to enable us to keep our city taxes as low as possible while providing services and proper maintenance of our city.

I believe that the budget of the city needs to be managed closely so that the city does provide all the services that are requested by our residents while maintaining the assets of the city. To do this we must find the most efficient methods through new technology and proper management of spending and staff. We have been able to keep our tax levy at or near inflation rates by hard work and commitment and this will continue!

3. Why should you be elected?

I believe I should be re-elected to be your mayor again for many reasons. I’m a very hard worker, and I’m committed to the citizens of Howard Lake.

I have taken the cash reserves of Howard Lake to their highest levels ever. The cash reserves of the city are up 58 percent since I became your mayor.

I have six years experience as your mayor. I listen to everyone and all topics, then I make a decision that I believe is the best for the majority of residents and for the betterment of Howard Lake! I own a business in Howard Lake so I’m available day and night to solve problems and to listen to you. I have a very strong Christian belief and high ethical standards.

I believe it is important to plan for the future. That is why the city council and staff have spent time in making a plan for the future (comprehensive plan), updating zoning ordinances, and revising outdated policies and ordinances.

Because of this we are ready to make the new growth that will come to Howard Lake a plus for our town, giving us a tax base that will help us keep taxes as low as possible, and doing this while maintaining our small town atmosphere and improving our town!

Please re-elect me as your mayor!

City council candidate Jan Gilmer

1. Why are you running for office?

Two reasons:

• To bring my experience in sound business and decision making skills forward. These will be needed by the City of Howard Lake to implement planning processes for the advancement of commerce, population growth, and fiscal responsibility. The above will impact our city socially and economically.

• To encourage all citizens within the city to become more proactive and voice their opinions in an effort to increase feedback. Major changes that could change the shape and future of Howard Lake deserve more input than there is at present.

2). What do you think are two major issues at this time and what do you propose to do about them?

• Over-taxation, whether it be direct or imputed.

Carefully monitor fee structures, sewer/ water rates, state aid, and budgets so that income verses expenses would keep local levy assessments or any proposed increases to a minimum.

• Infrastructure repair, replacement, cost, and repayment.

Evaluate growth and development on a cost verses benefit basis and an affordability basis instead of automatically saying yes based on want instead of need. Evaluate present deferred maintenance and develop a written plan that can be implemented.

3. Why should you be elected?

I have been a lifelong resident of Howard Lake for over 60 years, a successful business owner and operator for over 40 years, and a graduate of Howard Lake High School. My true concerns are for the health, welfare, prosperity, and safety of all citizens young or old, and all businesses small or large. I think this type of representation has been overlooked or is lacking at best.

City council candidate Tom Kutz (incumbent)

1. Why are you running for office?

I’ve been on the council for 10 years, with my experience, I would like to continue my commitment to the citizens of Howard Lake.

2. What do you think are two major issues at this time and what do you propose to do about them?

• Development – I would like to see continued development happen in a pace manageable to the city of Howard Lake. We need development for the good of the city and to better the tax base.

• Utilities – I would like to see the upgrade continue and with the least impact on the citizens of Howard Lake.

Why should you be elected?

I will continue to work for the citizens of Howard Lake, as I have in the past.

City council candidate Rick Lammers (incumbent)

1. Why are you running for office?

Since my appointment to the Howard Lake City Council in February of this year, I have enjoyed working with the city staff, and hearing the concerns and positive comments from our residents.

The city of Howard Lake is a great place to live and work. Our most important resource is our citizens, and our rich history. A lot of great things are happening in our community and I want to continue to be a part of it.

2. What do you think are two major issues at this time and what do you propose to do about them?

I feel the impending growth of our city and our existing infrastructure are the two areas of concern that need to be addressed at this time.

We must plan for the future with new homes and developments coming in and structure them accordingly. This we can do by long range planning. We cannot stop the growth, but we most certainly can structure it to have the least amount of impact on our community and tax base. At this time we must also improve our infrastructure to handle the increase burden on our current services. As our population grows so will the demand that will be placed on the city. By planning and addressing these issues now, we will reduce spending in the future.

3. Why should you be elected?

I feel I am well qualified for the position of city council, I have been a government employee all of my adult life.

I graduated from Howard Lake High School in 1974. I am a veteran of the US Army, and have been a member of the Buffalo Police Department for 25 years. I have served on the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted board of education for 13 years, and continue to serve on a number of boards in and around Wright County.

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