Herald JournalHerald Journal, Oct. 25, 2004

Voters' guide: Montrose candidates

Three people running for mayor, 4-year term

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

Mayoral candidate Charlie Nelson (incumbent)

Since I have been involved with city government, Montrose has seen:

• Residential growth. 2000 census says 1,143 citizens – we are now at approximately 2,300.

• Business growth . . . Millpond Landscaping supplies and service. Bare-Naked Ribs smoked ribs and pulled pork. Wachman Storage storage units. Homes by Joe manufactured homes sales. Jimmy’s Pizza and pasta. Home Lumber and hardware. Citizens State Bank expansion, and increases in business for all those already here.

• Industrial growth . . . Automated Building Components floor and roof trusses.

(In other words, people are starting to pay attention to Montrose and the opportunities it offers. )

• Church growth . . . One new church started. Another is expanding twofold. Others continue to gain members.

The growth stated above has led to the addition of approximately 200 jobs within the city, plus those provided by the expansion.

More businesses are coming. Those showing interest are a mortuary (land purchased), a business warehouse group of buildings (land purchased), grocery, hardware, fast and sit down restaurants, senior and assisted living, and others that you normally see with growth. Developers are currently working on those and expect to bring them as soon as feasible.

• Infrastructure repair and replacement.

Sanitary sewer via updates, repair, replacement. Storm water control via ponding, ditches, and storm sewers, including Countryview Estates and Condominiums, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad ditch (after delay for permits to do it). The upgrade of County State Aid Highway 12 and the pipes under it at considerable savings in price, and with the cooperation and assistance of Wright County.

The storm water improvement fund initiated. Developers trunk area fees initiated. Two poorly performing wells replaced. A new well house built at our newest water tower.

• More citizen involvement via the park and recreation committee, the planning and zoning committee, The Montrose Boosters, as well as other volunteer organizations.

• Lowering of the mil rate for taxes, and a raise in the tax base.

I was born and raised in the city of Montrose. I saw it go from a railroad (where the trains stopped twice a day) and farming town of many businesses, to a farming town of few businesses (where a train went through without stopping and a lot of people had to travel away from town to make a living) – to a town of basically highway businesses where a high percentage of wage earners travel elsewhere for jobs.

All this has produced a lowering of the tax base needed to support a city. That brings us to now, where businesses and industry are returning to Montrose, along with people to provide the work force for those farms. With few businesses in town and a low tax base, any necessary expense becomes a larger part of the budget. As we grow, this will fluctuate as we add homes, businesses, industry, and services. Our last mil rate was less than the one prior.

• The city’s first comprehensive plan, which indicates to developers where particular areas of development are proposed to happen. This allows them to plan for their involvement in the future of Montrose.

This was accomplished with the help of planning and zoning experts, all of the city’s committees and commissions, citizens at large, council and staff. The comprehensive plan helps to control where home, business, and industry advancement happens, as well as laying a basis for anyone wishing to bring those to Montrose.

• Re-codification of the city’s ordinances.

Updates are made as needed, but need to be coordinated with all other sections periodically.

• The city’s first parks and trails plan.

We have added trails and sidewalks in every new area of town, as well as updated older sections of town. These all inter-connect. Within the not-too-distant future, these should connect with Waverly and Buffalo.

• Capital Improvement Plan.

We are currently working on the city’s first capital improvement plan, soon to be completed. This should help take the surprises out of system and infrastructure repair and replacement.

• An update of our planning and zoning ordinances, which hopefully making them easier to understand and follow. Within these is the new subdivision ordinance which includes requirements of storm water control, and tree inventory and preservation.

• Successfully accomplished:

A regionalization agreement with the city of Waverly and the 12-Hi mobile home community, that allows them to send sewage to Montrose for treatment. This action removed three aging systems from operation and thus helped advance the clean-up of three lakes, two ditch/creeks, and the Crow River.

• The purchase of land for a middle school by the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School District, with input from the city council and staff.

• Publication of a newsletter that informs old and new citizens what is happening in the city.

• A “Welcome Wagon” started.

It welcomes newcomers and provides city information (and coupons).

• A mutual agreement with Woodland and Marysville townships in regard to orderly annexation. Regulations are in place and will aid in implementing our comprehensive plan.

• The start of the Montrose-Waverly Chamber of Commerce, which includes businesses from both cities and the surrounding areas. This asset also provides a yearly “expo” showcase.

• Fire equipment update and replacement – with more on the horizon, provided by the fire service fee you see on your tax statement.

I care about the future of Montrose. Montrose’s future includes the citizens already here, and citizens yet to come. It is extremely important that we follow the comprehensive plan, as well as the other plans stated above.

Welcome to one and all! I believe you will find our city more and more appealing as time goes on. While we may be growing in size and volume, we will never lose the “small-town feeling” if we all consider that Montrose has always been a friendly town where you can go for a walk, see someone, speak with them for awhile about whatever may come to mind, and have no fear of anything happening to you while you talk – with an attitude of genuine concern for one another.

I have been humbled by, and sincerely appreciate, the compliments from older citizens (from which our heritage comes) of Montrose and the surrounding area.

They have told me “it is great to see Montrose alive again, and not on the way to its grave.” They have expressed a welcoming attitude for the people, business, and industry yet to come.

Issues are:

• Continued growth . . . and public services.

We cannot ignore growth. We must continue to guide it with the structures in place. By doing so, public services will expand only as needed and at an affordable rate.

• The continued need for infrastructure repair and replacement.

Our capital improvement plan should provide a systematic, progressive, and affordable approach.

• Bringing new business and industry to the city.

Developers and the Wright County Economic Development people are deeply interested and continue to speak with us often. Their efforts on our behalf are ongoing.

I would be honored to be re-elected as mayor of Montrose because:

1. I care about the city of Montrose and its entire population, and

2. I have the willingness to sacrifice the time and dedicate the effort necessary to continue the task of taking Montrose into the future.

Mayoral candidate Alex Roeser

1. Why are you running for office?

I feel that local city government is the most representative form of government in our country. I also believe that everyone should be involved in there community. I have been a member of the planning commission in Montrose and believe that it is now time for new leadership for our community.

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

One major issue faced by all Montrose residents is growth of the city.

It is my belief that the new growth in town should pay for itself. All of the services offered by the city; fire and police protection and all utility services are impacted whenever growth occurs.

More people in town means more people paying taxes increasing the income of the city, but all of the new developments have additional costs attached to them.

The challenge is balancing the growth of the town with the current resources and needs. New developments should be carefully considered with input from all necessary parties and managed to balance the needs of all involved.

A second major issue in Montrose is lack of industry. We would all like to see the grocery stores and restaurants in town. However we need to focus on developing an industrial park that provides jobs and more commercial tax dollars to off set our residential property taxes. This will be one of my top priorities if elected.

3. Why should you be elected?

All Montrose residents are affected by the changing times we live in and I feel that I have the qualities and proven credentials to be an effective mayor for the town of Montrose. My baccalaureate degree in government from St. John’s University has given me a solid backbone on the general workings of government. My work experience has also prepared me as I was the assistant city clerk for the City of Delano and received a commendation from the city for my work.

I have also owned and operated my own business for the last eight years. Owning your own business requires self-discipline and being able to make the tough decisions when it’s necessary. My involvement in Montrose city government gives me an understanding of where the city is now and what it should be doing to remain a great place for people to live into the future.

I was on the planning commission in Montrose and was the chairman of the commission. I have also been on the park board in Delano, the president of the Delano Jaycees, involved in mentorship program for kids, and coached youth basketball. Understanding small town and growing town issues is what I know because I have lived in the town of Montrose and the surrounding area my whole life.

The interest of the people living here currently and those moving into the city must be considered and protected. I will be a voice for the people of Montrose. Council and staff have spent time in making a plan for the future (comprehensive plan), updating zoning ordinances, and revising outdated policies and ordinances.

Mayoral candidate Albert Zakariasen

1. Why are you running for office?

Greetings, concerned Montrose voters. During the last two years, since moving to Montrose, my wife Senada and I have observed what we feel is an attitude of indifference on the part of the current city officials toward old and new residents alike.

Their inability or unwillingness to assist people with their concerns during the sewer work along Buffalo Avenue is troubling. And the projected assessments for those property owners is of even more concern. Also, city officials have shown little interest in our intent to establish a bed-and-breakfast retreat in a grand old house at 150 Nelson Boulevard here in Montrose.

During those two years not one city official has made any attempt to greet us or welcome us to Montrose. I mention this only to show how little concern the city has in developing new businesses, big or small. I believe the mayor’s office should show concern and leadership in responding to the people and their needs.

Montrose is growing in population and businesses, but I believe it should be a controlled growth of diverse citizens and businesses that an ever increasing population needs and wants.

I believe the out-of-control growth we have seen recently is a big factor in the out-of-control tax levy reported recently in the Herald Journal. Growth is great, but let’s grow on our terms!

Many issues need to be addressed. Among them:

• Are developers being held to an appropriate contribution to infrastructure, parks, and playgrounds?

• Is the safety and welfare of our children and residents being considered and given first priority?

• Do our citizens have a means of communicating with the city their opinions regarding all the factors that impact them?

• Are we really in charge or do outside influences affect our decisions?

• Exorbitant water bills, assessments, and the list goes on!

I believe the mayor’s office can contribute greatly to a very proactive approach to these and many other issues. I think council meetings should be videotaped and available to our citizens for review. And I think it’s important to promote open council meetings that citizens can come to and actually feel welcome! I feel I can be a constructive force as the mayor of Montrose in spite of the fact that I haven’t had previous political government experience.

But, as any former military member can tell you, there is plenty of politics involved in all military organizations. As a retired military man with over 31 years of experience, many of those years involved with planning, training, and supervising operations, I have learned that no one person can know and implement all that needs to be done to ensure success.

I have the ability and experience to build a team that can and will address and achieve the goals of the citizens of Montrose.

I think the mayor’s responsibilities are inclusive, to bring people together to resolve problems, and make plans for the broad view of the future of Montrose!

I have a common sense approach to government, and I sincerely feel it will be an asset to be unencumbered by political education or experience. And, I have the integrity to be unmoved by the shallow people interested only in their own agenda. As your mayor, I will do my best to earn your confidence, and sincerely hope you will never regret having voted for this old Norwegian!

City council candidate Cindy Beaton

I would sincerely appreciate your consideration when you vote for Montrose City Council this Nov. 2 election.

I am a 41-year-old working mother. My husband, Charles, has, for many years, specialized in residential and commercial remodeling. We have two boys, Dino and John, ages 15 and 10.

We purchased a new home in the Rolling Meadows development in December 2003. We were attracted by the friendly, small town, “out-in-the-country” atmosphere here. Also, we felt that if managed intelligently and responsibly, Montrose could have a bright future with lots of promise.

And of course we checked out the local schools and, like most of our friends, we are quite happy with the teachers and administration.

As can be seen, our little city is growing with new families almost every day. Many of them have young children and quality school is high on the list of assets they’re looking for. I’m confident that many residents have great ideas and, if implemented, will contribute to making Montrose a fabulous place to live and raise a family.

However, sadly throughout the year we’ve lived here, we have unfortunately encountered many issues that are troubling! If these are not solved satisfactorily, our dreams and quality of life will certainly be affected!

Many of us feel our mayor and city council haven’t been serving us and our community in its best interests. Don’t you agree we need a change?

Point in question: Herald Journal, Sept. 20, 2004 issue, front page – Waverly OKs 15 percent levy increase. Page 5 – Wright County OKs 11 percent tax increase. Page 7 – Montrose bumps levy up 56 percent!

Actually, several months ago our current city officials “proposed” a 71 percent increase! What’s going on here? Even worse, as far as our right to speak out is concerned, our present city officials voted to discontinue the open forum period at council meetings when/where citizens can voice their concerns or complaints. What is going on here?

Furthermore, when you find out all the reasons why I am as disappointed as I am (actually downright angry), – you’ll be upset too. For example, the way friends and neighbors are being treated. Some are forced to give up their land and/or fight the city council with money that would have been far better spent elsewhere!

Don’t you agree that it is troubling when you see our little city looking unkept with weeds overgrowing, etc. detracting from our sidewalks, new homes, models, and other properties, and businesses? Shouldn’t there be more oversight concerning builders and developers and their local projects? That is – follow-up on new homes, weed control, land use, better planning and design etc . . .

What we see does not appear to have changed in years. After awhile you begin to question and judge the character and competence of our current city officials in charge. Is that unreasonable?

I am not a politician. I am a working mother and wife who is concerned about my most treasured investments – my family, home, and community. I have encountered over the last year too many disturbing issues concerning our city council and other city officials. This has been confirmed by long-time residents and friends. These issues disturbed us and, frankly, we reconsidered locating elsewhere. However, my husband and I decided there is a far better solution – get involved!

We still believe in our earlier impression that Montrose can be a fine place to raise a family. I am going to do what I always advise others to do: If you don’t like the way things are, then do something about it! Let’s get involved and make changes!

So I decided to run for city council. I would appreciate your vote and I will sincerely do my best not to disappoint you.

City council candidate Dave Nordschow (incumbent)

1. Why are you running for office?

I enjoy being a part of the rich community fabric of the city of Montrose. The people are wonderful and I like being involved in public service.

It is very satisfying to see a great city like Montrose continue to develop over time into an even nicer place to live and raise a family, than it was when I first moved here with my wife over 20 years ago.

It continues to be very personally rewarding to me to be a part of seeing that the city continues to prosper and evolve to better serve its citizens as the world around us continues to change and grow.

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

While there are a host of issues facing Montrose at the moment. The most important today is the issue of growth – how to deal with it and plan for it, and the cost of providing the services the citizens need.

To the growth issues: While I am not personally a big fan of growth, Montrose sits on the crossroads of the county at a point just far enough from downtown that the development we have seen all around us for the past several years has now arrived on our own doorstep.

It is largely driven by high housing costs in the core and belt cities. We are in the current affordability zone for both developers and buyers. The growth has come to us.

We have two clear choices – either we can attempt to reject the growth entirely and allow the city to wither economically as it is bypassed. (This has been done in the past in other towns with some very unfortunate long-term economic results).

Our other choice is that we can try to manage the our growth effectively. I think we need to do this in a way that is both sensitive to the needs and concerns of the current citizens and allows the city to plan effectively to its long-term strategic planning and economic advantage.

It is a simple fact that any city must provide certain basic services. If that burden is spread over more people, the load is much lighter for all. I believe in managing the city’s growth for the benefit of the citizens and making certain that the cost of that growth is paid for by the developers is the key to making this all work.

It is very important not to lose sight of what makes a small city a great place to live. It is first of all the people and then the structure (water and sewer) and services (parks, etc.) that can be added to that basic quality to further the overall public good and make the city an even more attractive place to live in.

3. Why should you be elected?

I have served on the council for several years in many capacities and have brought a number of solid business and management skills to the table. I truly believe that the key to being a public servant is to be of service to the community.

I have always done my best to be fair and impartial when dealing with problems and issues brought before the council. I have always put the welfare of the city as a whole ahead of everything else. I have always treated the funds that need to be spent on behalf of the citizens with respect.

The city as an entity is just the extension of its citizens. I have worked very hard over the years to help control the costs on needed city project. Several years ago, I spearheaded an effort to obtain a recycled water tower when the health board informed us that the old tower was no longer up to current code due to the growth of the population.

I personally helped save the city over $250,000 on that single purchase. I try to always balance what is truly needed against what might just be nice. We have a small city and everything that happens has an effect in one way or another.

Hopefully things will continue to go well with our city. With responsible and careful stewardship that will continue to happen. Please give me your support and your vote this fall.

City council candidate Jeff Petersen (incumbent)

Council member Petersen did not return the Herald Journal’s survey.

City council candidate Keith Roseen

I am running for city council because I believe in being involved in a community. I believe I would provide added leadership to the council.

Having retired from the Air Force, I have a good grasp of how our government operates.

Some of my concerns are the economic development in the city. We have a lot of new homes and more on the way, I think we need to address what we as a city need in the way of retail and industrial economic development.

Another concern is recreational facilities and programs for our youth as the city grows. The last item I would like to address is with the rapid growth of our city. I believe we need to look into the increased service demands on our city employees, yet be fiscally responsible in our process.

City council candidate Jeff Trout

1. Why are you running for office?

I feel I can be a positive asset to the city of Montrose. I feel the time has come for the growing community to have new faces and new ideas.

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

The city would benefit from an expansion of its industrial park and get more manufacturing businesses in town to offset some the property taxes paid by its citizens.

We need to have someone who will listen to the needs of the newcomers in the community and incorporating those needs with the needs of the people who have spent their lives here, making the city of Montrose the community it is today.

3.Why should you be elected?

The purpose of a city council member is to be the voice and ears of its citizens. I feel I can be a productive leader who isn’t afraid to go that extra mile for the community in which I live.

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