Herald JournalHerald Journal, Oct. 25, 2004

Voters' guide: Winsted candidates

Two people running for mayor, 2-year term

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

Mayoral candidate Don Guggemos (incumbent)

1. Why are you running for office?

I really enjoy the opportunity of working with the members of the council, as well as the city staff and employees. One of the best kept secrets in Winsted is how much “extra effort” these people along with the many volunteers from zoning, park, and airport commissions as well as the fire department put forward on behalf of not just the city but the surrounding community.

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

Two of the many issues are . . .

• Maintaining the current viability of our infrastructure. Streets, sanitary sewer, water quality, and distribution represent millions of dollars of taxpayer investments.

The city is currently working on restructuring the sludge storage capacity at the wastewater plant for construction in the spring of 2005. This $700,000-plus project will be paid for out of the sewer fund and with existing revenues. An additional well will be drilled this fall at the Hainlin Park site. The new well will be at a depth of approximately 400 feet, which is 225 feet deeper than the other wells. The test well results show a supply of high quality water for the future. The cost . . . $300,000-plus, this too should be able to be paid for from the water fund and existing water revenues.

Since 1965, at the Kingsley lift station, we have had problems when a loss of power occurred during severe electrical storms. This caused sewer back-ups and raw sewage spills into the lake. We have received notice of a FEMA grant of $75,000 toward the purchase and installation of a $100,000 generator which should make this problem a thing of the past.

This will require a matching amount of approximately $25,000 from the city. Due to the great condition of our streets and the capacities of our water and waste water facilities, the city should not need any major construction for many years to come.

• Planning for future growth. Growth is not just measured in the number of new houses or job availability. From the time Winsted was settled, growth was pretty much tied to our local environment. This has changed. The westward movement of the metro area and the high degree of mobility we all enjoy presents us with the important challenge of defining what we want of our community in the future.

We are fortunate to have been selected by the Minnesota Design Team for an intensive look at our community that will help us decide what we would like to see in our future.

3. Why should you be elected?

I feel that serving as mayor, for 23 years over the last 30, has given me an understanding of this community and the experience needed to perform this important job.

Mayoral candidate Steve Stotko

1. Why are you running for office?

Local government has always been something I’ve been interested in.

When I was 21, I ran for mayor. I was soundly defeated by the incumbent mayor. It was the opinion of many folks back then that I should have run for city council first, gotten some experience and then run for mayor again.

After one unsuccessful run for a council, I ran again and was elected. I served four years with Don as mayor. To this day that has been one of the best learning experiences I’ve had. Numerous times since, I’ve been close to filing for mayor but decided against it because I wanted to spend my time and energy with our family. At this stage of my life, I now have the time to devote to the job.

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

The future growth of Winsted concerns me a great deal. If you look just to the east of us you can see the explosion of growth in these once small communities. They are starting to look like all the other suburbs. They are losing or have lost their identities. The Minnesota Design Team visit in October is a great way for the residents of Winsted to participate in planning Winsted’s future.

We need to be open-minded about where we will be 10 to 20 years down the road. As we continue to grow, our needs will become more obvious . . . some examples might be, a city center which could house the police, the library, city offices, and a community room.

Additional police, a revitalized downtown, more parks, walking/bike paths, and industrial growth, are a few of the items we should be addressing.

3. Why should you be elected?

I’m willing to listen, I’m willing to learn, and I’m not afraid to make difficult decisions.

City council candidate Bonnie Quast (incumbent)

1. Why are you running for office?

I enjoy working with and for the people of Winsted. There is a great deal of joy in feeling the pride that I have in Winsted. The experience that I have gained by serving on the city council has helped me to make the best decisions I can on behalf of all citizens.

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

I don’t really think we have any major issues at this time, but there are several issues that we as a council are trying to accomplish.

To have the industrial park completed would be one. This would provide more jobs and more building. As a council member or a citizen, the same rule applies: we must all work together to promote Winsted as a great place to start a business, raise a family, and just plain enjoy living here.

The second issue is encourage the citizens of Winsted to support the Minnesota Design team in efforts to help improve Winsted in the best way we can. Word of mouth is important. This is what I am doing right now. Get involved with your community. Small or large, your input is important.

3. Why should you be elected?

I feel that my past years of service on the city council should speak for itself. I’ve always had Winsted and the citizens of Winsted as a priority in every decision I’ve made on their behalf. The growth of this community leaves the council with long-term decisions to make. Sometimes it may seem that our choices are not the right ones, but I can assure you that they have always been made in the best interest of the people in Winsted.

City council candidate Tom Ollig (incumbent)

1. Why are you running for office?

I care about our community. I care about the place where my children and my grandchildren will grow up. I want them to be safe and proud where they live. I want all the people who call Winsted home to be proud of their community. At 52 years of age, I have many life experiences, both personal and professional, that I believe can help me in this office.

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

Growth is one issue. As a community we are going to grow regardless if we like it or not. It is our responsibility to grow in such a manner that will keep our quality of life intact. It is also our responsibility to respect existing owners’ rights and environment yet keeping the traditions that have made us a good community.

Another issue is budgets. We need to balance the services we offer our citizens with the cost of those services. State funding, or lack there- of it, has a great effect on our budget. We need to provide our citizens with a clean, safe community with good infrastructure that can accommodate our growth.

3. Why should you be elected?

I believe I have the ability to listen to people and respect their views. I want Winsted to be not a nice place to live but the best place to live in our area. The people of this community have so much to offer, it would be fun to be a part of it and grow with it.

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