Herald Journal - Voters' Guide '08

Three file for positions in Winsted

Incumbents have field for their respective positions for Winsted City Council. For mayor, Steve Stotko has re-filed, and for council incumbents Bonnie Quast and Tom Ollig have re-filed.

These three positions are the only seats up in Winsted.

Steve Stotko

Why are you running for office?

I enjoy participating in the processes of planning, development, and decision-making as our city continues to grow.

I truly believe that governing is a team effort consisting of council members, city staff, and community. No one person does it alone.

The last two years have gone by quickly. The challenges, the decisions, the time, and the effort have been personally rewarding.

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

Taxes and generating interest in local government.

Taxes: No one likes to see their property taxes increase. We all rally around the cries of “Live within your means” and “If you don’t need it don’t spend it.”

The issue then becomes how to meet the constantly growing costs of services and how to keep our infrastructure updated well in to the future with revenue sources that have diminished over time or with other unpopular alternatives.

What we can do, is plan long-range, 10-20 years out. The council has adopted a plan for the maintenance of our roads for the next seven to eight years. We’ve also adopted a long-range trail system for the community.

The city will be facing other state and federal mandates dealing with our water supply and our sewer treatment processes. We will need to take a look at our staffing and associated costs.

By planning ahead we can begin now to set aside funds for those items. With good planning and budgeting, we can minimize future tax increases.

Generating interest in local government: Few people show up for council meetings, and in this year’s election, all three candidates are running unopposed.

As I stated earlier, governing is a team effort consisting of council, staff, and community. How do we generate that interest?

One of the ways we think might generate interest would be to hold a regular scheduled council meeting at Holy Trinity High School. The students would attend, observe, and could participate at the meeting. At the conclusion of the council meeting the council and staff would answer any questions the students have. It’s possible that some students might even find it interesting.

Another thing we’ve been successful at is appointing some 20- to 30-year-olds to some of our city commissions – park, airport, and planning. Maybe a few of them might find the city process interesting. That interest could lead them to seeking an elected office.

Why should you be elected?

I will always strive to use a common sense approach to the issues that the city will face. I plan to focus on long-range planning, and will work hard to get the younger people more involved in local government.

Bonnie Quast

Why are you running for office?

I feel that I’m a team worker, and that I have the people and the businesses of Winsted as my reason and cause to run for the seat of the Winsted council.

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

To keep taxes and spending in line and affordable. I also want to help our businesses to remain in business – this means jobs.

Why should you be elected?

I care about Winsted and the people that make Winsted what it is. “A great town to live in.”

I have always tried to make intelligent decisions and have always had the citizens as a priority when making decisions. I stand up for this city. I’m proud of Winsted and will always fight and work to the best of my ability for this city and its citizens.

Tom Ollig

Why are you running for office?

I believe we all have an obligation to give of our time and talent be it to a civic, religious, or charitable organization.

I enjoy working to promote our community and helping to chart its future.

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

Taxes and jobs are the two major issues.

Regarding taxes, I have worked and will continue to work to balance our city’s revenue and expenses, while providing the services and safety our citizens expect.

Long-range planning to keep our streets, equipment, and infrastructure in good repair is required. We have been a progressive community, and part of our success has been the ability to hold the line on taxes and spend our dollars wisely, while still planning for the future – this I will continue to do.

Jobs. We all know how volatile our economy is and how important having a job is, not only to each of us, but to the future of our community.

I will continue to work with city staff on finding ways such as the JOBZ Program that will help our existing businesses and industries grow.

I will work with city staff and the council on ways to promote our community and attract new business and industry, thus creating more good-paying jobs.

Why should you be elected?

For 22 of the past 30 years, I have been a member of the Winsted City Council.

I believe the decisions I have made have had a positive effect on, not only our community as we know it today, but also with regard to its future.

I truly enjoy working with the other council members, our mayor, and our city staff. We have been blessed in many ways over the years. I would like to continue to try and make a positive difference in our community.