Herald Journal - Voters' Guide '08

Ten have filed for positions on Montrose city council

Ten people have filed so far in Montrose for city council positions.

For mayor, three have filed – Andy Kauffman (who currently sits on the council), Tim Hackenmiller, and Lloyd Johnson.

For council, there are seven candidates of which only one is an incumbent – Jeff Peterson, who currently serves on the council, and newcomers Mary McCarty, Joe DeBauche, Georgina Woidyla, Scott Jensen, Lisa Ellwoods, and Jason Simmons.

The mayor position served by Charlie Nelson is open. Council positions are up that are served by Jeff Peterson and Cindy Beaton.

Andy Kauffman

Why are you running for office?

I’m running for mayor of Montrose because this is my home, where I have decided to raise my family. According to current demographics, the young family typifies the face of Montrose. Besides being a member of this group, I would continue to work to see our growth geared towards a family-friendly environment.

I feel Montrose has a bright future if we are properly guided through this difficult economy. My experience on city council and with the Economic Development Authority would be strong assets during this period of economic turmoil. I have the proven ability to bridge the gap between our citizenry and city government, and plan to use this trait to keep Montrose moving towards this bright future.

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

The current state of the economy is one of the foremost issues in the minds of everyone, regardless of where they live. As the current president of the Montrose Economic Development Authority, I am well-positioned to influence how this impacts our town and residents. I would continue to seek out new employers for our citizens, businesses who would provide tax dollars to our base and services to our town. I have also demonstrated fiscal responsibility by strongly counseling against the past proposed new city hall initiative and was key in seeing its defeat.

I also feel it is also of the utmost importance that we continue with a balanced approach to the development of our infrastructure. Over my term in city council I have been the driving force behind two new parks and received a Safe Routes to School grant for trail and sidewalk development, further linking the outlying areas with the heart of our town. This passion continues to burn strong, and so I have proposed adding park and trail development funds to our budget.

Why should you be elected?

Over the past two years as a city councilman, I have demonstrated integrity in action, fulfilling the promises I made without compromising my principals. I have several years of management and leadership experience that would be tirelessly put to work on behalf of all citizens of Montrose. I have the experience and skill necessary to collaborate with others of diverse viewpoints, from both my experience with city government and my past experience in project management.

As the mayor of Montrose, I would utilize the collaborative techniques I have demonstrated as a councilman to tap into the strength of our diversity and bring about unity. I have a deep respect for the history of Montrose, and would seek to unify where we have been with where we are going in the future.

Tim Hackenmiller

Why are you running for office?

I am running for mayor to bring to the City of Montrose the dependable type of leadership and guidance the city has enjoyed in the past, and should continue to count on.

Open, but nuanced dialogue with all parties. Forward-looking, creative thinking. Responsive and informed decision-making. The city of Montrose and its residents deserve open, honest, resourceful, respectful, responsible government and that is what I plan to restore.

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

The growth in property taxes must be limited. Growth of the community and growth of services should enjoy balanced, integrated, smart growth planning that speaks to the needs and interests of existing residents acknowledging that growth must come, while at the same time utilizing solution-based problem solving, and restoration and promotion of civil, purposeful, and constructive dialogues to find out a way to both. Learn more at: http://home.comcast.net/~thackenmiller/

Why should you be elected?

I am a college graduate, with degrees in urban planning and economics. I have been a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission in Montrose for the last two years. Homeowner and taxpayer for many years. Montrose enjoys a lot of active, bright young participation in the local government at all levels complementing the established, deep-rooted devotion of longer serving members and citizens. I am a part of that partnership.

Lloyd Johnson

Why are you running for office?

I am running for mayor because after years as a resident of Montrose, I have seen many mayors and council persons come and go, and have experienced the bad and good created by them. Early on, I had neither the time or life experience (maturity) to be mayor of Montrose.

Now, however, I have both the time and life experience to be a positive force as mayor of Montrose. Also, now is the time to correct some of the negative issues and build on some of the positive things our current administration began.

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

Economy: Projected increases in our population have not materialized, and foreclosures have impacted our tax base. The numbers simply do not support excess spending.

We are paying large amounts of money for studies for future projects we may not need or want. Think back to the new city hall fiasco and the enormous fees for plans. And, of course, the incredible lawyer fees and overtime staff hours needed to address the issues related to the old schoolhouse. And that brings me to the second issue.

Reputation of Montrose: I believe the angst and negative feelings this town engenders, judging by letters to the editor, not only here, but in surrounding communities as well, can be directly related to the rift between the owner of the old schoolhouse and the current administration and their unresolved differences.

I believe a new administration, as requested by a majority of residents, and the large number of persons registered for available seats for council indicates renewed interest in our city. I look forward to leading a new administration.

Why should you be elected?

This town needs a mayor who has lived here a long time and understands the needs of a small town. Someone who understands the fiscal responsibilities of his administration and has the ability to share that understanding with the voters. Someone who will be transparent and insist on transparency throughout his administration. That someone is me.

Georgina Woidyla

Why are you running for office?

I am running for city council to help steer Montrose in a positive direction for the future.

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

I believe the biggest issue facing families at this time is economic hardship. The elected officials in the city must “sharpen their pencils” to spend taxpayers money wisely. I will balance the needs of the citizens and the city in a fiscally responsible way.

I believe we need to expand our tax base. We need to encourage the growth of commercial, industrial, and retail businesses in our community, without compromising community values.

Why should you be elected?

I am a good candidate for Montrose City Council because my background in civil engineering gives me the knowledge and experience dealing with public infrastructure.

Scott Jensen

Why are you running for office?

No answer submitted.

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

No answer submitted.

Why should you be elected?

No answer submitted

Lisa Ellwoods

Why are you running for office?

My husband and I built a home and moved from Saint Louis Park to Montrose in 2003. Since I have lived here, I have fallen in love with small town living and the City of Montrose. I have been looking for ways in which I can give back to this community. I am running for city council so that I can serve the community that I live in by representing them.

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

The first major issue that is facing residents of Montrose at this time is the economy. We have been hit hard in our small town with taxes, since we do not have as many businesses in the community to bear the tax burden that is necessary to keep the city services going.

On city council, I would work with the EDA to attract new businesses to the area, as well as look at the taxes and fees that the residents are currently paying, to see if we can somehow reduce taxes and fees for residents.

The second major issue for Montrose is “community building.” Montrose is a city that consists of families who have been here for generations, as well as new residential housing developments. Because growth has happened so rapidly, many people no longer know each other as they once did in the small city of Montrose.

I would like to bring back that small-town feel. As a member of city council, I would sponsor the formation of neighborhood groups like I was involved with in Saint Louis Park, where I became president of my neighborhood association. These groups are sponsored by the city and meet periodically for community building activities like picnics, garage sales, and parties.

Why should you be elected?

My experience in non-profit organizations has shown me that leading a group isn’t about my personal agenda, but about the good of the community as a whole. Leading from this paradigm means that you must be able to listen to all sides before making decisions that affect the entire community. It also means that you are willing to work with others in order to get tasks accomplished. As your representative on Montrose City Council, I would listen to your ideas as I make decisions that would affect you.

My background as it appears in the StarTribune Voters’ Guide: Pastor, Jacob’s Well; MDiv, Bethel Seminary, 2007; BA, University of Minnesota, 1991; director of operations and finance, Montrose Suzuki Kids; volunteer, Montrose Boy Scout Troop 312; soccer coach, Buffalo Soccer Club; City of Montrose Planning and Zoning Committee member; president, Aquila Neighborhood Association; married, three children.

Jason Simmons

Why are you running for office?

A few years ago I moved to Montrose, because it seemed like a great community to build a house and raise my children, without some of the negatives that larger cities can have. Having grown up in a small northern Minnesota town, I know how great small communities can be. I want to help Montrose keep that great community sense, but still grow at pace that will keep us all happy.

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

Bring the community together: Oftentimes, when I have been at city meetings, I can feel the tension between the different thought processes and beliefs. I believe that every person brings certain strengths that we can key on. We must, as a city, bring everyone together, because we all have the same goal. Make Montrose the city we all believe it to be. I will help heal the wounds, by bringing everything out in the open. I will always remember that I am in office to serve Montrose and its people.

Assist in over viewing public spending: There are multiple cities in the state of Minnesota that made decisions that work great in booming economic conditions. I will fight to make sure that each decision we make will not only be good when the city is growing, but also when things are slow. I will work on filling the existing homes before building more. I will work on bringing new businesses without paying them to come. I will work on giving you somewhere to invest in our community. Times have changed and so must our spending patterns as a city.

Why should you be elected?

I believe I’m the right person for the city of Montrose because I’m not afraid to ask questions. I am a neutral party that just wants to see Montrose grow. Montrose needs to be led in a way that it can grow at the right speed and with the proper mix of new business, new citizens, and existing.

I have extensive experience with budgets, having run different businesses, and currently working in the banking and finance industry. Our economy is ever-changing, and as someone representing the citizens of Montrose, it is important that we stay on top of those economic changes. I should be elected because I have your best interest at heart.

Jeff Peterson

Why are you running for office?

My belief of continued service on the Montrose City Council is to serve the people in our town, by keeping government small and taxes low as in the reduction of 2008 property taxes.

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

I have a passionate history in youth and senior programs, my vision is to introduce low cost initiative efforts to expand on these programs we have in place.

I am also concerned about the lack of local job opportunities. We must encourage local business growth, which would create job opportunities and tax revenue. I would encourage businesses to find Montrose the town of their choice for prosperity and growth with the hard-working people of Montrose.

Why should you be elected?

Because of my experience and credentials of being city council member for 10 years. Here are some accomplishments: Clementa Avenue railroad crossing arm guards, five park developments, Economic Development Authority (EDA), National Night Out, volunteer dinner, city web site, safe route to school grant, healthy community partnership, Highway 12 redevelopment committee, and many more.

Mary McCarty

Why are you running for office?

I believe that all citizens share a degree of responsibility in the state of their community. My husband and I moved to Montrose in mid-2004. Within the year I became involved as a volunteer, and continue to serve both behind the scenes and on two committees.

Through these activities I have become more aware of some of the opportunities and challenges ahead for Montrose. I want to see our town move in a positive direction, not only for myself, but for everyone who lives here.

As a member of city council, I will have the privilege of helping to establish short-term and long-term goals, and affecting the decisions to achieve those goals.

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

Sense of community: One of my goals is to help city government better inform and involve residents and local business owners.

We’ve made progress in communications between government and residents, but there is more work to do in that regard. Increasing people’s desire to volunteer on committees and get involved with local organizations and activities will increase their sense of ownership in the well-being of the town as a whole. By accomplishing things together we can increase civic pride and create a more cohesive community.

Public confidence in city government:

There’s a persistent undercurrent of negativity running through the town that is eroding people’s sense of confidence in the abilities of city staff and administration. This is not only wasting too much time, but costing too much money.

I would like to see these issues openly addressed and laid to rest, so that we can concentrate our time and efforts on moving forward to accomplish the goals of the community at-large, rather than continuing to focus on the needs and wants of a handful of individuals

Why should you be elected?

As Montrose continues to grow, I want to help preserve our rural small town character as we transition to a vibrant community that attracts and keeps families and businesses.

As a relative newcomer there’s still a lot that I need to learn, but I am willing to listen and become educated; to hear what my fellow residents want from their government, and to contribute my time and efforts into achieving the goals that we create together.

Joe DeBauche

Why are you running for office?

I am running because I believe we need positive change for the City of Montrose.

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

Lack of businesses/job opportunity

Small town gossip/negativity

I have worked for large corporations and small, family-run businesses. I have also been involved in helping a friend launch a business. These experiences as well as my strengths in communication and networking are just what Montrose needs to help create job growth and new business opportunities. I have the leadership to help make this happen so we keep Montrose growing and viable for the future.

I also will encourage community involvement. Citizens need to see for themselves that city government is working for them. They need to know that we are not hiding anything. There is no conspiracy to undermine anyone. I think we owe it to the community to be open and honest. We need to also let the citizens of Montrose know what is going on so we can get their feedback.

Why should you be elected?

Montrose needs new blood. I am not part of the “old guard.” I have lived in Montrose for two years and realize that changes need to be made. I bring fresh ideas and a fresh perspective to things. We have to start making changes to secure our town’s future and to make Montrose a great place to live.