Herald Journal - Voters' Guide 2010
Herald Journal / Dassel-Cokato Enterprise Dispatch / Delano Herald Journal

Dassel City Council

Five people have filed for a position on the Dassel City Council: Jack Adams, Jason Benzing, Kim Clancy, Wayne Medcraft, and Larry Oberg.

Jack Adams

Why are you running for this particular office?

Because I feel the city council needs unbiased opinions that I am capable of making, to benefit all residents of the city of Dassel.

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

Infrastructure and budgets. Due to LGA cutbacks in 2010, and the unkown of LGA in 2011, I would propose to hold spending flat and cut back where possible to keep the city running at the degree of service that we are accustomed to as residents.

Why should you be elected?

I was appointed to the Dassel Planning and Zoning Commission in 2008. I am familiar with the comprehensive plan that was adopted by the city in 2004.

I also feel, being a resident and working in the area for 10 years, I have a good idea of what residents want and need in the community.

I will use common sense when making decisions.

Jason Benzing

Why are you running for this particular office?

While sitting in on last year’s meetings and budget discussion, I had hoped to see a more motivated debate with the goal of doing better than before. So, I chose to apply for a vacated position on the council. After accepting the appointment, for the past 10 months I have been providing ideas, asking questions, and committing my time and personal resources to the city.

If there were two candidates for the open positions that I felt would match my qualifications, drive, and thoughts on reduced spending, I’d leave the next few years to someone else.

However, I don’t feel this is the case. If you agree and wish that I continue my work for you on the city council, I’d be happy to do so.

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

The biggest issues we have in Dassel, are complacency and spending. These two are often the root cause of many other issues, and sometimes combine into a monster issue.

For instance, some in city hall are happy our levy has not gone up for two years. That’s good, but we can do much better.

We’ve never been forced to search for other opportunities to save, by eliminating more inefficiencies or less-used services, because we have done well with building our financial reserves in the past.

As one of five people on the council, I cannot dictate changes; but I will continue to present ideas and seek feedback.

When I am told that “these things take time,” or “we can’t,” or someone thinks that what we have is good enough, I will push for a decision, rephrase my question, or come up with a new one and ask it again until I feel we have reached the best possible solution.

I will continue to look for new ideas, dig for all the information I can find, read the fine print, and simply work hard to do the tasks that need to be done.

Why should I be elected?

I should be elected because I ask questions and put in the time necessary to research and volunteer. I am very good at using technology to analyze and communicate. I’m very self-motivated and believe that the levy is not a money tree. I understand it is money taken out of everyone’s pocket – many of whom cannot afford it.

Every penny the city spends should be needed and have a financially needed benefit to the city and taxpayers.

But, I would also like you to consider what I don’t do. I’m not in this for personal or business gain or popularity. I do all of my city work on top of my regular full-time job. I’ve been donating my council salary back to the city’s sidewalk fund, and I have not turned in any requests for reimbursements for mileage or food to any events.

Public service is not a financial opportunity; it’s something I do because it’s my way of giving back to the community I love.

Kim Clancy

Why are you running for this particular office?

As a 15-year resident of Dassel who has raised a family here, I have a deep interest in what happens to Dassel.

I am currently part of the Dassel Planning & Zoning and Dassel Visioning.

I have also helped start up businesses with my son.

All of this demonstrates my dedication to the success of Dassel and knowledge of what it will take to help make Dassel thrive. I do care about the future of Dassel. I would like to see Dassel build upon its assets and be a desirable, affordable place to live, work, and raise a family.

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

Transparency and budget are two key issues:

I believe we have to have the budget available to the residents for review. This will allow us transparency to the budget and will allow for full accountability to be more responsible with our tax dollars. This will encourage us to seek out more efficient ways to get the needs met. This can only happen if the residents can have a voice and share ideas about what they see we are doing.

Why should you be elected?

I am the right person for the job. I am a proactive leader who believes that there must be follow-through from beginning to end. I will ask the tough questions and find the answers.

I believe that the residents of Dassel have a voice and it should be heard because we all want to make Dassel the best place to raise our families.

I have put myself through college and have learned firsthand the value of fiscal responsibility. I am a fiscal conservative and ever mindful of where the money is spent and how. I understand every dollar this council spends is your money.

I will work hard to reduce costs and keep Dassel an affordable, desirable place to live and work.

Wayne Medcraft

Why are you running for this particular office?

I am a candidate for the Dassel City Council for several reasons:

1. These are very difficult times and Dassel needs an effective councilman with many years of business management and previous local government experience to make the difficult decisions and choices needed.

2. We need council members who will commit the extra time needed to work on projects and to work closely with the Dassel Chamber of Commerce, the Dassel Visioning Committee, and the Red Rooster Committee to make our city work better for everyone.

3. We need council members with a vision and a plan for the future of Dassel. I have a vision and a comprehensive plan.

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

1. Dassel needs a comprehensive plan to revitalize the commercial district to create a positive image of the city, to encourage citizens, tourists, and investors to work, shop, live here and enjoy themselves in our city.

I have developed a comprehensive plan for the downtown Dassel commercial district. My plan has many of the very same elements now being proposed by the Dassel Visioning Committee. Furthermore, I created and presently manage the Dassel Farmer’s Market to encourage Dassel citizens and visitors to shop downtown Dassel on Friday nights. The Dassel Farmer’s Market has accomplished this goal.

2. We need to hold the line on the city budget by purchasing bulk supplies more economically, by sharing equipment between cities, and by applying for more federal and state grant monies to give taxpayers more “bang for their buck.”

I would create a committee to work with Cokato, Darwin, and possibly Litchfield to purchase road maintenance materials jointly and save money. I propose we take an inventory of city equipment and work with other cities when purchasing trucks, street sweepers, and similar pieces that could be shared. This concept could greatly reduce our city expenses and help hold the line on the city budget.

I propose we offer an intern position to a recent public administration graduate at a small stipend to have him/her apply for state and federal grants, to assist the city administrator, the EDA, and the Dassel Farmers’ Market.

This position has been very effective for Hutchinson. It would move projects along much quicker to help the city take advantage of opportunities and help the city grow by creating more jobs and adding to our tax base, which will hold down city taxes.

Why should you be elected?

I believe I have demonstrated that I have the vision to guide the city by making wise investments in the infrastructure, such as the new streetlights at key intersections on Highway 12, and period lighting for Atlantic Avenue, which was designed to encourage new businesses to move to Dassel – and they did.

I have given hundreds of hours of my time to create, and now manage, the Dassel Farmers’ Market, with the purpose to offer locally-grown foods to our citizens and to draw more customers to downtown Dassel on Friday nights – and it has.

I have given of my time freely to make the Dassel Red Rooster Parade the best and the biggest parade in our area – and it is.

I created the Friends of the Dassel Library to provide better service and more computers for Dassel citizens and students. We now have five computers and provide better service at no cost to the city.

I know how to work with others to get things done, and I ask for your vote.

Larry Oberg

Why are you running for this particular office?

I was reminded recently of what my father, Bud Oberg, said many times, “Support your local town – when you need something, get it done there.”

Those are very true words, and, because of the respect, and admiration I have for the hard-working people of Dassel, I have decided it was time to help in any way I can to make our community a better place to live.

I grew up in this community, and I believe very strongly in helping the community as a whole, and not just special interests.

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

With more than one-third of the city population on fixed incomes and an aging population, it is time to take a hard look at the finances of the city.

We need to be more responsible in terms of budget and cut back on things that are not needed during this time of recession especially, and in the future.

Responsibilty comes in terms of need, not want, in spending taxpayer dollars. The city budget is very high this year, with no assurance that LGA funds from the State of Minnesota will be available as outlined to the local communities, so there is a definite need to cut back on expenditures.

In my discussions with a number of people in the community, I find a very high priority placed on low-income housing, particularly for the retiring and aging population (there is little or no housing now available), and I believe this is more important than a purchase of land for a new industrial park (as is being discussed by the present council).

We have several empty industrial buildings available in the community at this time. We need to look at finding industry to fill those empty buildings, thus increasing the tax base revenues in the city, and stop increasing the homeowners’ obligations to the city.

Why should you be elected?

I feel a genuine concern for my friends and neighbors in Dassel. I have long loved this community, and the people who live here, since I was a little boy attending school.

I have no hidden agenda in my back pocket and I know that the community, as a whole, comes first.

I want to know, when voting on a subject, that it has had proper research done prior to any motion, so the council can intelligently vote yes or no. Also, how does it benefit the city of Dassel and the residents, as a whole.

With more than 30 years in retail business as a general manager, I do know how to watch the company dollar.

I believe that I bring a committment of responsibility to all the residents of Dassel and I am available to hear all situations that have a meaning to the enhancement of our city.

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