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

Delano City Council

Seven people have filed for positions on the Delano City Council: Jacqui Blasiak, Dan Gustafson, Marc Plese, Derek Schansberg, Jon Sutherland, Jason Thompson, and Dan Vick.

However, Blasiak and Thompson have since decided to decline the office; due to election timelines, their names will still appear on the ballot.

Jacqui Blasiak

I had to make a choice in my life, and at this time, I am not able to run for council. I wish nothing but the best for the great people of Delano.

Dan Gustafson

Why are you running for Delano City Council?

A government at any level, “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” should be run by those who reflect and represent the community.

As a hard-working, hard-headed small business owner, I consider it both a duty and a privilege to participate in our city’s government.

I intend to bring our shared values – common sense, independence, and frugality – to city hall.

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

I’ll keep it simple. By far, the biggest issue facing Delano – and all levels of government – is spending. In these lean economic times, people are tightening their belts. They’re getting by with less, and stretching every dollar. The government, which takes the people’s money to serve those people, needs to do the same.

Government must provide the basic, necessary services to a community, and do that in a way that not only takes as little of that private money as possible, but actively encourages and supports economic growth. By getting out of the way and letting people and businesses prosper, the city will continue to grow its tax base, ensuring funding for those basic services.

I intend to work to ensure that the city gets its job done efficiently, frugally, and with a minimum of red tape.

Why should you be elected?

I will keep Delano’s finances in the black, maintain a pro-business environment to keep and grow jobs in Delano, and keep our tax rate at one of the lowest in the county.

Marc Plese

Why are you running for this position?

I am running for Delano City Council, because I have great passion for sustaining the wonderful quality of life we are fortunate to have here.

Having served on the council as an appointed member from 2007 to 2009, it would be an honor to once again serve the citizens of this terrific city.

Further, I have always been deeply concerned about how our tax dollars are allocated on every level of government. In this economy today, we need leaders in public office that understand the importance of fiscal responsibility. I run a tight ship at home, and would bring the same philosophy to city hall.

I am married to Sarah Plese, and we have three sons, Logan, Owen, and Mason, and have lived in Delano since 2005.

I am a senior marketing data analyst at The Lacek Group, located in downtown Minneapolis.

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

Not unlike most cities, Delano is in need of additional revenues to offset rising costs of running the city. Besides rising costs, the lack of growth in the housing sector and cuts in state aid are also adding to the need for new revenues.

We need to create an environment that is alluring to potential entrepreneurs who will invest in the area by starting or bringing their operations to Delano.

There has been a lot of discussion and work done to bring a new industrial park to the area. Many in the community have contributed their time to help make this happen, and I believe it needs to remain a top priority for the new council in 2011.

Another major issue at hand right now is the street reconstruction plan. It is important that we find a way to keep our streets in a high-quality condition via the fairest possible means.

I’ve listened to residents who say right now is not the time to assess families struggling to make ends meet. For that same reason, other residents (or the same ones) state that now is not the time to increase taxes for this purpose.

When is it a “good” time to be assessed or have your taxes go up?

What we need to do is collaborate and get creative on a solution. The proposals that have been presented are not set in stone as options by themselves. The current council and city staff have been transparent about the options and are open-minded about continuing open dialogue toward a fair solution. This issue is hot right now, and likely will be one that faces the new council in 2011.

These are just two issues facing the city today. There are many more, some we know about and some we don’t yet. The point being, there are hundreds of issues that will require decisions by the new council over the next four years. I am not just passionate about one.

Why should you be elected?

I am the only experienced candidate running for this office, and that matters a lot in this election.

The job is not an easy one, and requires a time commitment, for not only meetings, but learning about the process and history of how we got to where we are today.

If you elect me, I will work hard to resolve all of the issues that are most important to you, the voter, and not focus on just the one or two issues that are most important to me. With your support, we can work together to ensure that Delano remains a special community for us, and our children.

Derek Schansberg

Why are you running for this position?

I’ve lived in Delano for more than 30 years, and have been active in many aspects of the community, including youth athletic coaching, Delano Lions, CERT, business owner, and a variety of local non profits.

I’ve always had an interest in politics, and feel I can put my experience and dedication to work for the city of Delano.

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

I believe the need to improve the city streets of Delano has been an issue for at least the past few years and needs to be resolved soon. The current economy isn’t making the decision any easier. With fewer new construction permits being issued, the cost is going to have to be burdened by the homeowners affected and all the taxpayers of Delano.

I think the latest proposal is very close to the best option, with the home owners and businesses paying a certain percentage and the rest of the city paying the difference.

There are a few minor issues that must be resolved, but whatever the final decision is, we need to make sure that it will be the final policy now and far into the future.

Delano needs to maintain its quality of service, while being fiscally responsible. State aid appears to be a thing of the past, so we must watch the budget very closely to ensure that the citizens of Delano aren’t needlessly taxed.

Why should you be elected?

Being a resident of Delano and active in the community, I get the chance to talk to many people and get to hear their ideas of what they’d like to see Delano accomplish or change.

I also own my house, as well as some residential and commercial properties, so I understand how policies can affect different people.

Having majored in finance at St. Thomas, I also have a good grasp of numbers and can put that knowledge to good use in helping to ensure that Delano is financially solid now and in the future.

Jon Sutherland

Why are you running for this position?

I have an interest in, and I care about, the community. There are two open positions on the council. I have good experience working for government that will help me serve the city as a council member. I enjoy working with the public. I want something better for my family. I want an attitude of fairness to be restored.

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

1) Taxes, budgets – I think budgets and taxes are growing faster than I like, and they need to be curtailed.

I believe that government must have a better response time, be more proactive, and we need to be more creative to deal with the current issues facing the community. I feel spending needs to be groomed, prioritized, and contained within the budget process.

2) Comprehensive planning – I feel comprehensive planning includes maintenance issues within the city, including existing infrastructure, housing, and community maintenance, not just planning for new development.

Why should you be elected?

Most importantly, I will seek and listen to community input on all issues before the council, and I will act in favor of the most equitable long-term solutions.

This is my first run for council. I can hit the ground running. I will enhance the existing and the new council members by offering my input and critiquing proposals before the council, based on my 25 years of government experience.

I do not support the street assessment as proposed.

I have a desire to serve, and by my work experience, I have had a great deal of exposure to the process of government. My experience gives me insight into the inner workings of city hall, and the ability to comprehend and critique the various issues that come before the city.

I seek the opportunity to work to improve public service and help in the design and comprehensive planning of the community as a city council member. I understand and will attend to development issues. I have experienced and observed many of these challenges in my work and I have also been impacted by these same issues in Delano. I am not satisfied with the status quo. This will help me serve Delano.

Jason Thompson

After much thought, I have decided not to run for Delano City Council at this time. I don’t feel that I can commit the necessary time that is required.

Dan Vick

Why are you running for Delano City Council?

I want to make a difference in how Delano does city business. We should try to involve the community more, in every way.

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

1. Street assessments. We need more public input and direction on this issue in hopes to fairly please everyone. This will allow us to work together as one city in both good and bad times.

2. Working to prioritize city business. City needs must be our first priority. For example: safety (rescue, fire, police), infrastructure (utility, streets, sewer, water), and public services (snow plowing, building maintenance, equipment maintenance, ground maintenance). The wants of the city come after everything else, only if the community approves such ideas.

Why should you be elected?

I am a conservative and common-sense person who will work to bring the community together and solve any issue that may arise.

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