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

Montrose City Council

Six people have filed for a position on the Montrose City Council; Ryan Andreae, Scott Czanstkowski, Roy Henry, Sharon Knodel, Charlie Nelson, and Jon Varner.

Ryan Andreae

Why are you running for Montrose City Council?

I am running for my current seat on the Montrose City Council to continue to share and help others execute our vision for a better future in the community of Montrose.

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

1. Our priority is to provide necessary public services, while ensuring the community’s financial stability.

I plan on continuing to execute a strategy with the council that is based on limiting government services to keep taxes low, so we can keep money in the pockets of our hard-working citizens.

2. We need to prepare the city for future growth fueled by a brighter economy.

I plan to continue to help make sure that the infrastructure is in place to attract both commercial and residential growth, while preserving our rural feel. We will take additional steps to define what the city offers and market those attributes that are a key to attracting this growth.

Why should you be elected?

Visionaries have the foresight to look into what the future holds, bring it back to the present, and strive to achieve it.

We have a progressive community and I hope to offer my vision, creativity, and financial expertise to help lead us to our brighter future in the city of Montrose.

Scott Czanstkowski

Why are you running for Montrose City Council?

I was involved in politics while attending college and have been very interested ever since. I held the title of Student Senate President, as well as Law Club President, and enjoyed it very much.

I’m also running because I feel our city needs to be more open, and bring back transparency to our local government.

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

My first issue would most definitely have to do with our spending of money.

I would recommend some pay adjustment, as well as possibly looking into putting money into different areas than they are going to now.

For example, we just spent more than $20,000 on billboards to be placed in different areas throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul. I would have looked at using that money to help support local businesses and/or residents, such as fixing roads, ponds, and schools.

My second issue would be giving our citizens the right to open forums again.

I feel this is very important. It gives the citizens the right to ask questions, because most of the issues involve the community, but we don’t have the right to question them or even comment on them.

I know when I asked about this, I was told there were problems in the past with people accused of being disruptive and this is the reason why open forum privileges were taken away.

I do not agree with that reason, since I do not agree that everyone should be punished for the actions of one or two people.

I think community input, as well as questions asked, that involve public information or tax money spending should be answered.

Why should you be elected?

I feel I should be elected because I have been attending meetings on a regular basis and I take the time to ask questions about current affairs, and I also take the time to look into issues that are brought up by other citizens and business owners. I know going into such a position is about taking time and asking questions and not just taking the easy way out.

I would also like to add that I have lived in this community since the mid 1990s (minus a couple years of college and moving away for work for a year), and I have seen the town grow to its current population.

I have also run a business in Montrose and know several people in the community that feel it is time for a change. I will do my best to fulfill the things asked of me as a city council member.

Roy Henry, Sr.

Why are you running for Montrose City Council?

We need changes in the way things are done in the city. We need more council involvement in decision-making and better choices in our budget-making policies.

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

1. Budget. With the cuts to the city’s local government aid (LGA), the city has to make tough decisions regarding salaries and personnel. All should be reviewed, including council pay. Comp time, overtime, and other issues need to be addressed.

2. Not listening to the citizens and/or ignoring what they want to see accomplished. Every person must be treated fairly and with respect.

Why should you be elected?

Because I will ask the tough questions. I will listen to everyone with concerns, and never forget they elected me. I will work hard to make sure that the taxpayers’ money is spent wisely, and will work for changes in the system.

Sharon Knodel

Why are you running for Montrose City Council?

I am running for re-election to Montrose City Council because I believe I can continue to make a positive impact on the challenges we face in our city.

That’s why I’m asking for the chance to represent you on city council for another term.

I don’t expect that every voter will agree with every decision I’ve made during my time in office, but I hope that people do see that I’ve worked hard to find creative solutions and build common ground as we strive, together, to make Montrose a better place.

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

Every city and every taxpayer is facing the reality of tough and uncertain economic times.

We need to accelerate our tax base – business and industrial districts – supporting the established and welcoming the new.

We need to continue efforts made with the Economic Development Admnistration (EDA) toward marketing the city. One tool we are trying is billboards being placed throughout the Twin Cities area.

The second issue is to improve and to enhance the visual impact of the city along Highway 12, and create a new industrial and commercial park west of the city.

This was all made possible with a grant of $400,000 from the Deptartment of Economic Employment and Economic Development.

Our Healthy Communities partnership has also been busy. We soon will see new banners along Highway 12. A big thank you to all the volunteers on that committee.

Why should you be elected?

I will do my research, inquire about facts, respect and learn from those who have differing opinions, and understand the history of a project before I criticize.

I have learned firsthand this past year-and-one-half the true meaning of community – Montrose is beautiful and has a diverse community that I am proud to call home. I hope you will extend me the honor to serve you once again.

Charlie Nelson

Why are you running for Montrose City Council?

I have the unique privilege of being born and raised in the city of Montrose. I have lived in or near the city my entire life.

I am the husband of Connie, my wonderful wife of 23 years. We celebrate five children and 12 grandchildren. I am retired, work part time, and own a small business.

I had the honor of serving as your mayor from 1999-2008. I’m in my 45th year of Boy Scout service in Montrose, helping start the troop in 1966.

In my lifetime, our community has transformed from an agricultural hub to a basic bedroom-type area, to where it now is.

In the year 2000, Montrose started to grow from a city of 1,134 citizens to our present count of about 3,000 citizens. That growth has helped mold Montrose’s future.

City staff is well-educated, trained, and very effective. Plans to take us to the future are in place. These plans have only to be intelligently followed for guided growth to happen. I was the mayor when the plans were laid, and have a direct knowledge of their worth and ultimate effectiveness.

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

Growth and infrastructure are ongoing concerns.

Growth doesn’t just happen. Without growth, we go backwards. Knowledge, experience, careful planning, and budgeting will bring us to the future.

We all know about homes devaluating in worth and the problems that presents. We all know of foreclosures on peoples’ homes and businesses.

The new council must budget more effectively than ever. The council must also give deep consideration and adherence to tax levy limits.

Growth is more than dollars and cents, however. We should all strive to make this the place people desire to move their family and business to – a place where you can raise children and take pride in what each of us has individually done to make that happen.

True growth is the gracious giving of your talents to make Montrose a better place to live, play, work, and worship.

It is telling others about the good things happening in Montrose. It is taking a long walk with your family down one of our trails, or spending time with others you just met in one of our parks. You can join one of our many volunteer organizations. Just say you’d like to.

Nobody can do this for you. You are the only one who can help yourself and family enjoy what you have come to like in this city. You can make a difference, but only if you care enough to do so.

All the above being said, we need to continue with infrastructure updates. I have to believe that nobody in Montrose wants to sit by the wayside and watch our city’s infrastructure decay to a point of no return and sacrificial cost to everyone, especially our grandchildren, who will then be forced to pay for it because we chose to “let it go for awhile.”

I’ve heard people complain we can’t spend money fixing the roadways and then complain, in the next breath, that the potholes cause them problems.

Plan. Budget. Do.

Why should you be elected?

I am running for office because I feel I am the best person for the job.

I should be elected because I know the history and possess the knowledge, time, experience, and fortitude to see the city’s opportunities and problems through to a conclusion best suited for all citizens, that is, each of us here now and those yet to come.

Jon Varner

Why are you running for Montrose City Council?

To increase my involvement in the direction of the community, and by being more involved, to be able to get others to want to be involved.

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

1. Lack of involvement in the city direction and events by citizens of Montrose.

2. Get to the bottom of what appears to be excessive wages for both city employees and elected officials.

Why should you be elected?

I will bring an open mind, and be able to stand for what I believe is right and in the best interest of the city.

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