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

Delano Mayor

Three people have filed for the position of mayor in Delano, Larry Bartels, Dale Graunke, and Harlan Lewis.

Larry Bartels

Why are you running for mayor of Delano?

I have lived in Delano for nearly all of my life. As a child, I have great memories of friends and family, and the great majority of people here are helpful and friendly.

As I grew up and became an adult, I have always been impressed by the sense of community, where everyone was able to put their own self-interest aside and work for the betterment of Delano.

The memories of people working to save their neighbors’ homes during floods, volunteer firemen going out at all hours to save lives and property, and our city and utility employees answering the calls at any time, going far and above what their jobs require, convinced me that if I could help contribute in some small way and be a part of the solution, I should do my part also.

That is what has motivated me to be one of your city council representatives for almost 16 years now, and what has convinced me that, at this time, an experienced and competent hand is needed right now in the mayor’s position.

What are two major issues right now?

The biggest roadblock to addressing long-term infrastructure issues, which has become the topic du jour, is a fair, legal (some of the solutions I have heard are not), and sustainable way to pay for these improvements.

Councils over the last 20 years have, rightly, focused on flood water mitigation and the Highway 12 reconstruction in Delano. The east and west side pumping stations (paid for with a combination of grants, developer contributions, and storm water fees), as well as the removal of properties in the immediate flood plain have already showed their value during the flooding this spring.

The third highest waters in the last 60 years caused almost no damage, due to the long-term planning that brought those items to fruition.

So, the solution is clear. Develop a plan so everyone understands the system and it is self-sustaining.

The second issue, while not time-critical, is still very important. Delano needs to have more industrial and commercial development, for several reasons.

Firstly, these businesses pay a lot of property taxes, thereby reducing the share our residential properties must bear.

Secondly, local jobs will be provided, helping to reduce travel time for our residents and raising everyone’s standard of living.

Thirdly, having additional shopping opportunities right here will benefit everyone, by saving time and dollars spent traveling to businesses that simply don’t exist here now.

Having said that, putting an industrial park in without tenants in place would be a foolish and risky exercise. This recession will end, and we have the plans now in place to move ahead quickly when tenants are available. Putting the park in with an “if you build it, they will come” strategy would put millions of dollars at risk of never being repaid. I do not support that strategy.

Why should you be elected?

I know in this political climate that the word “experience” can be seen as a dirty word. Well, I can assure you that while everything the mayor and council does is not rocket science, there are difficult issues that may not have an easy, or even a “definitely correct” answer, that require prior experience for a reasoned decision.

I have dealt with budgeting and spending issues for 16 years as a city council member. I believe that if you ask anyone who has dealt with me over the years, even if they didn’t like a decision or vote I have made, they will tell you I made the decision based on facts, not emotion.

I believe that long-term solutions are always the best, and in the end, the most cost-effective. I’m not going to tell you I have a quick and easy way to magically make money appear. You roll up your sleeves, research, plan, and follow through with that plan.

That is what I have done, that is what I will continue to do, if I you give me the opportunity to be your mayor.

If you need more information, call me at (763) 972-2000. I’d be happy to discuss any issues you may have.

Thanks for your attention and your vote for Larry Bartels for Mayor Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Dale Graunke

This candidate did not return the requested questionnaire, but did provide this statement:

I have resided in the Delano area for more than 50 years, and have lived in many parts of the area, including Franklin Township, various new developments, and now reside in town on Third Street with my wife, Lynn. Our two sons graduated from Delano High School in 2004 and 2005, and although they reside in the Minneapolis area, they both continue to have very close ties to Delano.

During the past 35 years, I have been a general contractor and successfully owned and operated 3-D Construction Co., building custom homes and small commercial buildings throughout the area, working with many of the same local sub-contractors during this time.

In the past, I was part of the downtown development task force and the drainage task force that sought out the most cost-effective solutions to many of the drainage issues the city was facing.

During the renovation of the St. Peter Church steeple project, I was the chairperson of the Buildings and Grounds Committee.

My wife and I were also chairpersons, for two years, of the church Spring Gala Festival, which was an annual fundraising event.

I have volunteered in various school fundraisers and activities, including assisting at concession stands, settingup for the high school graduations, landscaping and maintenance, school board referendums, and participating on the planning of the Delano Area Educational Foundation’s first silent auction fundraising event.

As a candidate for the position of mayor of Delano, I find it to be very important to listen to the people and respond to their input, especially in these tough economic times.

There are issues with infrastructure and the rising costs associated with running the city that need to be addressed, while keeping budgets in mind.

We have a great community, with people of many talents who could provide ideas on solutions and still stay within the budget. By building a strong foundation, Delano will continue to be a desirable place to live and work. We should actively seek out new businesses to come to our community, providing additional jobs and a strong tax-base.

I also want to promote the businesses we currently have in town by encouraging everyone to shop locally. Their success is vital to the future of our town.

I was born and raised in Delano, have an extensive knowledge of the history of the area, and want to see the great sense of community continue on in the years to come.

Please feel free to contact me with any comments or questions.

Harlan Lewis

I have been married to my wife, Jane, for 44 years. We have lived in Delano for the past 24 years at 118 Fourth Street South.

We have two children. Our son, Bradley, is a 1988 Delano High School graduate. He now lives in Kenosha, WI. Our daughter, Siiri, and her husband live in Waconia. We have three grandchildren, ages 18, 16, and 13.

I served three years with the US Army Security Agency – 22 months in Korea. I am a member of the Delano American Legion Post 377.

I have a bachelor of science degree from Moohead State University, and an Automated Machine Technology degree from Hennepin Tech.

I have 40 years of Boy Scout membership – 10 years as a paid professional.

I was a production manager for a medical device company before retiring. I am a member of the Delano Community Education Board, Delano Public Safety Commission, Delano Dream Team II/Downtown Task force, Delano CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), Delano Commons Community Action Board, and Delano Senior Issues group.

Why are you running for office of mayor?

We need to bring jobs to our town, trim spending, and reduce taxes to make us more competitive in this economic downturn.

I’m knocking on the doors of most houses in Delano. By doing that, I hear what our citizens have to say, and I will listen to their concerns.

I have been active in Delano, both with our schools and our city. I’m willing to tackle any project. I have the time and expertise to get things done.

My desire is to see Delano do what is right for our city, now and in the future. I will bring ideas, valuable life experiences, and solutions to the table; not just complaints. I will do my homework, and then dig in, get to work, and work until it is successfully resolved. I will do my best to respond to citizens’ desires when I am elected mayor.

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

Work toward reducing taxes and creating revenue.

Rising property taxes are a problem. Good-paying jobs in Delano for Delano residents is another problem. We need to be more resourceful in helping commercial development to come to Delano.

Ideas to solve some of these issues: hold city spending down. We need a new fresh review of how best to operate our city within a reasonable budget framework. With our current economic reality, we cannot keep doing things the same old way. We must find ways to hold spending down to the level it was last year or less.

Good-paying jobs: Filling our commercial lots still open along Highway 12 would be a great start, followed by the need to develop our new industrial park site on Highway 12 on the northwest side of our city. This site already has sewer, water, and electrical.

Commercial lots still open: First, I think we need an inventory of our empty commercial lots to know how many sites are still open. Gather information from developers, current businesses, number of pulled city permits, Wright County, State of Minnesota, recent city surveys, etc.

Put together a “Start a Business in Delano” task force (operated by the chamber of commerce) to generate a list of businesses that Delano is looking for, and develop contact ideas for these targeted business types.

We need someone to manage and promote Delano on a regional and national basis at trade shows, promoting our good schools, water, power, land, quality of life, and excellent workforce.

New industrial park needs someone to plan, manage, sample site ideas, recruit tenants, etc. I would suggest gathering a group of CEOs, business owners, banking groups, citizens who have or are now working outside of Delano on planning projects, and known suppliers to these companies, to be recruited to be on a “Blue Ribbon Committee for Build Delano.”

When this park is open, it will create a new source of revenue for the city of Delano, thereby reducing your taxes, and bringing more jobs to Delano – with less driving time to work, using less gas, and having more family time.

Senior issues: If we are to become a world-class city, we cannot ignore our seniors. As a city, we need to be friendlier to senior issues. Therefore, I recommend we form a “Commission on Senior Needs” reporting to and working with the City of Delano.

Why should you be elected?

I would bring ideas, as well as solutions, to the city and council. I have knocked on the door of every house in Delano, getting to know the citizen issues. I have attended most council and workshops in the past five years. I have read the Delano Comp Plan (its 152 pages). We need to follow it – or better yet, update it.

I am active in, and have served, our community in many areas.

One example: I was appointed to the Delano Public Safety Commission. I have taken concerns to this group about street crossings, chain link fence needed for Railroad Avenue, and the re-naming of Ninth to Tiger Drive, just to name a few actions.

I have done an eight-hour “ride-along” with the Wright County Deputy, here in Delano, to see what kind of coverage we receive for our contract with them. I do dig in and follow through. First group to promote Delano’s CERT program came from this committee.

I am not related to anyone in business in Delano or who is working for the City of Delano. I am my own person. I’m retired. I have the time, and I care deeply about our great city of Delano.

I respectfully request your vote Tuesday, Nov. 2.

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