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Herald Journal / Dassel-Cokato Enterprise Dispatch / Delano Herald Journal

Winsted Mayor

Steve Stotko

Why are you running for mayor of Winsted?

I take seriously the responsibility of being a dedicated public servant. I apply common sense principles in all my decision-making, and I work diligently and cooperatively with my fellow council members to find common ground that serves the best interests of Winsted and all its residents. I want to continue working to keep Winsted a first-rate, affordable place to live, to work, and to raise a family.

What do you believe are the top two issues facing the city, and what are your proposed solutions?

I have a number of concerns that are of equal importance. They are:

Local government aid (LGA) reductions – the city should wean itself off of this aid, without reducing services and raising taxes. LGA accounts for 35.5 percent of the general fund revenues in 2012. This amounts to $547,848.

Capital improvements – the city needs to fund this account to lessen the possibility of raising taxes and/or floating bonds.

Infrastructure: Water, sewer, and roads will need to be upgraded and maintained.

Downtown vibrancy – make our downtown a “destination.” This can be achieved by promoting our history and public art. Follow the recommendations brought forward by the Downtown Vibrancy Task Force.

Unfunded mandates – work with state and federal elected officials to eliminate all unfunded mandates.

Industrial park – our current industrial park is at capacity. The city should explore future sights and ways to fund land acquisition and infrastrucure.

What specifically can this unit of government do to cut costs and operate efficiently, while still maintaining service to taxpayers?

The following items are examples of what the council has done to reduce costs.

Change insurance companies, which resulted in a 9 percent decrease in health insurance costs for the city from 2011-12.

New cell phone contract saved the city money.

Reduced city attorney fees, due to not attending council meetings.

Summer seasonal public works staff eliminated.

Refinanced bonds, resulting in $860,797.73 savings over the terms of the bonds (paid off in 2033).

Over the last five years, the city has had a 3.3 percent tax increase, or an annual increase of .66 percent. During those five years, we were able to maintain all our city services.

As we move forward, we’ll continue to look at ways to cut costs and continue to maintain services.

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