Although I’m providing some of my priorities, my first role as your council person is serving as your representative. We may not always agree on everything, but I will listen to you and do what I can to assist you.
I think we, as a city, should take an “Assess and Address” philosophy.
Assess that the problems or issues are. Review what is being offered or what the issue is. This may include reviewing services offered by particular departments during budget time – similar to a zero-based budgeting exercise.
Address those problems and issues by developing potential solutions and courses of action, if any. After that, act on those solutions or courses of action and follow-up on it.
Here are some of my priorities – I expect to adjust these as I hear from more of you:
Ensuring a Safe Community
We all deserve to live in a safe community. I am opposed to any efforts to defund or reduce the number of fire fighters or police officers on our streets. I want to increase the number of officers that are on our streets and in our neighborhoods. Our police department enjoys strong relations with our community and is one if its strengths. We must do what we can to recruit, train, and retain the best officers.
A safe community, though, requires an investment from all of us. We need active neighbors and community members wanting our community to be safe. Government – and the police – can only do so much — it’s on all of us to make sure we’re a safe community.
Long-term, I’d like to see our public safety professionals paid more to improve the quality of candidates we recruit and retain. I’d also like to see they receive top-notch training and that we do what we can to avoid them burning out.
Supporting Good Roads & Infrastructure
Our community – like many around this country – face challenges in maintaining our infrastructure. This includes our roads and sewers. We need to develop a long-term plan and pass budgets every year that support this plan. The city creates a Capital Improvement Plan that includes these types of projects, but I believe it needs to be more visible and more graphical. I envision the ability for a citizen to view an interactive map that shows future projects and their potential timeframe and scope. In addition, I think interactive mapping should also include the ability for residents to see the age of infrastructure to get a better sense of the community’s needs and how we are addressing them.
In addition, I’d like to see a “top 10” list of poor roads in St. Cloud and each year, mark off ones that have been removed and add new ones to ensure citizens see that the city is responsive.
We should also be doing the little things – like maintaining boulevards to a minimum consistent standard and addressing street signs that are no longer legible or readable.
Providing Constituent Services
If elected, I will hold routine town hall meetings (both in-person and online) to hear from those in ward 3. I will also do what I can to assist residents in ward 3 with issues they’re having with the city and city staff.
It doesn’t matter if you live in the core neighborhood near MTs on 8th or in the far western part of the city that used to be township. Resident concerns in all neighborhoods are equal.
Enhancing Our Quality of Life
I am a big believer in making sure we do what we can to maintain and improve our quality of life. We need to make sure we are cracking down on problem properties – whether they are owner-occupied or rental. A problem property can impact an entire neighborhood and that alone can negatively impact the quality of life.
We need to invest in and maintain our parks. A master plan was completed in 2017 that detailed a vision and investment strategy. Progress has been limited at best in enacting the master plan and we need to re-focus on it and either work towards completing the vision or refining the plan to something doable.
Our community is our investment. As a city, we need to be making ourselves as attractive as we can to our current residents and businesses and future residents and businesses. Quality of life means many things – but at it’s highest level, it means making our community a better place to live, work, and play.