Incumbent Ward 1 Councilmember Denise Klint is opposed by Chad Newman in the Nov. 6 general election.
Klint: I am currently the Ward 1 council member.
I believe residents deserve to be represented by someone with knowledge and love of this city.
I am a 40-plus-year resident of Coon Rapids, having been raised here with my eight siblings by my parents, Felix and Dawn Mannella.
I married another longtime resident, Tom Klint, and we have raised our three sons, Tommy, Andy and Bobby here as well.
As a councilmember and private citizen I have served on the League of Minnesota Cities, the Anoka Hennepin Community Education Executive Board, the Northstar Corridor Development Authority, the Anoka County Housing and Redevelopment Advisory Board, the North Metro Visitors Bureau, as vice president of CRAA Auxiliary, as an ice arena commissioner, a parks and recreation commissioner and on the Coon Rapids Youth First Executive Board.
I am a member of Epiphany Catholic Church. I have been a teacher in the Anoka Hennepin School District for 21 years.
My family owns and operates four businesses within the city, employing over 250 people.
Newman: I grew up in International Falls, Marshall and all over the Twin Cities.
Minnesota has always been home for me and I have been lucky to experience a lot of it.
I went to college at North Central University, majoring in business, focusing on Christian leadership and ethics.
At college, I met my wife, Krista, who is a therapist in Brooklyn Park.
I learned about business, management and leadership working my way up from washing cars for Enterprise Rent-a-Car to running the downtown store.
I have participated in my church from the time I was a child and currently attend Hope Fellowship with my wife. I have volunteered as a fund-raiser for United Way, worked on a community involvement committee for Enterprise Holdings, volunteered for organizations like Feed My Starving Children, Teen Challenge and others.
Growing up the son of a minister made me acutely aware of the role the city, church, school and individual in our governance.
Everyone can benefit from involvement in the community according to their strengths.
I have experience in leadership and know what it takes to run a successful organization by a budget.
I’d like your vote to bring my experience to our city.
2. Do think the council’s proposed level of spending and 2013 property tax levy is about right, too little or too high? Please give your reasons and indicate what you would cut if you think spending is too high and what you would spend more on if you think it is too low?
Klint: The proposed tax levy is just about right.
The budget process is not an easy one, and I continue to question and verify it.
It should be noted that while this process has always been open to the public, we have never had anyone from the public come to take part in it.
Reading this document without explanation makes it easy to think we can just “cut” in so many areas.
It takes time and commitment to ask questions and analyze each item.
But it is only after asking these questions that I come to understand what is exactly needed and why.
The process enables our management team to thoroughly explain what their budget means.
They bring forward a budget that is kept as low as possible, while still providing essential services and thinking about the future of the city.
I have approved next year’s budget despite the increase because I know exactly why each item is needed.
I know that there are increased costs in purchasing, insurance, technology use and training.
We are also increasing the number of community newsletters because of feedback we received from citizens.
I still question items such as conferences and travel expenses; subscriptions and dues; and some personnel moves.
I will continue this process until we have the best possible budget.
Newman: Both the levy and the spending are too high.
Many said Anoka County couldn’t live with less and it is doing it.
According to the budget, our city has raised the levy for 10 straight years.
Just like a family, we have wants and needs.
Needs are road improvements, utility upkeep and public safety.
Wants are brand new community centers, ice rinks, renovated golf clubs and city owned properties.
I will help in two ways. First, I propose selling off city-owned land and property, especially on Coon Rapids Boulevard.
We would also lease out/sell all golf facilities, community centers and operations, and return Homes for Generations and remodeling assistance completely to local business.
By doing these things and reducing non-essential services, we would cut soft costs and in some instances, sunk costs that are simply a drain on taxpayers.
We can also take steps to streamline existing ordinances and the time/money spent by staff on them.
Second, I would bring a cost/benefit analyst’s mentality to the council.
We must be patient when undertaking a project, and be wise in forecasting the impact on citizens, staff and our city budget.
We must trust our citizens to pursue their wants, while the city provides for public needs.
3. What steps should the council take to stimulate development/redevelopment on Coon Rapids Boulevard?
Klint: We first must move forward with programs already in place.
We recently launched a business retention and expansion program.
Partnering with the University of Minnesota, a team of local business leaders will help gather information and make recommendations for future economic development initiatives.
Our economic development department, offering different city assistance programs, has worked to bring three major projects onto the boulevard in the past two years.
I believe this development has in turn spurred on more private development, which is what our goal is.
As businesses become successful they, in return, contribute back to our programs.
These assistance programs are vital to development and redevelopment.
Fortunately, most councilmembers meet personally and socially with area developers and business owners on a regular basis.
These interactions are also vital to keeping communication open.
It is important to know that new business and redevelopment is happening on Coon Rapids Boulevard.
Plans and goals that were put in place over the years by the council are coming to fruition.
The council has to continue to plan and set goals to help development throughout the city.
Personally, I am very proud that two family businesses operate on the boulevard.
Newman: We certainly have a difficult task on Coon Rapids Boulevard.
However, this is not an excuse to blame the county or anyone else. This is an opportunity to allow citizens to remake our city.
By getting out of the way, lowering regulations on how they do business (such as the prepay ordinance) and loosening zoning for everyone, we may not spur the city that a few people on the council or a few people want, but we’ll get many engaged people investing their money on their city.
That type of investment will work best, as more people will have more reason to take care of their investment, their neighborhood and their community.
It is tempting to follow other cities’ leads on excessive city investment and strategy, but with our unique mixture of aging housing stock, high population/development and the shift of many businesses to the Riverdale area, we must remember that Coon Rapids is its own city, and we must be willing to embrace the new (yet old) idea of giving the right and responsibility for our community back to our citizens.
My unique outside perspective, my understanding of economics and my people centered thinking enables me to work with lifelong residents to create new ideas and new partnerships to help people remake our city.
I ask for your vote to be your voice on the Coon Rapids City Council.