Coon Rapids Mayor Tim Howe will not seek re-election in November.
Howe will have served three terms as mayor, 12 years, when he retires from city government at the end of the year.
He also served as Ward 1 councilmember on the Coon Rapids City Council from 1992 to 1998; Howe was elected mayor in 2002.
According to Howe, he has been thinking about not seeking re-election for about two years.
He announced his decision Friday at Coon Rapids City Council’s 2014 retreat at the Harvest Grill Event Center at the Bunker Hills Golf Course Clubhouse.
“There comes a time to move and let other people step in,” Howe said.
“I have been honored to serve the city of Coon Rapids and 95 percent of the time it has been a wonderful experience.”
The first year that Howe served as mayor, the city’s Local Government Aid was eliminated by the Minnesota Legislature; it was only restored in the 2013 session.
Despite that loss of revenue, the council has kept Coon Rapids moving in a positive direction, Howe said.
As highlights during his years as mayor, he listed the Homes for Generation program and the construction of the new Bunker Hills Golf Course Clubhouse and the Coon Rapids Ice Center as examples, as well as voters approving the park bond referendum last fall to restore the city’s parks and trails.
Howe said as mayor he has got to do a lot of things that he would not otherwise have been able to do, he said.
“I have met a lot of good people and one of the fun things for me was to be able to go into the schools and read to the kids during I Love to Read Month in February,” he said.
In his job as mayor, he has also been able to do some traveling to conferences, according to Howe.
“I had never flown in an airplane until I was mayor,” Howe said.
But the mayor’s job does carry a large time commitment and can be a full-time job “if you make it,” he said.
When he was first elected mayor, he had the flexibility in his day job in terms of taking time for mayoral duties that he does not have now in his present job, Howe said.
Indeed, he said he has had to use his vacation time to represent the city as mayor at events and meetings, he said.
“When I look at our city and other cities, a mayor needs to either have job flexibility or be retired to handle the time commitments of a mayor,” Howe said.
Howe has lived most of his life in Coon Rapids. He was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, where his father had his first job has a radio station disc jockey, but his family moved to Coon Rapids when he was four years old.
Both his mother and father are from Minnesota and his father got a job as a disc jockey on a Twin Cities radio station.
His father later worked for many years as an engineer for WCCO AM radio, according to Howe.
Howe attended Morris Bye Elementary School, Coon Rapids Junior High School and graduated from Coon Rapids High School in 1975, then went to Anoka-Ramsey Community College.
In high school, Howe played on the Cardinal hockey and soccer teams as well as performed on the drums with the Coon Rapids High School Marching Band, which was directed at that time by Clayton McCartney, “a wonderful man,” Howe said.
Howe and his wife Susan, also a Coon Rapids High School graduate, have two sons, Erik and Nathan, and two grandchildren, Alaina, 3, and Amelia, 1.
“My son told me last weekend that I will now be able to spend more time with my grandchildren,” Howe said.
He will also have the time to take his wife on the vacation that he has promised, according to Howe.
Prior to his service on the council, Howe coached for many years in the Coon Rapids Youth Hockey Association, Coon Rapids Athletic Association and Coon Rapids National Little League baseball.
In fact, he coached 31 teams during that time and also served as a CRAA vice president.
And he was also a member of the Coon Rapids Parks and Recreation Commission.
He plans to remain active in the community when he retires as mayor, joining community service organizations and if there is a position open, the Coon Rapids Community Strength Foundation, whose mission is to promote and enhance the quality of life in the city of Coon Rapids by supporting community celebrations and events.
Peter Bodley is at firstname.lastname@example.org