Endorsements based on personal conversations and the published Info from the candidate’s answers as given to the Minot Daily News questionnaire and printed on the http://www.minotdailynews.com/

Excerpts provided here are the points that helped me make my decision to endorse — link is provided to read the full text

 

For the Minot Park Board, I strongly endorse Randi Monley.

 

http://www.minotdailynews.com/news/election-2018/2018/05/minot-park-board-candidates-june-2018-questionnaire/

 

 

Q: Are there gaps in the services provided by the park district that you believe the board needs to address, such as more bark parks, disc golf, splash pads or other recreational opportunities? Should there be more neighborhood parks?

Monley: One thing that has come up over and over again when speaking to citizens is that we need an indoor pool. While we have a fabulous pool at Roosevelt Park, it is only servicing the community 3-4 months a year. I also think we need to work on walkability and making use of the river perhaps with kayaking or festivals.

  1. What knowledge and background would you bring to the position?

Monley: Recent demographic studies show that Minot is getting younger, and it is important to have younger families having a say in their communities. That is the perspective I would bring to the Park Board. I think that my collaborative spirit will aid me. I spearheaded the Build Minot project with the Minot Public Library and feel that I have gained insight into our community members and their wants; this project really helped me to understand the value of getting community feedback. I really think that the Park Board is not as transparent with the citizens of Minot about what projects they are working on as they could be. I also think that the Park Board needs to work in conjunction with the City in a better way. I also have board experience, as I have been on the Minot Area Council of the Arts executive board for a combined 8 years.

 

Q: Are you satisfied with the park district’s spending level? If there is a need to tighten the budget, what would guide your decisions?

Monley: I feel satisfied with the spending level. Recently there seems to have been a lot going out for big projects, which is why I am a interested to hear about how much the golf course project would cost. I think the best thing to do now is to maintain and work projects in segments, so we don’t get ourselves into a large debt. I just really want to make sure that the Park Board is transparent in sharing what is being spent and why with the taxpayers.

 

Minot Mayor

http://www.minotdailynews.com/news/election-2018/2018/05/minot-mayor-candidates-questionnaire/

 

Toss up:

Tim Mihalick

Nancy Bommelman

Both make some great and valid points. I really like Bommelman, but insider advantage goes to Mihalick

 

 

Q: What are your thoughts on breed-specific legislation and vicious dog ordinances?

Mihalick: Being a pet owner myself, I respect the rights of those who also have pets. I also believe we should have legislation that protects our citizens against harmful injuries from vicious animals.

Bommelman: I believe this should fall on the owner. I have a lab, and during the day, she is in a kennel. I can’t tell you how many times I have dogs wander into my yard. If a pit bull runs wild, it should be on the owner if something should happen to somebody else. If you want your animal to run around in your yard, I have no problem with that. I have seen pit bulls that are gentle and some that are vicious. If any animal does damage to a resident or business or human, all costs should be on the owner.

 

 

Q: With Trinity Hospital’s planned move, what do you envision as best case scenario for potentially empty properties downtown?

 

Bommelman: I do NOT want to see the city buy the old Trinity Hospital NO way!! To remodel the hospital would cost millions. We should just put it up for bids and let somebody else take care of the headache.

 

Q: Would you support an increase in the city sales tax beyond the current 2 percent?

Mihalick: Simply NO! Now is not the time to attach additional sales tax to the citizens who have just seen a substantial increase in their real estate tax portion from the city.

Bommelman: No. Absolutely NOT.

 

Q: What can the city do to create an environment more welcoming to new businesses?

 

Mihalick: Empower local business owners to become advocates for our city instead of the opposite. I continue to hear stories about the difficulties some of our local businesses have incurred as they have tried to expand or create new projects and the results have not been positive. We, as city representatives, have to have a “can do” attitude instead of stopping a project in its tracks. As Mayor I would focus on helping our existing business grow before we concentrate on bringing in outside business.

 

Q: What are your budget priorities and what actions do you believe the council needs to consider to hold taxes down? Specifically, could you support shifting more infrastructure costs to special assessments?

 

Mihalick: Maintain position of reflecting no increase in real estate taxes for 2019. Support city by encouraging innovative ideas to address the budget. Focus on increasing revenue by growing the economic tax base. Routine infrastructure maintenance should be included in the city budget and not shifted to special assessments. New developments requiring infrastructure should be paid by the developer.

 

***In other places I have lived, when a developer wants to build a subdivision, he is given the required specifications for the infrastructure — sewer lines, water lines, roads, curbs and gutters, sidewalks…the developer is required to construct those as part of the subdivision. Minot is the only place I have ever lived where the city does this for the developer ***

 

School Board

 

I strongly endorse Michael Carswell for the Minot Public School Board

 

The MDN questionnaire did not address any of the points I personally considered important for the school board candidates to answer.

 

School Board Election coming up in Minot

 

Minot City Council

I strongly endorse Edward Montez

http://www.minotdailynews.com/news/election-2018/2018/05/minot-city-council-candidates-questionnaire/

 

Q: What are your budget priorities and what actions do you believe the council needs to consider to hold taxes down? Specifically, could you support shifting more infrastructure costs to special assessments?

 

Montez: I think we need to look at having a third party audit our budget. We should consider making a simpler budget overview available to the public. We could also suggest adding cuts to the budget to the ballot and give the voters a chance to voice what areas to be cut. We should look at areas that no longer produce results to make sure we continue to fund pertinent areas and possibly reduce the budget. Most importantly we need make sure that necessary services such as utilities, roads and emergency services are funded and remaining efficient. As far as special assessments, that’s something I’d be more comfortable looking at on a case by case basis.

 

 

Q: Are there areas where you feel the city can create greater efficiencies to improve or maintain service while cutting costs?

Olson: I know it is difficult for many residents to believe, but last year’s budget was very lean and efficiencies were implemented. With that said, I fully understand that there is not an appetite for property tax increases again this year, so the City has to become more creative and more collaborative. When IEDC visited Minot, they suggested combining Parks and Recreation. I believe this is worth looking into, but without information to compare, I cannot make a recommendation at this time. At this time, I am not aware of any redundancy in services, but obviously if there are some, they should be examined and eliminated.

Pdorygula: The first thing the city can do to cut costs is to stop throwing away money.

The best examples that come to mind are: the fiasco with the parking ramps, where we were sold a bill of goods by the developer; Home Sweet Home, where we made a deal with the state without figuring out how much buying and moving the building might cost; and not charging appropriately for sanitation services.

Since the problems with the parking ramps and Home Sweet Home are so obvious, let me focus on sanitation services, which are not as well known.

With the changeover to automated trash collection, the city discovered that it had been picking up garbage (particularly for small apartment complexes) without charging the owners, something which lost us about ™ million dollars a year in revenue. The fact that we didn’t know this was happening shows we need better monitoring of all our services and their associated costs.

Just as bad, we were letting private haulers get away with not paying their landfill bills on time. In December 2017 we learned that one hauler was over $180,000 behind, and often paid two months late. Although they charged their customers 1.5 percent interest a month, we never charged them any interest (which would have come to over $2,300 in one month alone) or late fees; in contrast, all other North Dakota cities are much more aggressive in payment policies. When I found out what was happening, I immediately brought this to the attention of the Council and we have since passed an ordinance requiring payment within 30 days and charging interest on any overdue accounts; landfill privileges are suspended if a bill is two months late (and full payment is required before reinstatement). Basic city services need to be run like a business (e.g., making sure bills are paid on time).

Jantzer: I think the combining of the Recreation Department and Park District should be actively pursued to see what savings can be gained from combining them. Continuing to automate some of the city jobs to gain efficiency needs to be a constant pursuit. We need to benefit from the advances in communication and technology connecting formerly ‘dumb’ devices (e.g. as was done with water meters) to the Internet. There Partnering or coop buying activity with other organizations like the MPS District or County to save money on purchases of equipment and supplies is an opportunity. The City should look at doing centralized purchasing. The City needs to stop doing things that aren’t mandated or which don’t yield much value.

Montez: I feel like there is always room for improvement and that council members should challenge department heads to improve efficiency within their respective areas and look at areas where they can reduce their budgeting needs by at least 2 percent. We have department heads for a reason and if the council is solely working towards it, well, that in and of itself seems inefficient.

***

Q: Would you support an increase in the city sales tax beyond the current 2 percent?

 

Jantzer: I do not believe that increasing the city sales tax much beyond the current rate will be successful, and I would not vote to do so at this time. If we are the highest sales tax city in the state by say, two percent, buyers who aren’t captive here will bypass us for Bismarck, online shopping, or going elsewhere. Revenue increases may be less than expected or minimal. If we are going to support local businesses, jacking up the sales tax is the wrong way to go. I would support repurposing the current county one half penny to flood protection when it sunsets about 2022, thus keeping the overall tax rate the same as it is now. The USACE may start a Corps Project on the Maple Street Diversion, reducing Minot’s costs. The Supreme Court may decide online sales are taxable by the states, which will help ND, and indirectly Minot. Finally, a better way to finance flood protection is the approach I have worked on with local legislators for the 2019 session. Using a portion of the Legacy Fund as a revolving loan fund through the Bank of ND at below market interest rates would save Minot tens of millions of dollars in interest alone. It would allow us to accelerate completion of the project, relieving our citizens of high cost flood insurance. The cloud of uncertainty would be lifted sooner, allowing investment and progress.

Montez: Absolutely not. I may have been coerced on this before but after looking at the numbers and hearing the opinions of multiple citizens throughout the city I firmly believe that increasing sales tax would cause a much larger problem. We should be looking at ways to reduce taxes and make Minot more competitive in all markets.

 

Q; What are your thoughts on breed-specific legislation and vicious dog ordinances?

 

Montez: I am against breed-specific legislation. There is no evidence to support that one breed is more aggressive than another. While pit-bulls do make up a large percentage of dog attacks, they are the most common breed of dog in the U.S. I think the most sensible course of action is holding owners responsible for their pets and making sure that the ordinances that keep animals in control are enforced. We have to remember that these are animals and any dog can become vicious if not properly cared for and trained.

 

Pitner: I am a dog person and it is hard for me to think any specific breed should be restricted. I do believe there can be certain caveats that can be implemented to ensure we have ‘responsible’ dog owners. It only takes one to ruin it for everyone else and a lot more discussion has to be had on this topic.

 

District 3 Republican candidates

http://www.minotdailynews.com/news/election-2018/2018/05/district-3-republican-candidates/

I strongly endorse Alan Walter

 

 

Walter: My career has had me dealing with all government levels. I worked extensively with city government. And through that, with state and federal levels of government. My attitude towards all levels of government was to get the job done. I believe I worked well with the different agencies. I am not afraid to ask questions about specifics or rules that are being applied to issues or situations. The attitude “that I’m the government and I’m right” doesn’t work for me. If elected, I would bring that strength to the Legislature.

Q: How would you like to see spendable principal and earnings from the Legacy Fund treated next biennium?

 

Walter: Spendable principal or interest earnings from the Legacy Fund should be used as a revolving loan fund. Few, if any grants should be given from those funds. A revolving loan fund program would pay back the Legacy Fund. The money could then be loaned again, making it possible for the money to be put to good use to improve our communities. The loan program would be well defined and be used to support necessary infrastructure for communities. the loan program would be low interest, making it possible for communities to afford the needed infrastructure improvements.

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