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Three Farmignton residents are vying for the mayor's seat.

Candidate questions 2012: Farmington Mayor

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news Farmington, 55024
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

In the interest of helping Farmington voters make more informed decisions when they go to the polls Nov. 6, the Independent has reached out to the candidates to find out where they stand. We asked mayoral candidates Todd Larson, David Pritzlaff and Jerry Wear the same questions and we're providing their answers to you here.

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Todd Larson

Incumbent

City of residence Farmington

How long in the city 37 years

Immediate family Wife, Lena; daughters Miranda, 17, and Brooke, 14

Occupation Sales for Ramy Turf Products

Why are you running for mayor?

Over the last four years I have worked hard to come up with a plan to pay for the previous city council's spending and debt.

This includes the elimination of 12 staffing positions without a reduction in services. I have more ideas to streamline the city therefore lowering the tax burden on residents and businesses.

What kind of civic or volunteer contributions have you made to the community, and how do you see yourself using those experiences if elected?

I have been mayor for the last four years. I have coached youth soccer and hockey for many years, I was a member of the planning commission for 13 years. I am a member of the Minnesota Mayors Association; I sit on the Dakota County Communication Board (911 call center) and I am a member of the Farmington Fire Relief board.

What do you consider Farmington's most pressing need?

No. 1 business recruitment and retention. No. 2 paying down the debt.

In the last four years we have eliminated 12 full time staffing positions. We eliminated the city's consulting engineering firm and hired our own engineers to save money. We have looked at every contract the city has to see how we can save money. We renegotiated two liquor store leases for a savings of $70,000.00 per year. And nothing is off the table.

What role do you see yourself playing in the attraction of new businesses and retention of existing businesses in Farmington?

I am already working with real-estate brokers within the city to help attract any businesses to the city. I am also working with the Farmington Business Association to help attract and keep business in Farmington. I also do business visits with existing business owners to find out what their concerns are and how I can assist.

David Pritzlaff

City of residence Farmington

How long in the city 20 years

Occupation Owner of business in construction field

Why are you running for mayor?

I am running for mayor to bring back leadership to the council and to the residents of this city. Residents need to have their say in government. Currently you pay 100 percent of your taxes and at a council meeting will only get five minutes to explain an issue or a problem you may have for citizens comment. Professionalism is missing at council meetings and the representing of our city to the residents and businesses that would want come here is embarrassing. Snickering, laughing and not paying attention to people at the podium during council meetings has to end and under my leadership I will dedicate the role of mayor as a privilege by the people.

What kind of civic or volunteer contributions have you made to the community, and how do you see yourself using those experiences if elected?

I have had four years on the council previously and while there have volunteered to help raise money for Special Olympics, volunteered to help with the summer city celebration Rambling River Days, volunteered to help at the Dakota County Fair, and volunteered time to work on the current senior citizens center along with a monetary donation to give the seniors our old city hall for their new senior center. All of these opportunities and more show the professionalism and leadership that I have and will demonstrate as the mayor. I work in the public and I have the leadership to represent the city of Farmington in a positive manner to other cities and entities as well as businesses.

What do you consider Farmington's most pressing need?

Farmington needs fiscal responsibility. We have to tighten the reins on the spending and pay down the debt that has increased over a million dollars in the last four years in such an economic down turn. The days of asking residents pay more and more has to end. Identify the needs of the city and maintain them and distinguish needs verses wants. Just like in every household there is a cap on what we can afford. We need to set plans in place for new commercial and industrial business to open in our city and to bring jobs to Farmington and help the city prosper. We need to build partnerships with other cities, entities, and other groups that can help Farmington succeed.

As you consider the city's budget, where would you look first if cuts were needed? Are there areas you believe cannot be cut?

As I consider the cities budget I realize we need to lower the cities tax capacity rate. It is the highest in Dakota County. This needs to be lower to retain current business and to attract new business. In the city budget there is no one place to look first, it has to be looked as a complete budget document. Every option has to be on the table and never set aside that one part of a budget that can't be reduced. To set one tool outside of a tool box and to expect a complete job is not responsible. (Example! One player doesn't get a team to the Super Bowl.)

What role do you see yourself playing in the attraction of new business and retention of existing business in Farmington?

Every thing I have stated above plays a role in retention of business and attraction of new business. Leadership, professionalism, and fiscal responsibility. Showing that doing city business is a serious matter and is viewed by a lot of other people. We need to find away to reduce city fees that are charge to current business and make it more affordable to open a business. We as a city don't build businesses but we can get the table ready for the entrepreneurs that want to exercise their skills in the city of Farmington, not other cities. We have a lot to offer and with a how can we help attitude who would want turn down a great opportunity.

Jerry Wear

City of residence Farmington

How long in the city Lifelong resident

Immediate family Navada, Zelda, Logan, Matthew, Jacob and Cadence

Occupation Auto mechanic

Why are you running for mayor?

Being a lifelong resident of Farmington, my family has experienced the struggles that the average family faces because of the fiscal irresponsibility of the current and past city officials. Property tax increases and levies have put a financial strain on my family. I am running for mayor to hold city officials accountable for their spending.

What kind of civic or volunteer contributions have you made to the community, and how do you see yourself using those experiences if elected?

I am not a career politician, but I feel that is a positive attribute to have. I am coming into this race with no specific political agenda or promises to any groups.

What do you consider Farmington's most pressing need?

Farmington's most pressing need is to bring revenue to our city. I firmly support local businesses, however, we need to attract more cost friendly options into our city. To the average household on a budget, shopping locally downtown is not feasible because of the cost. Because of this, people are traveling to neighboring cities, such as Apple Valley or Lakeville to shop. We need less expensive options to keep our residents shopping within our city. '

As you consider the city's budget, where would you look first if cuts were needed? Are there areas you believe cannot be cut?

While examining the budget, I would first look for areas where there are duplicating roles or unnecessary expenditures to make cuts first. In addition, we, as city officials, have to get into the mentality that we can't spend more than what we take in. The areas that I believe cannot be cut are the police and fire departments and public works.

What role do you see yourself playing in the attraction of new businesses and retention of existing businesses in Farmington?

The city of Farmington has a great reputation and the resources to encourage business and restaurants into our city. I, as mayor, will do everything in my power to attract more businesses into our city as well as work with local businesses in promoting their stores.

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