City council: Don Hayes
Why do you feel you're the most qualified candidate?
If you totaled up my years of service it is more than the combined total of all the other candidates.
My experience in public service includes 29 years with the city, four years with the U.S. Air Force, attaining the rank of sergeant, and four years with the U.S. Postal Service. I began my work with Farmington in 1981 as a park keeper.
I have worked as a foreman, maintenance supervisor and parks specialist. I have first hand knowledge of public service budgets, as my responsibilities have included developing and managing the park maintenance budget, hiring full and part time staff and working with many volunteer groups.
I understand the need to work with the community, such as my work managing and coordinating the remodeling of the Rambling River Senior Center.
I have experience managing contracts and saving taxpayer dollars as evidenced by the contract with Toro Corp. to mow 95 percent of our park and trail system, which saves $55,000 annually.
I have had a strong working relationship with the school for 29 years.
I also know how to partner with other governments. I have coordinated with Dakota County on the sentence to serve program for over 10 years and worked with the state on wetland buffer areas.
In addition, I have a deep commitment to Farmington and have served our community in a variety of ways -- Dew Days, city safety committee, church council, Sunday school teacher, to name a few.
What do you like about Farmington? What would you change?
We have great people in Farmington and I would consider it an honor to serve them as a council member. I have enjoyed my career with the Farmington Parks Department. Starting with the small community when I started with the city, the Rambling River Parks and all its attractions and talking with the many groups that use this beautiful complex. Watching kids and families play and enjoy our park system is the best part of my job. My philosophy has always been that if you keep the kids happy, mom and dad are a lot happier, which makes Farmington a great place to live and raise a family.
I would like to change the way the council approaches the annual budget. We all understand that the state has cut funding, construction is down, so permit revenue is down, and there will be struggles with the budget. What we need to do as a council is find long-term solutions. I believe Farmington needs a finance committee of citizens who will be tasked with gathering information on the budget and spending, and work with the council and staff on growth options or potential cuts or cost-saving measures.
What is the role of the council in attracting development?
As a council member I would encourage the Farmington Economic Development Authority and staff to be proactive in their pursuit of commercial and residential growth. I believe to grow you need to show that Farmington is appealing to the new development and families. You need a great park system, including a hockey rink, pool, trails and great programming, along with a senior center and a good school system. There may also be Tax Increment Financing dollars available to assist in this commercial and business approach.
What are the essential services the city of Farmington offers, and would you be willing to make cuts to those services if necessary?
Although Farmington has two sources of revenue that many cities do not, namely our solid waste department and two municipal liquor stores, we are much like other local governments who are struggling to provide basic city services our residents expect. Before making cuts or adjusting services, I would want to gather all relevant facts, including an independent study that looks at the long-term impact on the public of a service reduction or elimination.
If you could address just one issue, what would it be, and why?
As a member of the council, I would work to address the long-term financial needs of Farmington. Beginning in 2011, and with the help of the newly formed finance committee I am proposing, we would start the budget process earlier. The budget schedule needs to be proactive and eliminate some of the current, stressful late decision-making. To make the meetings more convenient for the public, I would ask that the council meetings be moved to Tuesday night. During the budget meetings, I would be committed to having additional meetings until the budget is set and believe these meetings should be televised.