City council: Steve Wilson, incumbentFamily Wife, Andrea; children Josh, Benjamin, Elizabeth Occupation HealthPartners account manager Years in Farmington 6
Why do you feel you’re the most qualified candidate?
Having served on the city council for the past six years, I have a solid understanding of our budget and the city operations. I think that I represent the residents fairly and honestly. One of the most — if not the most important aspect to being a council member is listening to residents and being responsive to their concerns. I will never claim to be a “know it all” and I always appreciate resident comments. While I may not agree with every opinion, I will always take the time to listen. Residents also appreciate that I am serving on the council to serve Farmington versus a “what’s in it for me” attitude. Two years ago for example, I was the only council member who voted no on a substantial pay increase for the mayor and council. With families in Farmington cutting back and doing more with less I made the common-sense decision to vote no on a pay increase.
What do you like about Farmington? What would you change?
The residents and businesses in Farmington are great people and full of community spirit. It is almost an infectious pride in our city and who we are. We are a growing suburban community that has not lost its small town values nor our sense of purpose. We embrace our farming heritage, celebrate our accomplishments and support our children’s sports and academic achievements. Each of us finds a meaningful way to contribute to make Farmington a great place to live. We are quick to help each other in a time of need – witness the recent tornado and the way we supported each other. The deep appreciation Farmington shows for current and retired military personnel and their families is a reflection of Farmington’s character. We are a city where neighbors help out neighbors any time of the day or night.
I would like to work with the business community and residents to promote all of the great things we have to offer even more than we already do. Whether it is Dew Days or the farmer’s market or anything in between, I sometimes think we don’t brag enough about why we call Farmington home.
What is the role of city council in attracting development?
The council’s role is to be an advocate for new business and to encourage commercial and industrial development. We need to “hold the door open” and let them know how we can help them succeed in Farmington. I have cast critical votes that have promoted business development including a No vote against higher development fees in the future industrial park and a Yes vote for many small business start-up grants that have encouraged new businesses to get started in Farmington. In fact the city has seen 30 commercial/industrial building permits valued at nearly $20 million just in the past four years. A business owner recently commented to me about how much stronger the relationship is today than just a few short years ago between the city and the Farmington business community. I am proud of this, yet recognize significant work remains and I am ready for that challenge. Our planning team has implemented a new streamlined development process designed to make bringing a new business in Farmington easier than ever.
Residents who call Farmington home enjoy our high quality school system, the quality of life and our parks and trail system. What Farmington residents want from the council is an effective yet smaller government to reduce our tax burden. I have continually reminded my fellow council members that high taxes are a deterrent to residential development in Farmington.
What are the essential services the city of Farmington offers, and would you be willing to make cuts to those services if necessary?
Every resident that I have talked with mentions the same three or four items as being essential services in the city and I agree with them. First and foremost is a reliable and effective police department along with a dependable fire department. Our police and fire professionals do an excellent job of serving Farmington and I will not compromise their ability to keep our city safe. I also believe that high quality parks and trails along with effective street maintenance services-including snow plowing and periodic road improvements are appreciated and expected by the majority of residents.
While I am not willing to compromise the quality of life and safety of our citizens I do have a growing concern about the value of city owned liquor operations and city owned and operated garbage service. While garbage collection is actually one of the services that residents are most pleased with in the city, there is a cost to doing business and in challenging economic times everything needs to be on the table. Again, residents are doing more with less and the council needs to prioritize expenses and make necessary cuts to city government. I have advocated for smaller government and will continue to do so.