City council: Jerry RistowOccupation Small-business owner for 20 years Years in Farmington Lifelong resident
Why do you feel you’re the most qualified candidate?
From 1996 to 2004 I was Farmington’s mayor. I served on the Farmington City Council from 1992 to 1996. During those years, Farmington grew from 2,500 population to nearly 20,000. That is when Farmington actually took shape to where we are today. I elected not to run for a fourth term in 2005. The city had a balanced budget in those years and a great credit score. There were no increases in city taxes or added fees during that time. With my experience I feel I am the most qualified to serve the people of Farmington and to help with the current budget problems.
I remember when this city was prosperous and I believe it can be brought back. I have the experience, the integrity and the ability to move Farmington forward. I have the energy and dedication required to promote Farmington and encourage new businesses which results in less tax burden on the homeowner. I relate to the people and I will try to understand each person’s perspective when dealing with all issues that come before me as your representative. I will take all of the residents and business owners concerns seriously and try to find the best solution for all involved.
What is the role of city council in attracting development?
The city council should work with the economic development department to actively promote Farmington as a viable, growing and prosperous community. We need to advertise that we already have a well-established business base. I was a part of attracting various commercial developments that are in Farmington. I feel that I have the ability and the knowledge to continue to add to the commercial/industrial base that we already have.
What do you like about Farmington? What would you change?
One thing that I would like to see changed about Farmington would be to add more businesses to our city. I would also like to curtail the taxes and the fees that are currently being imposed on the residents and businesses. I think Farmington always has been an excellent city to live, work, play, shop and worship. That is why I have lived my entire life here 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?
I am not running with any “agenda.” I do not know what, if any, city services could be cut. If elected I would look at all of the figures, profit and losses, the budget and, with other council members, the mayor and city staff, evaluate our services.
If you could address just one issue, what would it be, and why?
The main issue I see is the city budget and uncontrolled spending. Another main issue facing Farmington is the lack of commercial development. The city developed a comp plan in early 2000 with stakeholders, both residential and commercial, taking part in the process. I feel that housing alone does not make a city. I am a firm believer that “business helps business” by bringing people into our community for their needs. We need the commercial businesses including the “big box” to help the city grow and relieve the tax burden on the residents. As your representative on the Farmington City Council, I will focus on the city finances to maintain a balanced budget and eliminate unnecessary spending. I will work to bring in more commercial businesses to Farmington, and continue to work on the Spruce Street extension project (Vermillion River Crossing).
If elected I will ensure that the people are heard, and that no tax dollars will be spent unnecessarily. Our greatest challenge will be controlling spending and supporting existing businesses as well as attracting a greater business base to Farmington.