EAST GRAND FORKS CITY ELECTION
AT-LARGE CITY COUNCIL Mike Pokrzywinski Goals: -- Balance the need to keep taxes and utility rates affordable and the need to invest in the community. -- Urge the city's economic development agency to create new jobs in sectors other than retail,...
AT-LARGE CITY COUNCIL
-- Balance the need to keep taxes and utility rates affordable and the need to invest in the community.
-- Urge the city's economic development agency to create new jobs in sectors other than retail, such as health care.
-- Push American Crystal Sugar Co. to eliminate the smell from the beet plant.
-- Ally with regional cities such as his native Crookston and Thief River Falls to better lobby the state Legislature for funding to repair streets and highways.
-- Televise City Council meetings.
-- Push the city's economic development agency to go out and recruit new businesses. Helping existing businesses is very important but the city can't rest on its laurels.
-- Urge the City Council to take a more active hand in budgeting and planning. The council has failed to direct department heads to budget for maintenance and replacement of city buildings and equipment.
-- Prepare contingency plans in case Grand Forks can't or won't handle East Grand Forks' garbage any longer.
-- Market the community's quality of education. Schools need more students to increase state funding. Marketing quality of education would encourage more young families with children to move to town.
-- Go back to the council's system of standing committees, which allowed council members to develop expertise in specific issues. The existing work session system forces council members to be jacks-of-all-trade and masters of none.
WARD 1 CITY COUNCIL
-- Address: 1514 12th Ave. S.E.
-- Age: 33.
-- Family: Girlfriend, Veronica LaMora, and son, Javier, 11.
-- Profession: GPS program manager, construction firm R.J. Zavoral and Sons.
-- Education: Bachelor's degree in political science, UND.
-- Leadership experience: Former president, Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Former youth football and baseball coach, city Parks and Recreation Department.
-- Reason for running: DeMers was born and raised in East Grand Forks and feels he has an obligation to give back to the community. "The very least I can do is give the people of Ward 1 the opportunity to have a choice," he said, since the incumbent would otherwise have ran unopposed.
-- Improve communication between City Hall and residents, such as updating the Web site, posting council members' e-mail addresses, creating a blog and holding quarterly meetings with his constituents.
-- Gather ideas from everyone to solve the city's problems. No one person does.
-- Ensure that economic development isn't just about growth for the sake of growth but growth in the right direction. The city needs to invest in its strengths, such as agriculture.
-- Polish the community's image. "What people see in us is important," DeMers said. "It may be the only thing that's important in economic development.
-- Address: 1024 Sherlock Circle S.E.
-- Age: 46.
-- Family: Wife, Beth, and three children.
-- Profession: Certified public accountant, self-employed.
-- Education: Bachelor's degree in business administration and accounting, UND.
-- Leadership experience: Council member, Ward 1; member of Water and Light board.
-- Reason for running: Vetter said he's pleased with what he's accomplished in his first four years, including finding various ways to save tax dollars. But there's still more to be done.
-- Keep finding ways for the city to "do more with less," eliminating unnecessary spending. For example, the city could phase out non-specialized vehicles and just pay employees a mileage rate for using their own vehicles. Departments appear to all have their own secretarial staff, whose positions could be combined.
-- Provide more recreational activities than just the usual team sports, which not everyone is interested in. Ideas include Rollerblading lessons on the Greenway and gardening classes.
-- Keep a closer eye on the economic development agency. The council has failed to set goals for the agency and monitor its progress for too long.
-- Urge the council to begin the budget process early, not wait until late summer to get involved. Too often, department heads assemble their budgets with little input from the council, present the council with deficits and then expect council members to figure it all out in late summer or early fall.
WARD 3 CITY COUNCIL
-- Address: 424 20th St. N.W.
-- Age: 53.
-- Family: Wife, Kay, and three sons.
-- Profession: Owner of Hardware Hank.
-- Education: Bachelor's degree in business management, University of Montana in Missoula.
-- Leadership experience: Council member, Ward 3; former chairman, Chamber of Commerce; former president, Lions Club.
-- Reason for running: Buckalew was out of town on business and did not make it to this week's voters' forum nor could he be reached at press time.
WARD 5 CITY COUNCIL
-- Address: 17 Forrest Court N.W.
-- Age: 52.
-- Family: Wife, Marsha, one child in college and two grown children.
-- Profession: Owner of Bert's Truck Equipment.
-- Education: High school, two years of college at Bemidji State University and UND.
-- Leadership experience: Council member, Ward 5; member, Resurrection Cemetery Commission; board member, Our Savior Lutheran Church; past president and member, Blue Line Club board; past board member, Chamber of Commerce.
-- Reason for running: Gregoire loves being involved in the community and giving back.
-- Keep working with American Crystal Sugar Co. and Grand Forks to eliminate the smell at the beet plant. Gregoire is enthused about the potential for Grand Forks to take on the plant's sewage overflow, which is the cause of the odor.
-- Work with Grand Forks to see if East Grand Forks would gain from sending its sewage to the neighboring city. East Side now treats its sewage in the lagoons north of town.
-- Support the schools and ensure quality education in East Grand Forks. He's urging voters to support the school referendum in this election.
-- Address: 831 James Ave. S.E.
-- Age: 62.
-- Family: Wife, Marjorie, and two grown daughters and a son.
-- Profession: Co-owner, Hampton Corp., a housing development company.
-- Education: Master's degree in elementary education, UND.
-- Leadership experience: Mayor; former council member; former president Blue Line Club; former commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars; former chairman of VFW Arena committee.
-- Reason for running: The mayor still has a lot of dreams to pursue, such as the ones below.
-- Make the town look good so residents are proud to live here. The city needs to clean up the sidewalks downtown, install a nice welcome sign, plant more flowers.
-- Expand the Red River State Recreation Area campground. Five times this year, the campground was filled, which shows there's an unmet demand.
-- Persuade the Legislature to build a learning center near the campground. Lawmakers want projects that would have a regional impact and he believes the center fits that criterion. He envisions K-12 students all over the region visiting the center to learn about the Red River Valley's history. The center has long been a dream of the mayor, but the Legislature has declined to fund it.
-- Persuade the Legislature to restore cuts to local government aid, which make up a significant part of the city's budget.
-- Buy 50 fiberglass cows and have residents decorate them. Like painted statues in other cities, these would serve as a tourist attraction.
-- Raise funds for a new wellness center and indoor swimming pool. The mayor said he would raise the funds for the $12 million to $15 million cost, not make local taxpayers foot the bill. It sounds impossible, he said, but he believes in the project.