Grand Forks mayoral candidate: Michael R. Brown (incumbent)
Note to readers: The answers to survey questions below have not been edited in anyway. They were provided as is by the candidates. Name: Michael R. Brown Occupation: Physician Age: 61 Family: Wife, Ann (Altru Physician); daughter, Michaela (Gradu...
Note to readers: The answers to survey questions below have not been edited in anyway. They were provided as is by the candidates.
Name: Michael R. Brown
Family: Wife, Ann (Altru Physician); daughter, Michaela (Graduated University South Carolina, Columbia, business and finance, May 2012), son Grady (UND junior)
Leadership experience: Eagle Scout, launch control officer intercontinental ballistic missiles, deputy/commander/instructor, lieutenant colonel U.S. Air Force, obstetrics gynecology physician, department chair
What is something voters should know about you?
I take the role and responsibility of mayor very seriously. Through my 12 years as mayor I have continued to learn and adapt to our changing city and City Council, and will continue to serve the citizens honestly and with humility. I am as excited about the future of Grand Forks today as I was during my first campaign.
What is the most important issue facing the mayor?
If Measure 2 passes, the most important issue facing the mayor is managing the financial changes required to keep the city operating. Such a dramatic change would require significant oversight both locally and at the state level to ensure Grand Forks continues to thrive.
Should Measure 2 fail, the most important issue facing the mayor is ensuring our city government upholds the commitment of the Grand Forks Promise to its citizens. The mayor must balance many complex issues, i.e. affordable housing, reasonable taxes, living wages, job opportunities, etc. while maintaining the strong relationships required of the city with UND, the Chamber of Commerce, School and Park Boards, the Grand Fork Air Force Base, the business community and state and national elected leadership.
What should the city do to support job creation and business expansion?
The City of Grand Forks should continue its current efforts to support job creation and business expansion. For the past several years, groups within our city have worked diligently to attract new businesses to locate to Grand Forks, and the city has supported those efforts in the form of tax abatements and low interest loans. Other efforts have occurred to encourage current businesses, such as Amazon.com and Simplot, to expand. The Bakken Initiative is another example of being proactive on the economic front. Again, the city has provided financial incentives to not only ensure these expansions would happen right here in Grand Forks, but would provide new, good paying jobs for our citizens.
Where can the city save money in its budget?
The city can save money by continuing to have energy audits, perform appropriate capital maintenance, continually auditing which services are necessary and how to perform them more efficiently. Additionally, utilizing technology to replace human capital (through attrition) will continue to lower city expenses.
We are diligent in our budgeting process, utilizing over 274 years of department head experience looking at the best use of funding to provide the services required. We ask ourselves, "How do we save money for the taxpayers while providing the services that make us a community where people want to Live, Learn, Work, Play, and Stay?"
What city services can be improved?
We continually look at the way we deliver our services, and use technology and training where feasible, to improve service and reduce cost. Building inspectors are using applications online to access information from City Hall. Citizens will be able to pay bills, complete applications, access information, and request repairs online. Police can complete reports online in the squad car rather than going to the police station to complete them. All of these changes make the services provided by the City better, and make the City more accessible to the citizens.