Ted has been out meeting with the residents of Stillwater to talk about the issues facing our community. Here are some of the questions that have been asked:
What distinguishes you from the other candidate?
Experience, community involvement and the ability to connect and listen to our residents. To be the Mayor of Stillwater you need to be a passionate advocate for the city. You have to love this town and I certainly do. Growing up here is such a huge part of who I am and I attribute so much of my success with having been raised here. Stillwater has done so much for who I am as a person. I see being Mayor as a volunteer position where I can give back to the community that shaped me.
I have city government and high level business experience, lots of community involvement & the ability to connect and listen to our residents. This job demands interpersonal skills. In order to be effective as the mayor or city council member you need to be able to listen and communicate effectively. I have 17 years of business management experience and am a nationally recognized speaker and lecturer on marketing and entrepreneurship. I believe in listening to the concerns of our citizens and weighing the council of our city staff and professional advisors in order to make sound decisions for a prosperous, safe and wonderful Stillwater.
What is the most important part of a successful local government?
Community participation and input from our citizens. All too often local governments react solely on the loudest voices, not necessarily the most representative ones. As mayor of Stillwater I will need to speak with many and not just focus on the few. When it comes to our downtown we get really good input from our business owners downtown and residents in “Old Stillwater” but we also need to reach out to our residents on the top of the hill to hear what they would like to see in our Historic Downtown. It’s imperative that we get input from our residents in Croixwood, Oak Glen and our newest neighborhoods Liberty, Millbrook, Settlers Glen & Legends.
What are some steps downtown Stillwater can take to maximize the new St. Croix River Crossing and closing of the Lift Bridge?
We need to take steps to ensure that our local residents and visitors continue to see our historic downtown as a fun and compelling place to shop, eat and do business. The Browns Creek Trail and recent acquisition of riverfront property will be a great attraction for bikers and tourists as well as a wonderful amenity for our locals. I am looking forward to creating public docks on the river for boaters as well. The simple steps for maximizing the new bridge are to first make our streets and sidewalks more pedestrian and bike friendly, review and update our parking plan for downtown and continue to improve on our efforts to keep downtown clean by removing garbage and snow in a timely manner.
What do you see as the two most important issues facing the city in the next four years, and what would you do about them?
One area that I would like to focus on is economic development. The only way to increase revenue without raising taxes is to get more businesses in Stillwater and create an environment that allows our current businesses to become more successful. Look at all of the new business development on the Oak Park Heights side of HWY 36. If Stillwater had a little more of that on our side of the highway it would provide additional tax dollars for our community. We need a focused economic development effort and possibly a new commission or staff member that can focus on bringing new businesses and jobs to Stillwater.
The second is balancing a small annual budget of $11,000,000 with big opportunities for a better Stillwater. Improving the riverfront and adding public docks, a public pool, YMCA, wider sidewalks downtown, additional parking and community centers are all wonderful amenities often requested by our residents. With a small staff of approximately 80 and small budget, long term planning is of paramount importance. As a community we can accomplish many things, but it’s going to take professional strategic planning to see results materialize. As a city we’ve had the tendency to focus on the “here & now” and we really need to start looking at 10-15-20+ years into the future.
What do you think your city government does best? What could be improved upon?
The Public Safety departments, Police & Fire do an amazing job in Stillwater. Their response times are great and the well trained staff excel in this core function of local government. We also have one of the nicest community libraries I’ve ever seen. I was very excited to be a part of the Friends of Stillwater Area Dog Park which was led by an amazing group of volunteers. I feel that our city functions well; we have excellent staff, boards and commissions, yet we can always look to improve. I would like to focus more on economic development. The only way to increase revenue without raising taxes is to attract more businesses to Stillwater and create an environment that allows our current businesses to become more successful.
What role, if any, should the city play in encouraging or assisting development or redevelopment in Stillwater?
The city should assume the leadership role in assisting and encouraging development and redevelopment in Stillwater. We have a commercial and industrial district that is under utilized. This area represents a huge opportunity for additional revenue if we can attract more businesses to this area. We also have some under utilized properties all over town that could become great opportunities for commercial use.
Ted’s community or civic organizations involvement:
Former Board Member at Valley Outreach, Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, my family supports many local organizations including Community Thread, ArtReach St. Croix & United Way Washington Co East to name a few.