The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Election 2012

November 1, 2012

Six candidates vying for two seats on North Mankato council

(Continued)

NORTH MANKATO —

DeWitte said his previous council tenure instilled knowledge of what it takes to run the city and keep it independent.

“I consider myself a common-sense individual,” said DeWitte, whose list of key challenges and issues facing North Mankato includes accommodating an aging population by keeping costs under control for retirees, dealing with “nonexistent” state-aid funding and receiving “more bang for our dollar” from Greater Mankato Growth.

Also: “I’m firmly against a merger with Mankato.”

If elected, he said he would help turn North Mankato into a leaner community while helping to maintain its independence.

He suggested that councilors past and present may have deserved to be called “bobbleheads” for being in agreement on all council-agenda items.

“We need to think long and hard about pet projects — for instance, the Benson Park project.” 

Thomas Rieff

 Rieff, owner of a Mankato lawn maintenance service, is a first-time candidate for elective office who sees North Mankato as being at a pivotal point in its history.

He said hiring a new city administrator is an immediate city priority, and development of a long-term financial plan is a necessary goal.

“Things may have been easier in the past. That is, the 2000s provided exceptional growth in housing and industry. This resulted in an increasing tax base and increased revenues to do the projects in the city without adverse effect on constituents.”

But now, he said, the tax base has shrunk, state aid to cities has been reduced and growth has stagnated.

“The net effect is now the constituents are going to pay for some past decisions, whether good or bad.”

Rieff said North Mankato needs to continue to collaborate with other government entities and to explore further means of doing so.

He said the assumption in the past was that North Mankato provided excellent value and quality of service to its citizens.

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Election 2012