Joel Cornell

Age: 43

Address: 9227 Kaeding Ave NE

Family: Married for 23 years; Four children, ages 20, 17, 14 and 9

Education: Graduated Rockford High School; United States Navy, 1996-1999

1. Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications.

I have been married for almost 23 years to my wife Kelly that I met in high school. We have 4 children, ages 20, 17, 14, and 9. After graduating from high school I joined the Navy. We moved to Otsego 12 ago. My wife and I built Superior Storage in St Michael 6 years ago. I work for a local asphalt and concrete company.

2. What is your biggest accomplishment in public life?

My biggest public accomplishment is developing Superior Storage. The property was a former propane filling station and storage area for empty 500 gallon propane tanks. I worked with the planning commission and city council of the City of St Michael to rezone and improve the property into a facility that is well maintained and proudly family owned and operated. We provide a service to the residents of St Michael while maintaining a clean, great looking facility.

3. What prompted you to run for Otsego City Council?

I decided to run for city council because I have watched my property taxes consistently increase while seeing services like fire stations and better roads lag far behind. As a small business owner I have noticed very few of them open and thrive during the last 12 years. These businesses serve as the life blood of strong communities and the development of them need to be supported by the council and city staff.

4. What are your top three priorities if you are elected?

My top priorities if elected would be 1. Develop an environment that potential new or expanding small businesses look to Otsego as the best city to start and grow. 2. Control spending to keep taxes low so families and businesses choose Otsego.  3. Make sure we are providing clean, safe streets for all tax payers.

5. What decision of the Otsego City Council have you liked most and why? What decision of the Otsego City Council have you liked least and why?

The decision I liked most that the city council made was to approve the land on Highway 101 for a Kwik Trip. I know it was met with resistance but looking at the property and how busy it is, the council made the correct choice. The location looks great, is well maintained and serves many local residents. The biggest disappointment was not looking to develop our own fire department. Money was spent to show the need for it and the information was completely ignored.

6. How would you rate the level of collaboration and partnership with the Elk River Area School District and or Wright County? What do you see as opportunities for increased collaboration between either of the two or both?

I really like the level of cooperation between the City of Otsego and Elk River Schools. I believe there are numerous costs that come with running a school district that can be shared between our cities to help keep taxes down. It is also great to see the Wright County Sheriff’s office patrolling our city. I believe they are run correctly and have a great reputation across Minnesota. Further opportunities to increase collaboration should be examined when the need arises.

7. What experience do you have working with large budgets? What would be your approach to budgeting for the city? What city services would you consider reducing to balance a budget or cover new expenditures deemed necessary or important?

As the owner of a small business I wore many hats during that time. I served as the unofficial general contractor. I coordinated the building expenses from start to finish.  I was also an area manager for the largest moving company in America and was responsible for up to 32 locations. If city services need to be reduced to balance a budget I would start with expansion or parks and trails. While I believe they are vital to our city, they are a want not a need.

8. What do you see as the most significant changes to Otsego in the last 10 years, and what do you hope could be said about Otsego in another 10 years?

The most significant change I have seen in the last 10 years is the number of single family homes that have been built.  The increase in tax base is great, but the vital services have not followed suit. The biggest change I would like to see is the development of small businesses to reduce strain on individuals paying taxes in our city.

Load comments