Address: 15243 81st Court NE, Otsego, MN 55330
Family: Husband, Jim. Children Logan, Lilly and Lindsey.
Education: Occupational Therapy Degree
1. Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications.
I’ve been involved in our community since 2001 in a City capacity and with organizations serving to benefit residents of Otsego:
•Mayor of Otsego (2008-current)
•City Councilmember (2004-2008)
•City Advisory Commission Liaison:
•Park & Recreation (2004-current)
•Public Safety (2006-current)
•Historic Preservation (2004-2018)
•Albertville-Otsego Fire Service Committee (2018-current)
•ISD 728 Strategic Planning Committees
•MnDOT Transportation Planning Committees (2018-current)
•Parks and Recreation Commissioner (2001-2004)
•Otsego Lions member
•Gifts Anonymous- President
I am the most experienced candidate for Otsego Mayor and I am dedicated to serving our community. I would appreciate your vote!
2. What is your biggest accomplishment in public life?
Parks have been my #1 priority since moving to Otsego in 2001. As a Park Commissioner, City Council member and Mayor, Otsego has built 14 parks and added over 75 miles of trails, built the splash pad, dog parks, and Mississippi river improvements. Our parks and trails are what many people tell me they love most about Otsego which gives us all something to be very proud of!
3. What is your vision for the city of Otsego? How would you describe your leadership style?
Otsego is a community to LIVE, WORK & PLAY. We continue adding beautiful neighborhoods and more businesses (+30 businesses since I was first elected). I’ll work for more new business for shopping, jobs and to offset property tax burdens for residents. I want residents to contact me and love meeting people at our events. I’m an active leader attending not just City Council but most committee meetings, all of our community events and belong to many community organizations. I believe putting the right people in correct roles empowering them with the right skills and technology will move Otsego forward.
4. What are your top three priorities if you are elected?
First, open new businesses to bring shopping, restaurants, services, jobs and to reduce property taxes on homeowners while continuing to add new single family neighborhoods. Second, plan for construction and opening the Otsego Fire Station and continue to work with the Wright County Sheriff to prevent crime by adding patrol hours as needed. Third, continue to expand our parks and trails by building new parks, constructing new trails for connections and loops, adding amenities to existing parks, and providing more recreation programing for toddlers to seniors.
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?
My effort to begin annual strategic planning for City Council and all city staff together as one team on goals, priorities and measurable results for serving Otsego is a decision that benefits the community in ways not always seen. The most difficult decisions are for developments. State law regulates development and mandates how the application process works. Councilmembers are limited in what we can legally say/do outside this process making interaction hard with residents. I’ve worked to improve this, asking developers to hold neighborhood meetings to make information available before the formal City review meetings.
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?
Otsego has a high level of collaboration with both! I’ve served on committees for ISD-728 (most recently for Prairie View Elementary-Middle School) and I’ve met with ISD-728 officials to discuss partnerships for sharing fields at the new Otsego Middle School. We also communicate with Kaleidoscope Charter School, STMA and Monticello School Districts that Otsego residents attend. I attend the Public Safety Commission meetings monthly and I talk to Sheriff Derringer regularly to ensure patrol services meet Otsego’s needs. Otsego partnered with Wright County to complete major county road projects for the safety of our residents.
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?
I have worked with budgeting for years as a small business owner and since being elected a Councilmember and Mayor. I am very fiscally conservative and understand balancing keeping property taxes low while meeting service needs as these decisions directly impact residents. I served as Mayor during the Great Recession so I have experienced how the City must make cuts when necessary. Every year I ask staff to bring recommendations for budget cuts that could be made if needed so that we are being as fiscally responsible as we can with the budget even as services increase.
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?
Otsego emerged from the Great Recession in good financial condition and saw a return of development for new neighborhoods, senior housing, along with businesses. Commercial and industrial growth in particular has continued to grow along our major road corridors. As Mayor I want to move forward with our goals of adding new houses and businesses, providing excellent services and infrastructure, expanding parks and trails, adding new schools (including an Otsego High School in ISD 728), providing a safe community together with the Wright County Sheriff and by building an Otsego Fire Station, while maintaining a conservative financial plan.