On Saturday, November 13, the fourth Coffee with the Mayor series event took place at Coborn’s Deli in Big Lake. The event gives Big Lake residents an opportunity to have an open conversation with the Mayor about the city happenings and enjoy free coffee.

Paul Knier was elected Big Lake Mayor during the 2020 General Election and has been serving as Mayor of Big Lake since the beginning of 2021. Previously, he served as Big Lake City Council Member for two years.

Knier grew up in Clear Lake and got his college degree from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. He started a financial advisory business directly upon graduation in 1992. Since then, he’s been growing his business for the past 29 years and currently manages over $200 million for clients around central Minnesota.

At the Coffee with the Mayor events a wide variety of topics are discussed. The residents set the agenda by opening it up to whatever is on their mind. Common topics include street projects, as well as residential and business developments. 

Topics that were discussed at last Saturday’s event include the government’s protection of freedoms and individual liberties, as well as questions about schools. 

“Transparency is important to the citizens of Big Lake,” said Knier. “I want to give everyone an opportunity to meet face to face and to share what’s on their mind. These events allow for that as well as fostering a relationship between the citizens and their Mayor.” 

Big Lake operates with the weak-mayor system, which means the Mayor’s vote holds the same weight as that of each of the other four city council members. 

There are, however, some responsibilities that are unique to the Mayor’s position. These include but are not limited to running the meetings, casting a vision for the community, helping to set the agenda, and being the “face” of the community at various events across the city.

When Knier ran for office, he promised several things to the citizens of Big Lake including decreasing the city’s debt, providing transparency through filling open council seats through elections and fostering business growth for the city. He has also made it a priority to protect the citizens’ rights by keeping the government off their backs.

“Big Lake is continuing the process of getting on better financial footing,” mentioned Knier. “Whether you are an individual, a family, a business, or a city, you’re in a much stronger position when you’re not swamped with high debt. Our long-term goal is to be able to avoid paying interest on things like street projects. This mindset will become increasingly beneficial if interest rates rise, as many expect they will. I’m enthusiastic about saving the taxpayers a good amount of money.”

Coffee with the Mayor will take place January 8 from 9-10 am. The series takes place every other month on the second Saturday.

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