In Medina, incumbent Mayor Kathleen Martin is seeking a repeat two-year term. She is unopposed on the ballot.

Four candidates are competing for two City Council seats that carry four-year terms. The candidates are former City Councilor Joseph Cavanaugh, Planning Commissioners Peter Galzki and Robin Reid and newcomer Stacia Whelan.

The candidates were asked to include their thoughts in statements. Each were asked to include a short biography of themselves and their backgrounds as well as their personal and professional experiences. They were also asked to comment on two questions that were asked. (See questions belows in each statement).

The responses received include:

MAYOR

KATHLEEN MARTIN

Biography -

Address-  440 Pheasant Ridge Road, Medina

Education -  J.D., University of Minnesota, 1981

Occupation -  Commercial real estate attorney

Community Involvement - Mayor of Medina, 2018 – present.City Council Member, 2013 – 2018.Chair of Medina’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, which culminated in a plan that significantly reduced planned residential growth in the city.

Answers to questions -

What adjustments, if any, should be made to the city’s budget?  

We have infused flexibility into our budgeting process so that if, for any reason, we need to make adjustments due to unanticipated expenses or revenue shortfalls we will be able to do so with minimal disruption to delivery of critical services to our residents.  

What are your plans for city taxes for residents?

During the past several months, the City Council has spent numerous hours analyzing the city’s current and prospective 2021 budget, and challenging presumptions on which the past, current and future budgets are based. In light of the significant impact the COVID-19 pandemic could have on our expenditures and/or our revenues, we have strived to create a 2021 budget that keeps the City financially nimble while continuing to provide high-quality service to our residents, to invest in our infrastructure and to find the means to absorb expenses over which we have no control.

On September 1, 2021, the City Council approved the preliminary 2021 city budget, which calls for no increase in the City’s property tax rate and seeks to maintain the quality of service residents of Medina have come to expect from City Hall. The final 2021 budget will be acted upon at our Dec. 1 Council meeting.  

 

CITY COUNCIL

JOE CAVANAUGH

Biography -

Education - BA in Accounting, St. Johns University

Occupation -- Owner of medical device company

Community involvement - Former Medina City Councilor. Created community garden for residents to have outdoor opportunities during COVID. Board Member of Wealshire Memory Care Facility in Medina/ Bloomington. Involved in alumni initiatives at St. John’s University. Member of Holy Name Church in Medina

Answers to questions -

What adjustments should be made to the city budget?

Our city has traditionally done an excellent job of keeping a lean city budget. But COVID has us all trying to look around the corner to monitor and adjust to the new environments we are facing.

City budgets will be stressed on both the revenue and expense sides. Clear thinking and the ability to prioritize spending and build consensus will be critical. I will utilize my 25 years of business experience to help maintain the city’s financial health and keep our property taxes low.

I will ensure that we are fully utilizing outside grants and matching funds. There are a number of programs the city can apply for to help fund initiatives like parks, trails and maintaining water quality. I would ensure we are pursuing these funds with in house resources or through third party consultants. Having access to these funds can help the city with new initiatives while lessening the impact on property taxes.

I also will work to maintain our infrastructure through preventative maintenance programs as needed to avoid or delay costly capital improvement projects.  

What are your plans for city taxes?

They say only two things in life are certain - taxes being one of them. While taxes might be certain, my goal as a city councilor is to keep them as low as possible while still providing the best possible city services to our residents.

We currently are among the cities with the lowest tax levies. I will utilize my experience as a certified public accountant and as a business owner to ensure we are properly forecasting to maintain our strong financial position.  

PETER GALZKI

Biography -

Address -  413 Ridge View Circle, Medina, MN 55340

Education - Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Occupation -  Civil engineer

Community involvement - Served on Planning Commission since January 2019

Answers to questions -

What adjustments, if any, should be made to the city’s budget?  

I think that the current city council has laid out the best budget possible while dealing with the pandemic and civil unrest this year. Future forecasts show the city staying within that budget without having to raise taxes in the next year. This is important to residents.

What are your plans for city taxes for residents?

It is imperative that we don’t raise people’s taxes at this time. We need to find more ways to bring in new positive development to broaden our tax base, while both finding creative ways to balance the City’s budget and using public outreach and events to find community members who can help financially if necessary.

ROBIN REID

Biography

Address -- 2945 Ardmore Ave.

Education - BA in American Studies and MBA in Marketing.

Occupation - Retired after 30 years in marketing communications.

Community involvement - Medina Planning Commission member and Lake Independence Citizens Association Board member.

Answers to questions –

What adjustments, if any, should be made to the city’s budget?  

I believe the current Medina city budget strikes a good balance between expenses and taxes. I know the city staff and City Council spend a great deal of time each year evaluating every budget item and the result is a lean, tight budget. The city recently added a budget item for park maintenance, and I support this decision.

What are your plans for city taxes for residents?

If elected, I would encourage city staff to continue supplying cost-effective services for city residents. No one likes to pay taxes, but when there’s a need for additional funds for necessary projects such as road maintenance, I think citizens should be willing to pay a little bit more in taxes to support the high standards we expect. Our current tax rate is lower than most of our neighboring cities, and I think we should maintain that distinction

STACIA WHELAN

Address - 617 Aster Rd., Medina MN 55340

Education - Master of Science, Data Science, University of St. Thomas

Occupation - Sr. Data Steward, Best Buy Co. Inc.

Community involvement -  Fundraising/Program Committee Volunteer, Youth Frontiers. Mentor, Technovation

Answers to questions -

What adjustments should be made to the city’s budget?

I believe the Finance Director, along with the current City Council, has done a great job preparing the 2020 annual budget. I appreciate the Economic Development Housing addition to this year’s budget, although I believe it could be more aggressive. With the Met Council calculating the city of Medina’s share of the regional affordable housing requirement to be 244 total units over the next 10 years, our city will need to be innovative and strategic when it comes to providing opportunities for a diversity of housing.

What are your plans for city taxes for residents?

Medina has a high standard of living as a result of its economic health. It’s why my family chose to live here and what makes it attractive to businesses; from the availability of land along Highway 55, its location within the metropolitan area and its utility infrastructure. If elected, I will focus on Medina’s investment framework by maintaining a strong tax base through commercial and business developments along Highway 55.

I also understand that Medina has Tax Increment Financing funds available for infrastructure improvements in Uptown Hamel, but that redevelopment has been slow. I have walked Hamel Road with a local investor and see the potential that Uptown Hamel has, including improvements that support development of denser and more affordable housing.

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