In St. Michael, current Mayor Kevin Kasel has announced that he has accepted a job that will take him out of state, so he is not seeking re-election. Instead, residents will choose between two current city council members, Keith Wettschreck and Nadine Schoen, to select a new mayor to serve a two-year term.

In the City Council race, six candidates are vying for two seats. Winners will serve four-year terms. The candidates are Troy Elie, Cody Gulick, incumbent Joe Hagerty, Tom Hamilton, Sara Murto and Greg Zahler.

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

NADINE SCHOEN

I am long time resident of St. Michael and have been married for 26 years while being a mother of three children. I also have owned a local business for 30 years.

I am serving my 10th year on the St. Michael City Council. I have been appointed to over 10 advisory boards as a council member. They include Economic Development, Planning and Zoning, Trailblazer Transit, Shop Saint Michael, FYCC Family Youth Community Connection and Joint Powers. I also am a member of National Federated Independent Businesses.

As a local leader, I have demonstrated genuine concern and interest for our city by implementing, maintaining, and communicating actions while having our residents and businesses best interest as my primary goal. The experience gained by the positions held on council and various boards have given me a unique and broad perspective on challenges and opportunities that have been in front of St. Michael. These include highway expansion projects, school bonds, new growth and development.

I will continue to interact with the county, the state, and the federal levels to keep our community goals their first priority. It would be an honor and a privilege to serve our city as mayor.

 KEITH WETTSCHRECK

Biography -

Address - 1986 Laquey Avenue NE, St. Michael MN, 55376

Education - Masters – National Security Affairs

Occupation - Northrop Grumman Program Manager

Community Involvement - City Council member, St. Michael Catholic Church usher, American Legion, Knights of Columbus

Contact – 763 – 202 - 0468 (voice and text)

Answers to questions -

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

I don’t think any adjustments should be made to the city’s 2021 budget. I have been a council member for four years and every year the City Council, in conjunction with the city staff, conducts a thorough review of the current budget in preparation for next year’s budget.  This year the process started in July for 2021.  

Our focus and priority has always been to maintain a low tax rate while properly funding infrastructure and equipment, supporting an outstanding staff and reducing the city’s debt. The aforementioned review consists of comparing actuals to date to budget and anticipating future needs. Of particular importance to me is maintaining the outstanding services that St. Michael residents expect and deserve, ensuring that we have a realistic capital replacement plan that looks at least 10 years into the future, treating our staff well and reducing the city’s debt. The 2021 budget has been reviewed and the Council and Staff believe it will meet the needs of St. Michael while supporting the above goals and maintaining one of the lowest city tax rates in Wright County.

What are your plans for city taxes for residents?

It is important to note that property taxes not only support the City but also the County and School District. In 2020 the property tax for an average St. Michael home value of $295,400 was $4,102 with the School District receiving $1,769 (43%), the County receiving $1,265 (31%) and the City receiving the least amount at $1,068 (26%). St. Michael is largely residential and tax increases are particularly hard on homeowners – especially those on fixed incomes. While striving to keep taxes low, we need to continue to explore ideas that will encourage industrial and commercial businesses to come to St. Michael to provide jobs, services and tax revenue.

CITY COUNCIL

CODY GULICK

Biography -

Address - 919 Welter RD SE, Saint Michael.

Education - Saint Cloud State University Bachelor of Arts History Major

Occupation - Small business owner

Community involvement - Political activist; marches, rallies, protests for liberty, justice and prosperity

Answers to questions -

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

The first thing I will do, when elected in January, is to propose and lobby for a top city goal to direct staff to keep the budget down. Focusing on funding the needs of the city only. Then when we vote on the budget at the end of the year, only fund the needed budgeted items and not fund the items staff considers as optional. The first two years I was on the council, with the makeup of the council, we successfully accomplished this and kept city taxes flat.

What are your plans for city taxes for residents?

The city of Saint Michael is going on four years straight of city tax increases. When elected, I will put an end to city tax increases by controlling the budget. Bring back a focus of needs based budgeting that would provide Saint Michael with high quality services at a low cost. With growth and fiscal discipline, there should be no reason to raise taxes every year.

 JOE HAGERTY

Biography –

Contact information and address - P.O. Box 45  11151 32nd St. NE, St. Michael.

Education - Graduate of St. Cloud State University.

Occupation - Retired from a public safety career in Wright County. Currently employed by STMA school district as a paraprofessional.

Community involvement - I serve on the St. Michael City Council and have for many years. I’ve served our community since 1985 as a member of the Wright County Sheriff’s Office. I continue to be involved with STMA Community Ed youth programs, FYCC reading programs and am a football and baseball coach.

Answers to questions –

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

I’ve been involved in the city budget process working as a team member with other council members and staff for 14 years. Emphasis has been on continuing to provide quality, efficient, cost effective service to St Michael residents while maintaining our infrastructure, paying down debt and maintaining a high credit rating.  

What are your plans for city taxes for residents?

Continue to provide quality services while being fiscally responsible with tax payers’ dollars.  

I have served on the council for several years and enjoy being involved with decisions affecting our city. I am very proud of our dedicated staff and city officials, both elected and appointed. St. Michael continues to attract great families and businesses that locate here to enjoy quality public safety services, tremendous schools and many recreational and social opportunities for children, adults and seniors.

TOM HAMILTON

Biography -

Address - 12810 45th Circle NE, St. Michael, MN 55376

Education - MBA - Finance

Occupation - Global Leader – Finance, Planning & Analysis for nVent

Community involvement - City Council Member 2018, Planning & Zoning Commissioner 2009 - 2020, coach of more than 50 STMA youth athletic teams

Answers to questions -

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

We are fortunate to live in a city with an amazing public works department and resident services. City staff is responsive, thoughtful and thorough in the work that they do. Our city is clean, safe and a desirable place to live. While maintaining this excellence and providing for safety of residents, the city should operate under a balanced budget and limit bonding and borrowing to fund expanding services. I would like to see the city reduce its debt within our currently generated revenue and through efficiencies created by continued growth.

What are your plans for city taxes for residents?  

In the current challenging environment, this is not the time to be increasing tax burdens on our existing residents and businesses. Many businesses and families have been forced to find ways to live on reduced income. The city should work hard to prevent an additional burden being placed on residents at this time.  

We are fortunate to have continued growth, both with new businesses and new residential development. Any necessary expansion of services should be funded through this growth. As property values continue to increase significantly, we should expect a reduction in tax rates due to this increase in value as well as added efficiencies resulting from expanded development. I will partner with the city to find ways to hold existing city tax rates down while prioritizing the safety and security of our existing residents and businesses.

 

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