COL Voters' choice is simple: City grows or regresses
By Denny Hanson
Nov. 2 is an important date for the citizens of Rochester. On that date you will have the opportunity to pick your next city council president. I would like to be the person you choose.
I have served on the council for the last 51⁄2; years and I am ready for the next step. Before you cast your ballot, you need to know the sharp differences in experience, opinions and value systems that separate me and my opponent.
I have been criticized for my association with the development community. I do not apologize to anyone for my employment at Kruse Lumber. My job is to help our customers respond to the demands for a growing community. Common economic knowledge dictates that a community, state, or nation grows its economy or it slides back into a recession.
I will not let Rochester become another Duluth. As Rochester grows, so does our tax base and the opportunity for jobs. The development industry does not create the growth demand. We grow because of the kind of city we are and because of the quality of our employers.
As developers respond to the growth demand, increased opportunities develop for our building trades, landscapers, architects, interior designers, furniture stores, appliance stores, lighting stores, realtors, financial Institutions, legal professionals, and many more. As these industries prosper and grow, our standard of living rises and the citizens spend their hard-earned dollars with auto dealers, retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and more.
My opponent doesn't seem to understand that. Rather, he prefers to attack an entire industry that is responding to the needs of our growing community. We deserve better.
As we approach 2005, Rochester faces a significant funding challenge. The state has cut our local government aid by several million dollars. More funding cuts will be coming as the state formula for local aid gives more money to the communities they deem need the aid, where a community like ours receives less.
Under the current leadership, Rochester is on the verge of a 27 percent tax increase. I cannot accept this course of action to offset the state-aid reduction. We need to look at how the city organization is run and ask the tough questions about how we can continue our quality of life, and yet make the tough decisions about what can be done to streamline government.
I will insist on a review of department budget requests, a review of consolidation opportunities with other local government entities, and a review of duplicate services. I will not, however, compromise adequate funding for our police and fire services.
When it comes to spending your tax dollars, I am a conservative guy. I believe in our free enterprise system and that meaningful job creation for our citizens is one of the most important roles of local government. The time is now to make a difference and be part of the process. I ask for your vote on Nov. 2.
Denny Hanson is a candidate for the at-large (council president) seat on the Rochester City Council.