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Toby Pierce vs Jeanette Baymler and Gillette Kempf for Wadena City Council

Wadena City Council

Toby Pierce


Business owner, insurance and securities

Relevant education and experience:

City council: 10 years

Wadena Development Authority (WDA): 10 years

Wadena Housing & Redevelopment Authority (WHRA): 14 years

1. Wadena survived a devastating tornado on June 17. What would you like to see done from here to rebuild the city (please give specifics):

Much has already been done and is ongoing. For example:

A. The Long Term Recovery Committee

B. The 2.0 Committee

C. Trees for Wadena Committee

D. Minnesota Design Team

E. Lobbying efforts have recently been completed and successful to obtain a grant in the amount of $750,000 to plan a new Community Center.

F. We also still have available all of our usual assistance programs thru WDA and WHRA.

2. It looks increasingly likely that city governments will continue to be squeezed by lower Local Government Aid from the state. If that turns out to be correct, would you rather raise property taxes, cut spending, or a combination of both. Please give concrete examples of how you'd prefer to deal with this problem.

Local Government Aid usually accounts for 50-55 percent of our general budget. Therefore, any cuts in LGA can impact us dramatically. Beginning 7-1-11 at minimum the state will be facing a $5.8 billion shortage. The easy cuts have already been done in the city budget over the past 2 years.

The problem can also be timing. We don't always know when we prepare our budget the amount that is being cut. Future cuts could be in street overlays, planning for SE infrastructure, capital spending, etc.

3. What should the city be prepared to do to help people and businesses who have been displaced by the tornado remain in town?

A. The city has applied for a Small Cities Grant and will know in November if we will receive the grant; this is just for residential aid.

B. Continue to use existing programs available thru WDA and WHRA.

C. Apply for any other grant opportunities that arise.

D. The city has been aggressive in pursuing assistance for businesses that have been displaced; including jobs, federal and state grants, and low interest loans. The city is working with the Initiative Foundation and the State of Minnesota to provide a special fix-up loan program to assist all businesses affected by the F4 tornado.

4. Aside from tornado relief and budget challenges, what is one other initiative you'd like to push for if elected Nov. 2?

To silence the trains; it can be done now but the cost is prohibitive. There may be some other way to do it.