My City Council Work Plan

City Administrator
The first order of business is to get a new City Administrator hired, in place and up to speed in the operations of North Mankato. If a person is selected by January 1, then the City Council needs to assist the new City Administrator with policy guidance.

Long Term Financial Plan
Develop a Long Term Financial Plan for the City.

Collaboration
Improve the collaborative efforts with our community neighbors.

Are we competitive in the neighborhood???
“How do we compare to our neighbors and peers as a place to live?” Measurable numbers should reveal a ranking and actual cost of living within North Mankato. The assumption in the past was that North Mankato provided an excellent value and quality service to its citizens. Have we lost that edge and if so, “How do we get it back”?

What is the Focus of our City???
Do we continue the ways of the past or do we explore new directions of the City Process, economic growth and Cultural expectations of North Mankato’s Citizens.
Tom

What do you see as some of the challenges and/or opportunities facing North Mankato???

City Administrator
The first order of business is to get a new City Administrator hired, in place and up to speed in the operations of North Mankato. Our past history of City Administrators has been long-term tenure. There are big shoes to fill in this position. The selection process needs to be diligent and thorough, till we find the proper person for the job. If this person is selected by January 1, then the City Council needs to assist the new City Administrator with policy guidance.

Financial Planning
Development of a Long Term Financial Plan is a necessary goal for the future of the city. This will provide an analysis of what funding and bonding mechanisms are in place, with consideration of next 5 years of budget expectations and their effects on future levies.
Things may have been easier in the past, that is, the 2000’s provided exceptional growth in housing and industry. This resulted in an increasing tax base and increased revenues to do the projects in the City without adverse effect on constituents. Now that the tax base has shrunk, LGA has been reduced and growth has stagnated. Resulting in a perfect storm on the tax levy. The net effect is, now the constituents are going to pay for some past decisions, whether good or bad.

Collaboration
First of all, North Mankato will always retain its autonomy.
I have started to explore the past relationships between North Mankato and other entities. This has included discussions with various people on this collaboration issue. Everyone has been receptive to this. The interested parties have provided a litany of ideas which are worth investigating. Water, waste collection, EDA…
We need to continue to explore collaboration of shared services for the economic benefit and well-being of the citizens.
Two years ago the intergovernmental committee was broadened to explore more opportunities between Mankato and North Mankato. This needs to be continued.

Are we competitive in the neighborhood???
How do we compare to our neighbors and peers as a place to live?” Measurable numbers should reveal a ranking and actual cost of living within North Mankato vs neighboring communities. The assumption in the past was that North Mankato provided an excellent value and quality of service to its citizens. I do not think this is true today. Have we lost that edge and if so, “How do we get it back”?

What is the Focus of our City???
Do we continue the ways of the past or do we explore new directions of the City Process, Economic Growth and Cultural Expectations of North Mankato’s Citizens.
Tom

What experience do you have for this position???

I have been involved in a management/leadership position since 1978.
Outside of work I have had the opportunity to lead and participate in numerous other organizations. This has given me the opportunity to work through difficult issues over the years. Please review my Resume for further information.
This experience should be of benefit to the Citizens, as a City Councilperson in North Mankato.
Tom

Why am I running for City Council???

I have seen a lot of changes in North Mankato over my 58 years. Every decade has brought significant changes to this community and its citizens. This has given me an overall perspective of where the community has been, where we are now, and where we need to be in the future.
North Mankato is at a pivotal point in its history and my perspective is that, now is the time to be a part of that.
Tom

North Mankato Candidate Forum

The North Mankato Candidate Forum was held on Wednesday October 10th.
Thank You to the Greater Mankato Growth for sponsoring this event. The forum was well attended and lively. Tom
The Mankato Free Press published an article on the 11th as follows:

MANKATO FREE PRESS 2012/10/11
By Brian Ojanpa bojanpa@mankatofreepress.com

Generally, North Mankato forum finds
CONSENSUS
Curbside pickup is popular with all candidates


Photos by Pat Christman
North Mankato City Council candidate Tom Rieff (center) speaks during a candidate forum Wednesday at South Central College.

Office-seekers at the North Mankato City Council candidates forum Wednesday were in unanimous agreement that one of the city’s most popular amenities — annual curbside pickup of people’s junk — is a darn good thing that should continue despite the costs to the city.
Actually, consensus agreement was the rule of the evening on most of the issues raised at the Greater Mankato Growth/League of Women Voters forum at South Central College.
Mayor Dave Dehen, who is running unopposed, was joined by five of the candidates running for two at-large council seats.
Present were incumbent Billy Steiner, former councillor Kenny DeWitte, repeat candidate Kim Spears and first-time office-seekers Tom Rieff and Kurt Richardson. A sixth candidate, Peter Wachtel, was not present.
The forum format called for each candidate to answer a series of prepared questions.
To a query asking candidates what the city’s strategic plan for the future should be and what is their top priority, Richardson led off with a short but impassioned call for rapid safety improvements to accident- prone Highway 14, which claimed the life of his son.
“I want to see Highway 14 widened before too many more lives are lost there — the sooner the better,” he said.
Rieff said the city needs to develop a long-term financial plan in light of ongoing cuts in state aid. He also looks to further collaboration with other local government entities.
“What is the focus of the city? Where have we been and where are we going to go?” Rieff said.
Spears concurred: “Who are we? Are we a bedroom community or are we another Mankato?”
Steiner, running for his fifth term, noted that the city already has a strategic plan in place — its capital improvement plan. DeWitte cautioned that “we need to start focusing on where we’re going with our taxes” in view of the city’s growing number of retirees.
Another question, regarding the city’s renewed search for a new city administrator after eschewing the first batch of finalists, brought these responses: Rieff: “If someone isn’t viable after the second search I’d suggest hiring a headhunter because this is a job not to be taken lightly.”
DeWitte and Spears said the entire council rather than a couple of council members should be involved in the interview process.
To the question “what do you feel about the increased economic cooperation between North Mankato and Mankato?” all candidates favored full speed ahead, with Rieff taking that sentiment a step further.
“I think we’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg in some of the things that can be done,” he said, suggesting that the cities should also look into joint refuse and utilities ventures.


Lynn Solo, of the St. Peter Area League of Women Voters, sorts through questions from the audience during a North Mankato City Council can­didate forum Wednesday at South Central College.

Another question focused on the city’s economic development panel of non-elected officials, the North Mankato Port Authority. To wit: “How do you feel about the Port Authority and the money spent to improve the 200 block of Belgrade Avenue?”
DeWitte, Steiner and Richardson lauded the panel’s efforts in economic development. Said Steiner, “When bond people come down from the Cities they’re amazed as to the growth that’s gone on here. ”Rieff suggested looking into the feasibility of a joint
economic development authority involving North Mankato and Mankato, though he acknowledged that dismantling the Port Authority might be an “insurmountable task.”
Spears, a frequent critic of the Port Authority, suggested that it overreaches by enabling some people to open businesses even though they have no business experience.
Copyright 2012 Mankato Free Press

NM City Council GMG Questionaire Now Online

Greater Mankato Growth asked the North Mankato City Council Candidates to submit Biographical Information and answer a series of questions. The link to their website is… http://www.greatermankato.com/candidates/23 Click the check box to review and compare information. Click on Bio for the Biographical Information of each candidate and myself.  If you wish to see my resume, click on the  “About Me” tab at the top or the following link… Tom Rieff’s Resume

For all of Greater Mankato Growth‘s Election Information review the complete web page at http://www.greatermankato.com/2012-greater-mankato-elections

Remember to vote on November 6th. Tom