Candidate Profilles:Carlton City councilCarlton City council (Two seats) Wes Vork • Leola Rodd
Question 1: How does your past experience, job or education qualify you to serve on the Carlton City Council?
Question 2: What are the top three issues facing the city right now and how should they be addressed?
Question 3: Other than finding greater efficiencies, what areas would you look to trim first if there are unexpected budget deficits (for example, should the state choose to further cut Local Government Aid)?
Having spent a great deal of my life in retail, I have come to understand that the customer and taking care of the customers’ needs are number one. City government is no different: the residents and constituents are our customers and there is nothing more important than listening to and addressing their needs. After seeing how our residents reacted to and worked together when we were substantially challenged by the flood, I was – and remain – honored to represent the good folks of Carlton.
The main issues facing the city are recovering from the flood and water bills. While the city is back to normal from the flood on the surface, lots of infrastructure issues remain. We are working hard to address these issues and make sure we secure as much federal help as possible to take as much of the burden off local taxpayers as we can.
Water and sewer prices are a substantial issue for our residents. While some progress has been made, there are still things that can and need to be done to try to get these in line with other cities and areas.
The best thing to do is to be fiscally responsible and pro-active in this area rather than simply reacting. We have done things over the past three years that helped build a capital improvement fund which can be drawn on to help balance the budget in the event of cuts to local government aid without affecting the city’s overall fund balance. We’ve taken steps to get city staffing in line with other cities our size plus smaller line item changes to the budget add up. We have been able to have very modest increases in the city tax levy over the past three years while maintaining the level of service our residents have come to expect.
I have been involved as a contributing citizen of Carlton for over 40 years, on the Carlton Hockey Association for 29 years and on the Board for over 20 years and with the committees for Carlton Daze, Carlton Community Christmas Celebration and Carlton Winterfest.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Home Economics and Communications from the College of St. Scholastica, and a licensure for a community education director from St. Cloud State. I was the community education director and taught Home Economics in the Carlton School District for 17 years. I have served Carlton for nine years as a council member and mayor.
I think the biggest challenge is maintaining a balanced budget and still providing services to the taxpayers. In the past we have had to make some difficult decisions to balance the budget, and will continue to monitor it and do the best job we can for the citizens of Carlton.
Another challenge for our community is encouraging businesses to locate in Carlton. We must continue to promote the positive aspects of Carlton and work with new businesses in their process of locating in our city.
Another issue for our community is continuing to repair streets, sewer pipes and other maintenance since the flood in June. The city administration, public works and fire department have been doing an excellent job of repairing and maintaining the infrastructure of Carlton.
Over the last 4-5 years we have anticipated that additional cuts could possibly occur and have taken steps to cut back. We no longer have a night watchman, fire chief or a part time person in our city offices and have cut hours for our part time public works person. We have looked at our levy and tried to keep it as consistent as possible so we don’t face any big jumps.