Incumbents Linda Betts and Brad Spencer are seeking re-election to their seats on the Independence City Council during Tuesday, Nov. 5 city elections.
Betts and Spencer are running unopposed for four-year terms. However, voters can write in names of other candidates if they prefer. Other Independence City Councilors are Norm Wenck, Brad Fisher and Mayor Marvin Johnson.
Independence City Hall, 1920 County Road 90, will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for voting on Nov. 5.
Independence residents may cast absentee ballots if they are unable to vote in person on election day because they are absent from the precinct, ill or have a disability, observing a religious discipline or religious holiday, serving as an election judge in another precinct or prevented by an eligible emergency declared by the governor or quarantine declared by federal or state government.
City hall will be open extended hours for absentee voting from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 4. Anyone who is unable to vote in person at City Hall can complete an absentee ballot application and fax it to the city of Independence at 763-479-0528 or bring it to City Hall. Applications for absentee ballots are available on the Independence city website at www.independence.govoffice.com. Click on “elections.”
For people who are in the military or residing overseas, there is a different process for applying and voting by absentee ballot. Visit the Hennepin County website for more information.
This newspaper asked both council candidates for autobiographical information. They also provided statements describing what they think are the top issues for Independence and their visions for the city’s future. The two candidates were asked to limit their autobiographies to 100 words and their statements to 400 words.
Here is what Betts and Spencer had to say.
I have lived in Independence since 1963. I attended Mound High School, worked for Cargill in Wayzata for five years, attended Augsburg College one year, then worked as an office manager of a Certified Public Account firm, Moen & Penttila, in St. Louis Park for several years. George Betts and I married. I attended Concordia College, St. Paul and we raised two sons, Graydon and Nathan. From 1966 to present, I have taught piano, directed church choirs and been pianist for church services. I served on the Independence Park Board for several years and then the city council since 2002.
Independence is a special place in which to live. Many people have been here for a few generations. The need to maintain open spaces seems dear to the hearts of our citizens. It can be a balancing act to allow growth without losing the flavor and style of a rural and agricultural community. The comprehensive plan in place is a reflection of the desire to preserve this vision of careful growth.
The fiscal responsibility the city and council have shown should continue in these uncertain times. As the economy improves, it might be that the city will be able to go beyond the essential needs and services that are met now and pursue amenities such as trail systems where growth shows a need and opportunity for them.
A strong police and fire department are essential to any community, and we have both of these that we share successfully with the neighboring city of Maple Plain. We also are served by Delano and Loretto fire departments. This is an example of sharing services and carefully using monetary resources that help both communities. Looking ahead, there might be more opportunities for cities to share in other ways to serve more efficiently and effectively while saving monies.
Resident input on issues is important and welcomed. My desire is to continue to represent you and your views as your elected city council member.
Age 53. Independence resident since 1997. Married 15 years to Lisa (Engebretson). Children, Derek and Jordan.
Bachelor of Arts Degree in business and psychology, Gustavus Adolphus College 1982.
Vice President – Financial Consultant for RBC Wealth Management (formerly Dain Bosworth Inc.) since 1986.
Independence City Council member, January, 2010 to present. Independence Planning Commissioner, January 2003 to March 2009, Planning Commission chair, January 2008 to March 2009.
Lake Sarah Improvement Association treasurer 1997-2001, membership director 2003-2007. Volunteer webmaster www.lakesarah.com community website 2001 to present. Volunteer webmaster www.delanosportsmensclub.com website 2008 to present.
Delano Boy Scout leader since 2006, currently Troop 273 treasurer, Troop Committee member.
Our city is facing many challenges. Property values are down, state aid to cities is gone and cost-cutting proposals are threatening core city services.
Public safety is a core city service that cannot be compromised. I strongly support our police and fire departments.
I will promote tax relief through responsible spending and searching for new revenue sources. I will work to reduce waste, renegotiate contracts and achieve compromise rather than cut essential services. I will explore opportunities for savings through expansion of our relationships with neighboring cities.
I support well-planned community development. We need to determine what we want our city to be in 20, 30 or 50 years, and then begin laying the foundation for that to become a reality. I am against spot zoning and haphazard development. I support more affordable housing in our city.
I believe in reasoned decision-making based on facts. I insist that city decisions be made in the public forum with proper notice to residents, not in private meetings behind closed doors.
I am a respectful person who tries to be as prepared and informed as possible when I participate in public discussion. I am always willing to listen to divergent opinions.
I am an advocate for improvement and preservation of our natural resources and will work to make our city a better place for future generations. I strongly support our local lake associations and the Pioneer Sarah Creek Watershed Management Commission in their work toward water quality improvement and implementation of the Lake Independence and Lake Sarah total maximum daily load plans.
I have served our community over the past decade as a scout leader, director on the Lake Sarah Improvement Association board, city Planning Commission chair, elected city council member and volunteer. I would like to continue to serve our city as your council member.
Compiled by Susan Van Cleaf. (firstname.lastname@example.org)