There is one candidate running for mayor and three candidates running for two City Council seats in the city of Cleveland.
The mayoral candidate is Don McCabe. The council candidates are Glenn Beer, Scott Bucholtz and Mark Hintgen. The Le Sueur County News asked the candidates where they stand on some important local topics and issues, and their responses are recorded here. Mark Hintgen did not respond to the questionnaire by the deadline for this article.
Why are you running?
Don McCabe (mayoral candidate): To give back to the community.
Glenn Beer (council candidate): I have pride in my community. I was born and raised in Cleveland. My knowledge and experience working 40-plus years as the licensed water/wastewater operator for the city of Cleveland will be valuable. I have also retired from 40+ years of service on the Cleveland Fire/Rescue Squad. Even though I am now retired, I still want to be involved and promote Cleveland.
Scott Bucholtz (council candidate): I am relatively new to Cleveland, having moved from the Twin Cities in December 2018. I have been extremely grateful for the warm welcome I received from everyone, and I want to give something back to the community. I have been employed at Bailiwick, which is headquartered in Chaska, for nearly 20 years. In various operational and managerial roles, I have played a key part in growing the company from 12 employees to 300-plus employees during my tenure. If selected for the council, I would strive to bring the same level of dedication, problem solving, and fiscal responsibility to my work for the city.
What do you consider to be the biggest issue facing the city and how would you address it in office?
McCabe: The cost of infrastucture. Need to find creative ways to finance and seek available grant funds.
Beer: Expansion and making sure infrastructure is in place, and opportunities are available for residential and commercial growth. I am experienced with municipal budgeting, and understand the need to have a long-term plan and different funding strategies.
Bucholtz: Like most cities, maintaining and improving infrastructure such as roads and sewers with limited budgets is a major challenge. The starting point is a detailed assessment of current infrastructure, and then sorting potential projects on a scale of need versus want. A cost / benefit analysis should be used to weight projects for overall impact to the community as a whole, so that members of the community benefit as equally as possible from the dollars being spent. Actively soliciting input from the community on potential projects is a key part in the collective decision making and is critical to success.
What long-term goals would you like to see accomplished in the city in the next 5-10 years? What is the path to make that happen?
McCabe: Continued growth. We need more housing to support our new school addition. We need a new housing development so folks have a place to be able to move into our community.
Beer: Steady growth with no or minimal tax increases.
Bucholtz: First, maintaining and upgrading the downtown area is important to keep the city thriving. The Muni is a key source of non-tax based revenue for the city, and some minor investments there can help foster growth. I had the opportunity to sponsor live music at the Muni in August 2019, and it drew patrons from the twin cities, Alexandria, and many other places. Capitalizing on that success, we can encourage more visitors and draw revenue into the city. Second, finding other ways of fostering community engagement such as activities in the parks and school (post-Covid) is a low-cost way to build the existing community and entice potential new residents.
What does the city need to do better to promote future growth?
McCabe: We need to continue to look for new business opportunities. A broader range of business in town will help maintain a healthy economy in our community.
Beer: Work closely with the community; more input in planning and decision making.
Bucholtz: Having a welcoming main street with thriving shops and businesses is a great benefit to both residents and visitors alike. Diversifying the business base and ensuring that current business infrastructure is maintained will ensure that the city remains a destination for business and non-business needs. Actively seeking out new businesses from a variety of sectors is a first step to encourage growth, as well as understanding how the shift to more “remote working” environments may impact the types of businesses that might now find Cleveland a good fit.
What do you see as the top infrastructure needs in the city and what should be done to solve them?
Beer: Maintaining good quality water and wastewater systems. Maintenance schedule for streets.
Bucholtz: I spoke above about the twin needs for both physical and business infrastructure. I believe that investing in the downtown area in both aspects can create a positive feedback loop which will allow for continued investment in all areas of the city. Those investments should be based on community feedback and guided by a cost / benefit evaluation to ensure both residents and visitors gain the rewards of the dollars spent.