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Three vying for Harmony's mayoral seat
By Melissa Vander Plas
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 9:34 AM
Three local residents are running for Harmony's mayoral seat. From left are current mayor, Steve Donney, Jay Mensink, Jr., and R. Dan Tieffenbacher.
Candidates for election answered four questions sent to them by the News-Record. Their answers are printed after the number corresponding with the following questions.
1. What has motivated you to file for this office? If you are an incumbent, please note how many years you have served and why you wish to continue.
2. Name one characteristic you have that has enabled or would enable you to be a valuable member of this office. Please explain.
3. In these difficult economic times, how would you prioritize the needs for the city?
4. Is there an upcoming issue that you feel needs to be addressed by the city?
Residents of Harmony will find three names on the ballot when voting for their mayor next week. Current mayor Steve Donney is being challenged by R. Dan Tieffenbacher and Jay Mensink, Jr.
Donney is a registered representative for PrimeVest Financial Services/First Southeast Bank. He is married to Carrie and they have two daughters, Sarah and Laura.
Tieffenbacher is semi-retired and is a current city council member.
Mensink is an applicator at Crop Production Services.
The candidates answered the above questions sent to them by the News-Record to explain their priorities and vision for the Harmony community.
1. I filed for the office of mayor because I have enjoyed being mayor and think our council has done a good job for the residents. Being mayor for four years now, I think we have made good progress through what has been a very difficult four years for our country, state, city, businesses and residents alike.
2. Good leadership, which I think I have contributed to the council, requires listening to all sides of any issues or challenges and then working with others to achieve the best possible outcome for all involved. I want our city to be a positive for our residents and to promote our businesses. I have strived to do what is best for the whole of Harmony, businesses and residents, without infringing on the rights of other individuals or businesses.
3. My first priority has been and will continue to be, getting our property tax rates in line with similar-sized communities in southeastern Minnesota. In July 2011, the Legislature eliminated the homestead tax credit. That was a huge change in tax policy that sent most Minnesota property taxes climbing in 2012. In Harmony, we worked to cut our spending from previous years. This resulted in most residents seeing a decrease in the city portion of their tax bill, assuming their property valuations were comparable. I am committed to a well-functioning, growing and prosperous Harmony. Another priority is to find ways to keep utility rates from rising faster than inflation. If we are to remain an affordable city to live in, we must control the utility rates. That brings us to my third priority, which is our infrastructure needs. Your council has been and will continue to assess our infrastructure needs, both current and future.
4. Yes, our newly formed Harmony Area Community Foundation, while not really an issue, still needs to be addressed and promoted by the city. I want to personally invite Harmony and area residents to join this organization and help us make the Harmony area a better place to live, work and play.
Also, planning for capital spending will help us in controlling future operating and repair costs. It will save us from spending high dollar amounts on infrastructure that needs, or will soon need replacement anyway. The council, along with city employees and outside consultants, has been prioritizing road, sewer, water and electrical transmission systems to identify future needs and is planning for affordable improvements over the coming years.
Jay Mensink, Jr.
1. To try and get the younger generations, such as mine and future young adults, involved in our community and to make Harmony a place where young families want to live.
2. I am able to listen to the needs and concerns from the citizens of Harmony.
3. Making sure Harmony businesses are able to succeed and to promote more economic development.
4. I don't feel there are any issues that are necessarily, although as said before, it may be to make our town more business-friendly and attractive to young families.
R. Dan Tieffenbacher
1. For the past four years I have been a member of the Harmony City Council. If elected mayor, I promise to serve only one term so others may serve the community.
2. My commitment to this community, as a member of the Harmony volunteer ambulance, the library board, the park board, the arts board, and planning and zoning.
3. We don't live in a bubble. So much depends on what happens in the general election. The last four years of recession have been hard for all cities. I'm optimistic for the future.
4. Our infrastructure is being addressed with recent studies of our water, sewer and streets. People want pure, fresh water to keep coming out of the tap, their sewage treated properly and our streets maintained.
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The Minnesota Legislature was left with some unfinished business after their Sunday deadline passed this week. Do you think Gov. Mark Dayton should call for a special session so the lawmakers can tie up these loose ends?
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