Three vying for open Isanti council seat

The three candidates in the Jan. 11 Isanti City Council Special Primary Election answer questions and share their views on Isanti.

The City of Isanti will hold a special primary election on Tuesday, Jan.11. The polling place will be Isanti City Hall, 110 1st Ave. NW and will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The office to be voted for shall be one council seat with the term ending Jan. 7, 2013. Voters will vote for one candidate, with the top two candidates moving on to the Tuesday, March 15 General Election.

1) Tell us about yourself and why you feel you are qualified for the job.

2) What are the big issues you believe Isanti is facing?

3) What will be your top priorities if elected?

Dan Collison
1) My name is Dan Collison and I am running for Isanti City Council. I have lived in Isanti for about six years and lived within Isanti County for about 12 years. I was appointed to the Isanti Housing Task Force Committee, volunteered with Isanti Parks, Isanti Primary Playground Build, area youth soccer coach, and other community events. My wife and I also participate in the Isanti Safe Place program. I have worked full-time for the government at a county level for about six years and currently for a neighboring city for going on six years. When I’m not at work I enjoy spending time with my wife and three kids, fishing, hunting, four wheeling, and attending car shows. I love our small town feel and look forward to more good things to come for our city and its residents.
2) Isanti has been facing some tough issues with the economy, as all of us have. Families are struggling with their homes being foreclosed, losing their jobs, and just trying to keep their budget in order.  That’s what the city of Isanti has to do as well.  Make sound decisions and budget cuts where it can with still providing the same services that we need, such as the Police Department, Public Works Department and the staff at City Hall.  This can be difficult to do, but it can be done. We need to keep working on drawing in businesses to lessen the tax burden on the residents. This last year, Isanti has seen some new businesses come to town, which is great, but we also need to be able to make sure that they stay.
 3) My top priorities, if elected, would be to stay within a reasonable set budget, make common sense decisions, and not cut any city services, such as the Isanti Police Department, who does a wonderful job at keeping us and our children safe, and the Public Works Department, who does a great job of maintaining our city. I would rather see the liquor store sold before these important services are cut. I will work hard as a team player to bring in more businesses to lessen the residents taxes even more and create needed jobs at the same time.
 I know it has been a long year of politics for everyone but this election is important for the city of Isanti residents and I hope that you vote in the primary on Jan. 11 and the election March 15.

Steve Lundeen
1) I am a lifelong resident of Isanti County. I have lived in the city of Isanti for the last six years. My experience with the City of Isanti goes way back to my childhood. My father, Don Lundeen, owned “Don’s Plumbing, Heating, and Rental” which used to be located on Main Street. In 1980, it moved and built the building where Isanti Hardware resides in now. For years I worked with my father and learned the plumbing business.  This gave me a lot of experience and knowledge of the residents and buildings in the city of Isanti. I served on the Isanti Voluntary Fire Department for several years. I have been active with the Faith Lutheran Church, serving on many different committees. As a plumber in the Local 15 Union in Minneapolis, I was the foreman on many jobs running projects ranging from 25 people to three people. This provided me with the experience to run budgets, manage labor, and ensure the projects were completed within budget and time frame.  I currently am a local business owner, SDL Services LLC, located in the city of Isanti.  SDL provides plumbing and heating services for residents of the area. As a lifelong resident, and through listening to the concerns of all the people of Isanti, I will use common sense to guide all actions and votes that I will provide to the residents of Isanti as a city council member.
2) Isanti needs to work on developing a list of services that the city is going to provide and prioritize those needs that best serve the residents and business owners of the City of Isanti.  They need to attract commercial and industrial businesses to provide opportunities for employment in our local area for our local residents. The tax base from a strong business environment in Isanti would improve the ability of the city to maintain services throughout the entire community. A program to fill the empty, foreclosure homes utilizing a network of assistance (mortgage, advisors, jobs, etc.) that could help fill these homes with families. Strengthen the Community Action Group to reinvigorate ideas, participation, and information that goes on in the day-to-day activities of our city. This should be a priority because these are the people that work day-to-day with the citizens and businesses of our city. This information they would provide to the city council would give us a real view of daily life in our city. This committee should involve a representative from the city, the police, the chamber, Fire district, city council, business owners and residents of Isanti. Over the years, I have seen this group do much work and care greatly about improving our city.
3) The first priority would be to help keep taxes on our residents as low as possible, and still provide them with quality services.  Another priority of mine and several business owners and residents I have spoken with would have the city of Isanti go department by department to figure out if they have too many rules and burden-some permit processes for businesses to relocate to or stay in our city. The focus should be for the City to serve its residents and businesses—not to over govern them with rules and regulations. Start a Task Force to collect information from all the residents and business owners in the city of Isanti on what’s working for them and what is not working for them. We would use this information to guide future services the city of Isanti would provide. I would like to work closely with the Chamber of Commerce and community event organizers to better utilize their ideas for events and promotion of the city of Isanti to foster a spirit of community involvement.  I remember the early days of the Rodeo and the dances on Main Street, Crazy Days shopping days, and other events that made growing up in Isanti enjoyable and fun.

Michael Streiff III
1) I feel I am most qualified, and the better choice for Isanti council member, due primarily to my extensive background and the perspectives it provides. I grew up on a farm in Lakeville, Minn., which provided a solid background in common sense, the meaning of hard work, and personal pride in a job done correctly. I have a degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas, in Saint Paul. I was able to take the everyday real-life experiences of operating my father’s farm and reinforce these principles with the knowledge I gained in a degree program at the University of St. Thomas. I have worked for a St. Paul based bank for the past nine years, currently serving as Vice President, Community Banking Manager.  In my current position, I am in charge of creating financial solutions for small business lending customers in the bank’s footprint ranging from Lakeville, Minn. to Milaca, Minn. I also own and operate my own landscaping company in Isanti.  I have also had the opportunity at the will of the current Isanti City Council, to serve as a member of the Isanti Planning Commission. It has been an honor to help guide the planning and zoning of this great city for the past two years. On top of all of this, my most important responsibility is that my wife and I are currently raising five children in Isanti.  I feel my background as listed above gives me a good perspective on what the majority of Isanti residents and businesses are experiencing on a daily basis. My background will aid in keeping my hand on the pulse of both the short term and long term needs of residents and businesses in Isanti.

2)  I firmly believe there are several issues that will be decided by the Isanti City Council in the short term which will have a long term impact for many generations to come. The price of the services the city provides its residents and businesses continues to increase, however, we cannot look to increase taxes to cover these costs. The current leadership of the city will need to work very closely with the residents and businesses to decide what level of service is desired from the people of Isanti.  Examples of these services include fire and police protection, public works, planning and zoning, development, as well as building administration. In my opinion, the bottom line is that the 2011 Isanti City Council will need to work very hard to entice additional tax paying residents and businesses to this city.
I also believe the city is at a crossroads with both the municipal liquor store and the police department.  I firmly believe in a very strong local police department for Isanti, thus I do not believe it is prudent to meet overall city budget balancing objectives by modifying the current number of officers working in the Isanti police department.  I believe there are other areas in the budget that can be looked at first in order to achieve a balanced budget.
I believe the city has made a tough but necessary choice in changing the management of the municipal liquor store. I believe the city council will need to make certain that the new manager hits the ground running in enhancing the bottom line of the store. I firmly believe that the right management of the municipal liquor store will be key in the long term viability of this store as a bottom line enhancement to the city of Isanti.
Most importantly, I believe the city of Isanti will need to continue to count less and less, and eventually not at all on funding received from the State of Minnesota. As all residents and businesses have been forced to cut budgets and do more with less as a result of the economic downturn, the city of Isanti will need to continue to do so as well. The city of Isanti is just like any business or household budget, the bottom line will need to be monitored very closely in order to meet long term viability.

3) My top priority will be working very closely with you, the residents and businesses of this great city. I will not lose sight of the fact that the primary task of the Isanti City Council is to serve you, the people of Isanti.  I do not seek this office with any other ambitions than to provide my expertise to the Isanti City Council in providing leadership to the future direction of Isanti. 
My top priorities as council member would be the following:

•  I will work very hard to make decisions that will keep taxes affordable for all residents and businesses of this city. An increase in taxes on both the residential and business side is not an option.

•  I will be very focused on attracting other businesses and residents to this great city, as it is a terrific destination to raise a family as well as own and operate a profitable business. In order to increase the tax base we need to attract additional tax payers.

•  I believe the Isanti City Council needs to work hard to partner with both the Cambridge/Isanti School District, the city of Cambridge, and Isanti County.  I believe there are many resources that could be shared among these entities that would result in cost-cutting measures across the board.

•  I will work constructively with the mayor and my fellow council members in order to create solutions that are best for the City of Isanti. I will maintain a high level of ethical standards and will work hard with the entire council to rid any personal agendas from clouding decisions.