Two candidates, Steve Lundeen, and Michael Streiff III, are vying for an open Isanti City Council seat, due to the resignation of Jeff Kolb in mid-August. Louise Duff is currently appointed to the open seat.
The city of Isanti will hold a Special Municipal Election on Tuesday, March 15. The polling place shall be at City Hall, 110 – 1st Avenue NW, Isanti, and will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. The office to be voted for shall be one council seat with the term ending January 7, 2013.
1) Tell us about yourself, and why do you feel you are the best candidate?
2) What will be your top priorities if elected to Isanti City Council?
3) What have you done to prepare yourself if elected?
Michael Streiff III
1) I would like the opportunity to serve the city of Isanti as a council member due to the different perspectives I am able to provide as a commercial banker, farmer, small business owner, husband/father, and several year resident of Isanti. In representing the people of Isanti as a council member, I would be able to carry the voices of 99 percent of the citizens to each piece of legislation.
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, Minn. 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 in the position of Vice President, Community Banking Manager. In my current position, I am in charge of managing the creation of financial solutions for 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 currently have the opportunity at the will of the 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 several years. On top of all of this, my most important responsibility is that my wife and I are raising five children here 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 designing legislation that meets both the short term and long-term needs of all in Isanti.
2) I feel the largest issues facing the city of Isanti today would be the uncertainty in the amount of revenues the city receives annually from the State of Minnesota, and the city’s stagnant commercial and residential tax base.
The State of Minnesota continues to hand over fewer and fewer of our tax dollars to local municipalities, thus causing cities such as Isanti to take a hard look at what core services are essential to it’s residents. I feel it is very important that the voices of all businesses and residents are represented at the Isanti City Council in deciding what city services are essential long-term to the city. The city of Isanti will need to work toward little-to-no dependence on funding from the State of Minnesota.
The business tax base continues to remain stagnant due to businesses that are forced to close down operations and leave town, as well as a lack of businesses spending capital on expansion and growth into the Isanti area. The city continues to experience high levels of residential foreclosures, thus plaguing the revenues that the city receives from the residential tax base. The city council will need to work very hard to continue to build up the business tax base as well as continued work in reducing residential foreclosures. The current citizens cannot afford to pay any more in additional taxes, thus the council will need to work hard to attract additional tax payers to the city of Isanti. I will not support any legislation that will increase taxes to the citizens of Isanti, thus I will pledge to work very hard personally to bring in additional business to the city and increase the commercial tax base. I have many years experience working with all types of businesses, thus I am up to the challenge of working as a council member to attract additional businesses and residents to the Isanti area.
3) I have done many things in order to prepare myself for serving as a member of the Isanti City Council. As mentioned previously, I currently serve as a member of the Isanti Planning Commission and have held this appointed position by the Isanti City Council for the past two years. I feel I am very much in touch with what issues face Isanti today, and thus can hit the ground running as a member of the Isanti City Council.
I have had the distinct opportunity to attend several Isanti City Council Meetings as well as speak with past and current members of the Isanti City Council, members of the Isanti Planning Commission, as well as city staff. In meeting with all of these individuals, the biggest thing that resonated with me was the fact that there are several long term financial planning decisions that will need to be made by the Isanti City Council in 2011. I firmly believe financial expertise will be a key background that will be needed more then ever by members of the Isanti City Council.
As part of my preparation for serving Isanti as a council member, I have taken the time to reach out to many members of the residential and business communities within Isanti. In meeting with the residents and businesses a common theme evolved from these discussions. The citizens of Isanti have a lot to offer in the future direction of our city, thus they have a strong desire to be heard by local government officials. As an Isanti City Council Member, I would work very hard to carry the will of all residents in each piece of legislation that enters the council chambers. I do not seek this office due to any hidden agendas or personal opinions that do not look out for the best interest of all citizens. I plan to listen and cultivate ideas and suggestions that are out in the community today and evaluate their effectiveness as part of the future direction of our city. I believe that in order for the future direction of Isanti to continue to be bright for many years to come, the City Council will need to continue to use long-term financial planning/budgeting and ideas that are fresh and new. For example, I believe the Isanti Public Works Department needs to explore sharing resources with surrounding communities, counties, and the state of Minnesota. The sharing of common resources could provide several cost cutting measures to the city in both the short and long term.
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 Volunteer 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 timeframe. I current 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) 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. 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) I have been attending Isanti City Council meetings, budgetary meetings, citizen forums, spending time talking with both current and past business owners and community leaders, and spoken with several residents of Isanti to be better prepared for the position of Isanti City Council member. I have enjoyed the process of getting to know residents of the city of Isanti, and have enjoyed finding out their views and direction they would like the city to follow to make Isanti a great city for all its residents.