Candidates: Infrastructure top issue
All three candidates for the open seat on the City Council see infrastructure as the most pressing issue facing the community at this time. For Ramone Gumke, Francis Silbernagel and Scott Walch, the city's sanitary sewer system is the most immedi...
All three candidates for the open seat on the City Council see infrastructure as the most pressing issue facing the community at this time.
For Ramone Gumke, Francis Silbernagel and Scott Walch, the city's sanitary sewer system is the most immediate infrastructure need. Underlying that is the price tag to repair and improve that infrastructure.
"Infrastructure is a major problem. We need to get that taken care of without taxing the community to the limit," Silbernagel said. "We need to look at what we can do to get the infrastructure up to date without taxing people so much they move out."
He suggested a committee and perhaps a grant writer to look into grant and loan opportunities to ease the burden.
Gumke said both short- and long-term solutions are needed. However, he said, those solutions need to be prioritized to avoid "dumping all our money into one project."
"The results of the sewer study will tell us how that should be addressed," he said. "We can prioritize the needs in a strategic plan. Then we can systematically fix the areas we need to fix."
Walch sees infrastructure improvement and paying for it as key issues for the community. He also sees infrastructure as part of overall strategic planning for the city's growth.
"I want Jamestown to grow through strategic planning," he said.
All three recognized the importance of good infrastructure in economic development. Walch added that good strategic planning is also necessary.
Walch supports recycling and sees it as another key issue for the community. Silbernagel goes even further.
"I'm an avid recycler," he said. "I'd like all our businesses to get it and curbside recycling to be a common practice. The simpler you make recycling, the more people will do it."
Teamwork on the council was an issue for Gumke and Silbernagel. Each would like to accomplish that if elected.
"I'd like to see the City Council and the mayor work together as a team," Gumke said. "And I want to work with the JSDC (Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.). Jamestown is at a crossroads. We're facing problems with infrastructure and bringing businesses into town. We all need to work together."
"I'd like to see the council getting along as a full team and creating a better atmosphere," Silbernagel said.
In a four-year term, Walch said he wants to accomplish continued progress for the city. He said businesses wanting to relocate look at what a community provides in infrastructure, education and medical services. Walch, who is a member of the Jamestown Public School Board, believes the city is meeting the education criteria and the new hospital will serve the medical need.
"The entire country is looking at recruitment and retention of businesses and employees," he said. "Jamestown has the potential for a regional boom, especially in the energy field."
His law enforcement background would be a plus for a council member, Gumke said. He said he understands what emergency responders and law enforcement need when it comes to policy making. He especially believes he can be effective on the council's Fire and Police Committee.
"I can help clarify some of the issues and help with researching grants for them," he said. "Matching grants would stretch our city dollars further."
Voters go to the polls Tuesday at the Civic Center to elect one of these candidates to the City Council.
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org