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City election candidates

November 5, 2011
Reinbeck Courier

Questions posed to candidates running in the Nov. 8 city election.

1. What is your background, training and experience that qualifies you for this position?

2. What do you think is the most important issue facing you within the next two or four years?

3. How do you differ from other candidates in this race?

4. If elected what would be your primary goal for the next year?

5. What motivates you?

6. How do you motivate others?

7. Describe some of your most important accomplishments.

8. What are your short term and long term goals?

9. What do you think are the best and worst aspects of this position?

10. Why are you interested in this position?

Running for Mayor:

Lon Larsen:

1. I have lived in Reinbeck all my life and have been in business in the city for 30 years. I am out and about and visit and hear the concerns with the citizens daily. With my experience of being mayor for 30 years, I feel I have a good understanding of our local city government.

2. The most important issues today are to keep this small town alive and bring young families into the community.

3. I feel my difference from my candidate is a lifetime of living in this community and 30 years experience as mayor.

4. My primary goal would be to keep the community growing and to promote the community as a family-friendly lifestyle. A place where people can raise their families safely.

5. I care for the people of this community and want to see the town grow.

6. I motivate others by encouragement and getting them involved and by being a leader myself.

7. Accomplishments: newer sewer plants, great park and pool, new soccer fields, continually operating within our budget.

8. Short and long term goals. Long term, growth in this community where young families can bring and raise their children, continued businesses on Main Street, continued fiscal responsibility.

9. Best and Worst. Best - I get to work with the people and represent the city that I was raised in. Worst - I don't believe there are any.

10. I am interested in being mayor because I care for the people of this community, and proud to represent the city and am interested in its continued growth.

Shawn Murphy:

1. My qualifications for the position of Mayor are as follows. I have been an active member of the city council of Reinbeck for the past four years. Also I currently sit on an advisory board for both Hawkeye Community College and North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City. If elected to the position of Mayor I will help guide the city of Reinbeck through the next four years.

2. One of the most important issues facing Reinbeck in the next four years is fiscal responsibility. We need to manage our finances and plan for the future. We also need to take a hard look at housing in our community. The town will not continue to grow unless we make room for more housing. Also another key factor in making our town successful is having a strong relationship with our school system.

3. I feel that I would bring a different point of view to the position of Mayor along with some fresh new ideas.

4. The primary goal if I was elected as stated above would be fiscal responsibility for the city.

5. What motivates me would be getting projects accomplished and completed on time and on budget.

6. One important way to motivate others would be by always having a positive attitude and giving people positive encouragement.

7. Accomplishments that I have been apart of would include: The day care project with the school, been apart of many large projects with Lennox Industries, Habitat for Humanity Homes.

8. The most important short term and long goal is to put the city in a better financial position for the future.

9. I don't feel that there are any bad aspects of the position of Mayor. Helping guide the future of the city of Reinbeck is a very important aspect.

10. I take a very active roll in the city of Reinbeck since I'm an EMT and a firefighter and I want to continue to help the city grow.

Council members (four year term):

Glenda Billerbeck:

1. I have served on the city council for a year. This first year has been very educational for me. I have learned how the city is run, the ins and outs of funding and the responsibilities of a council person. I have a degree in business management and interior design. I have owned and managed businesses all of my adult life. I am a great believer in volunteer work and how important a role that plays in making a strong community. I have done a lot of volunteer work through the city, Boy Scouts, church and American Legion.

2. With the recession in full effect I think one of the most important issues within the city is to promote Reinbeck as a good place to live-shop-dine and play. Every time money changes hands within a community, it boosts the community's overall income and level of economic activity, and fuels the creation of jobs. The more times money changes hands within the community before heading elsewhere, the better off the community is. And spending money at a locally based business has a greater multiplier effect, because locally owned businesses are more likely to respend their dollars locally.

3. I think of myself as a very rounded person. I believe in listening to others point of view even if it differs from mine. No ideal is a bad one though, everything is not feasible. I think great ideals and city growth comes from working together as a community and being open minded.

4. There are many goals that the council has been working on, the new well, sewer, and streets, etc. But, my primary goal that I would like to focus on because of my strong points, are downtown beautification. This will follow my plan to getting people to promote Reinbeck. One of the beautification projects I am very passionate about is the updating and remodeling of the Memorial Building. This building has been used by almost everyone in Reinbeck but neglected in updating. By updating it will be used more and bring more income to the community and we should be appreciative of something that was started by our veterans.

5. My passion and pride for Reinbeck. I grew up in Reinbeck, my first job being a soda jerk at what was then Swaney Drug. I believe Reinbeck is a very blessed community with great citizens-schools-organizations-businesses & parks. I would like to continue my work as a city council member in helping Reinbeck to grow.

6. By sharing my passion. Everyone has a talent and asking someone to share their gift and be a part of something bigger just works for me.

7. On a personal basis is opening my own business on Main Street Reinbeck and loving my job while getting to visit with people young and old. In the last few years as promoter of Reinbeck I have had a hand in getting the new benches and planters on Main Street. I helped Kandie Vaughn support and feed our troops and veterans on the 4th of July in 2010. I helped Kiesha Cahalan, our past development leader, set up and organize the Motion on Main Activities and Movies in the Park. I have a small part in rebuilding and supporting the Boy Scout Troop 73.

8. Keep up my role as promoting and improving Reinbeck, whether on the council or not. Keep working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on working toward preventing internet piracy which jeopardizes lives and jobs by pushing to pass the IP bill.

9. The best is understanding your city better and how it works and working with others to improve the community and city workings. The worst is not everyone agrees with your opinion and to be a good council member it takes a lot of personal time researching to make sure you are making the right decision for the city.

10. I have always been interested in government activities and decision making from my school days with Mr. Koch in government class to my travels to D.C. to work on a national level. I believe we need on our council a diverse group of members-some educated more in the finance work and others more in bringing a serenity to the community through the community events and building strong bonds of citizens working together to make Reinbeck to grow and prosper.

Brian Bunz:

1. I have lived in Reinbeck for 15 years and have owned and operated my own business in Reinbeck for 17 years.

2. The finances of our city. We need to make good common sense decisions about when and where money is spent.

3. There are some candidates running that share a lot of the same views that I do.

4. My primary goal for the next year would be getting the citizens of Reinbeck involved. People need to know about and understand the issues.

5. The unanswered questions that I along with other concerned citizens have. I want those questions answered.

6. By asking the important questions and talking with people.

7. Moving into this community and starting a business was an important accomplishment but getting involved in the community is important as well.

8. My short term goal is to gain all the knowledge I can about Reinbeck's city government. I will be asking important questions and expecting answers. My long term goal is to get projects done such as street repairs, sewer and water problems.

9. The best aspect of this position is that I can help to make a difference. There are no worst aspects.

10. I am interested in this position because I am truly concerned about decisions that are being made in this city.

Angie Schwartz:

1. I have 15 years experience as a legal assistant, a bachelors degree in paralegal studies, and 4 years experience as a manager of a restaurant.

2. The most important issue facing the council in the next two to four years is the budget and the streets. I feel both need a great deal of improvement. I want the city to be fiscally responsible but move forward with improvements to the streets and our sewer.

3. I am different from other candidates because I have a legal background and can help the community understand the new resolutions that are read at the city council meetings. I also want to get more of the community involved. I would like to publish articles in the paper about what is going on. Some of the resolutions or ordinances are written in legalese and I can put them into layman terms so that everyone can understand them.

4. My primary goal for next year is see that the city is fiscally responsible. I understand that the lights downtown need some improvements, but I do not think the city should spend $500,000 for a few blocks of street lights when our streets, sewer and other items are more important and should get attention first.

5. I am motivated by my principals. When I see something I believe is wrong or needs corrected, I feel motivated to fix it. Rather than going to city council meetings and complaining about things I think need changed, if I become a council member I can work towards changing those things.

6. I believe the way to motivate people is to keep them informed and get them excited. Knowledge is power. The more they know about something and the more they are excited about something, the more motivated they are to follow through.

7. My most important accomplishment was earning my bachelor's degree while working full-time, and raising 6 kids. While I was earning my bachelor's degree, I learned to be a great time manager.

8. My short term goal is to become elected and learn all I can about the city council and how it works. One long term goal is to see that my last 3 kids all graduate from high school on the honor roll.

9. Best and worst aspects of this position. The best aspect of this position is that I can have an input on what happens and that I will be very informed about the what goes on. I would like to see more people in town get involved in the city council meetings. I think the worst aspect of this position is that some decision that will have to be made that some people won't like.

10. I am interested in this position because I care what goes on in this town. When I moved here I fell in love with this little town. I think this is a great place for families to live and would like to make it even better and more appealing to draw in new families.

Additional Information:

I moved here 9 1/2 years ago from Cedar Falls. I grew up in a small town and after living in Cedar Falls I think a small town is the perfect place to raise children. I have worked at Sweet Law, PLC (formerly Beard & Sweet, PLC) for almost 10 years. My fiance and I have 6 children between the two of us. Three of the children are attending UNI. We have a freshman, sophomore and 8th grader at Gladbrook-Reinbeck School. I attend a great deal of athletic and school events. I have always been very involved in my children's lives and am looking forward to being involved in the city council in Reinbeck.

Jerry Smith:

1. I've been a self employed contractor/inspector for about thirty years. I've volunteered with the Ikes, 4th of July, Miracle on Main and numerous BMW motorcycle rallies.

2. I think the most important issue facing Reinbeck is our infrastructure, our streets, sewer & water systems (essential city services) have been neglected for many years. My goal in office would be to upgrade, maintain these things first. We need to take care of what we have before we add more projects. I don't like the idea that we pay high sewer and water rates, but still borrow large sums to maintain the systems.

3. I know we can't please everyone but I feel if I'm going to complain I need to participate and maybe I can get more citizens to get involved if they see good things happening in town.

10. Reinbeck is a good town and can be even better if people take pride and get involved.

Council member (two year term):

Jim Petersen:

1. I have many years serving on several voluntary boards: Reinbeck Development Board, Reinbeck Telecommunication Utility, Grundy County Development Alliance, and Grundy County Community Foundation. I have been a CPA in public accounting and was Controller at PCI for many years.

2. Keeping the city financially viable while making enough improvements to make this a desirable town to live in.

3. My background in business and finance would prove valuable to the city council in decision making.

4. I have looked at the 5-year plan and have no single goal. I think we should look at the downtown lighting improvement project and balance the cost against the benefits. There is a plan in the making to make more lots available at the Southridge development. I fully support that. The Tax Increment Finance program has been successful in the past in providing necessary improvements such as housing developments and the aquatic center.

5. To me, being motivated comes from wanting to be useful an appreciated for my efforts.

6. On other boards I have served on, I see myself as one who wants to get to the point of the problem and make a decision.

7. Served in the Army. Received a degree from UNI. Became a CPA. Mary and I have been married for 42 years and have a great family. I was controller at PCI for 31 years and feel I contributed much to the Company.

8. To keep healthy and active in my retirement.

9. The best aspect would be feeling good about a positive impact. The worst aspect would be making a decision that is not a good decision or not a popular decision.

10. I have retired so now I have more time to devote to this. A few people I respect suggested I give it a try.

Rob Stockdale:

1. I have lived in Reinbeck for 20 years and have helped run a business on Main St. for approximately 8 years.

2. To me the most important issues facing our town for the next few years is having a clear and focused plan to fix some of our basics in town. Our water, sewer and streets are just a few of the things that have been neglected for too long.

3. I feel a lot of the new people interested in the council have a lot of the same goals I do, that is why you see new people taking an interest in the council.

4. To get our finances in order and to get a clear vision on where the town is headed.

5. Honesty and fairness is what motivates me.

6. By trying to talk to people-not at them. To try listening to all ideas and getting people involved.

7. Some of my most important accomplishments included my home. I have taken 20 years and a 100 year old house and brought it back to life piece by piece. Also being happily married for 20 years and helping with a very demanding small business.

8. Short term goal is to get the towns finances in order so the citizens of Reinbeck know exactly where their money is going and to spend it wisely. Long term goal is to try to get as many people involved as possible in our towns business so that Reinbeck can be a place everyone is proud of.

9. Hopefully the best aspect of this is getting everyones input on going forward. The worst is I know you can't make everyone happy and that will be the most difficult part of this position.

10. I am interested in this position because for the last eight yeas being a business owner on Main Street I have in my opinion seen us stray off the path of what it takes for a small town to survive and grow in today's world. I think we need a common goal that makes this town a good place to live for everyone.

Library board:

Kathy Etringer:

1. Being an elementary teacher allows me to stay up-to-date on the newest children's literature. I have assisted Janet in the purchase of books, story telling kits, nursery rhyme posters and the alphabet rug for the children's section of the library.

2. I think an important issue facing the board is making sure we continue serve the community even though we are working with an ever decreasing budget. At this time we strive to offer programs for both the adults and the children of Reinbeck. We also work to keep the technology in the library up-to date along with offering readers new books each month.

3. I feel that all of the candidates are working toward the common goal of continually improving library services.

5. The love of reading!

6. By sharing my enthusiasm for books with them.

7. Teaching at Reinbeck Elementary for 22 years. Being the published author of a series of teacher resource books.

8. We are working to update the physical structure of the building. We are also trying to keep up with the fast pace changes in technology.

9. The best aspect of being on the library board is working with others to continually improve the services offered by the library. The worst aspect is not having enough money to all of the things we would like to do.

10. I am interested in this position because I think we have a great library in Reinbeck and I want to help make sure that we continue to serve our community in the best way possible.

Sue Messerly:

1. First off, I have a love of reading which dates way back to my childhood years. As our Reinbeck library staff can attest to, I utilize the facilities on a weekly basis, so I am familiar with the many opportunities our library has to offer.

2. Our librarian, Janet, does a very good job of keeping our library current complying with state mandates as well as computer updates. One of the newest updates provides our library the ability to access various choices of books available for download via Kindle or products such as this. We need to continue to upgrade to stay up with ever changing technology.

3. I have had the opportunity to serve on the library board this past year as Sue Hayek's replacement. I feel this has helped me to understand the behind-the-scenes process involved in keeping our library a viable entity.

4. Currently the library is in good financial shape, so I view that as being a primary goal to maintain this status.

5. Striving to keep the bar high so Reinbeck continues to be, "the town that does good things better."

6. Elaborating the positive.

7. There is a saying, "Behind every man is a woman." I like to expand on this saying by including my children. I take pride in how, together with my husband, my children and grandchildren live their lives. I would like to fantasize that I had a little bit of input into their outcome.

8. I want to make sure the board continues to be proactive in providing our town with a library which is continuously updated with the newest technology as well as providing a pleasant physical environment which both adults and young people can enjoy and be proud of.

9. When I walk in the door, I feel proud that I have, in a small way, helped to maintain this great facility. I haven't discovered any negative aspects of this position. Kathy, our president, and Janet, our librarian, do a great job of setting an agenda and keeping us on task so that we deal with the tasks at hand efficiently with a minimal amount of meeting time.

10. The town of Reinbeck should take pride in this facility and I want to continue to be a part of keeping our library top notch.

Park Board (four year term):

Lynda Christie Bolin

Park Board (two year term):

Sandra Peterson



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