Two of three candidates for Brainerd's Ward 3 have listed top priorities if they were elected to office.
Brainerd City Council candidates for Ward 3 are incumbent Kevin Goedker, Barbara Egan and Howard Brewer. Brewer did not attend Tuesday's debate in the Little Theater at Brainerd High School. Debate organizers, the League of Women Voters Brainerd Lakes Area and the American Association of University Women, said Brewer did not respond to their invitation.
Egan said she had no special agenda but she listed priorities as trying to eliminate unnecessary spending and watching where tax dollars are spent. Egan said residents cannot afford to pay more in taxes.
"I'm just like you folks," Egan said. "A vote for me is going to be just like a vote for yourself."
Goedker said he has the endurance and skills to benefit Brainerd as a problem solver who can empathize with people.
"I take my commitment to serving on the council very seriously," Goedker said, adding the job is complex and requires a well-rounded knowledge. Goedker said his diverse background with community involvement provides the needed experience.
Both candidates listed three priorities. Egan said she wanted to make sure residents are truly listened to and respected, that she'd watch where tax dollars are spent and would work well with others to get things accomplished for the city.
Goedker spoke of the importance of commerce and industry. Goedker said he didn't think a lot of people were looking at the positives the city has had in business growth. He said more should be encouraged, especially in the downtown. In other priorities, Goedker said he'd review all pertinent information and use the community to help the council accomplish goals.
In the past four years, Goedker said he has worked well with other council members and said he believes it's important to have different opinions to get the best result to keep expenses low. Goedker said he fought to keep the tax rate as low as possible and the rate has decreased every year during the last four years.
Egan said she would slow down, keep an open mind and look down every avenue for issues. Spending on the Wright Street extension was a project that went absolutely nowhere, Egan said.
Egan questioned spending on lighting now in the hockey arena when she said a future plan to revamp the arena is six months to a year down the road. She questioned thoughts about purchasing the Brainerd Lakes Chamber building in Brainerd when money could be spent to spruce up the city's Lum Park offices and pay down the debt.
In regard to spending, Goedker said he would avoid cuts to public safety with police and fire departments. Goedker said he will look at where it makes sense to spend now to recoup those costs in the future.
Both candidates agreed parks were currently adequate. Egan said she wanted parks to appeal to more people and not just small children. For healthy neighborhoods, Goedker said it's good to have parks within walking distances and more parks should be encouraged as the city expands.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.'
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