Elizabeth B. Kautz (incumbent) – Burnsville mayor primary candidate
Occupation: Elected official – mayor, city of Burnsville
Education: B.A. in theology and M.A. in counseling psychology
Previous elected, appointed or volunteer positions:
Burnsville: mayor, city of Burnsville (present), Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors (present), member of the Lions Club (present), International Festival (present), member of the Burnsville City Council, former Rotarian, board of directors Burnsville Chamber of Commerce, board of directors Minnesota Valley Transit Authority and Past Chairperson.
Regional: Co-founded the Regional Council of Mayors and served as chairperson for six years, member of Regional Council of Mayors and chairperson of Jobs and Work Force Solutions (present); board of directors of Greater MSP (present), chairperson of St. Mary’s University Council of Regents (present), Regional Alliance Task Force (present), Minnesota Export Task Force (present),
Metropolitan Council Local Government Advisory Committee (present), board of directors of Municipal Legislative Commission (present), past chairperson and board member of the Suburban Transit Authority, past chairperson and board member of Dakota Communications Center.
National: past president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and presently member of the Executive Committee/trustee for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, USCM Audit and Finance Committee (present), co-chair USCM Small Business/International Franchise Task Force (Present), USCM Transportation/Tele-Communications Standing Committee (present), USCM Tourism/Arts/Parks/Entertainment and Sports Standing Committee (present), Advisory Committee to the EPA Administrator (Present).
1. Why should people vote for you?
Burnsville is in a strong financial position and, since I took office in 1995, has twice improved its bond/credit rating to a strong AAA rating at present. Our debt has been reduced over 50 percent, as we continue to reconstruct and repair our roads. The Infrastructure Trust Fund we put in place allows these repairs on a pay-as-we-go basis. Burnsville is safe; crime has been reduced by 36.69 percent since 1995. Our parks, ice center, golf course and performing arts center are enriching lives and increasing business. Burnsville is headed in the right direction. I am devoted to and work tirelessly for Burnsville!
2. What are the key issues facing the city? How should the city address them?
Burnsville’s demographics are aging and diversified and its product value has matured, requiring improvement. We are encouraging property owners to comply with property maintenance regulations. We need to work with our school district to improve graduation rates, thus increasing a higher quality of workforce for our businesses. We need to work with business to expand in Burnsville and to invite more business leaders to visit us to consider Burnsville for their next expansion. We need to continue to partner and work with businesses, other cities, non-profits and faith communities to solve social issues in Burnsville, such as helping children succeed in school. We need to keep Burnsville safe and ensure emergency services to all residents.
3. What cost-cutting measures to city spending would you support?
Every year we right-size our operations and make cuts necessary for efficient usage of available technology to determine cost-effective solutions. We also look at areas where we can save and evaluate projects that will give us greater returns on our investments. We focus on energy conservation and more efficient equipment to arrive at effective solutions. Service delivery continues to be evaluated. Burnsville’s population in 1995 was 55,000. Today it is 61,000 with the same number of personnel for a city that is 99 percent built. Burnsville citizens have always been kept in mind to ensure they get great value for their tax dollar.
4. Assess the work of the current mayor and council. What is your leadership style?
I am very proud of the work of the Mayor and council. I am a collaborative, caring, fiscally responsible leader focused on good decisions for Burnsville. I make business decisions rather than ideological decisions. Shifting paradigms in this global economy require the use of our experience, networks and relationships to attract business to Burnsville so that our citizens will have available jobs and live self-sustaining lives in a well-run, safe and beautiful city.