James Cammarato – Burnsville City Council primary candidate
Occupation: Licensed investment advisor
Education: Bachelor of science degree, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Previous elected, appointed or volunteer positions: I purchased my Burnsville townhome in 1993 and have been on the board of directors for the Oak Leaf West Homeowners Association for approximately 10 years.
I have been a member of the Burnsville Chamber of Commerce and Public Policy Committee for the past two-plus years.
1. Why should people vote for you?
I support the creation of a Burnsville Riverfront Tax Increment Financing District (TIF). As a Burnsville City Council member I would propose the following plan to bring companies to the TIF district.
First: I support marketing the TIF district to established companies looking to relocate /modernize their current facilities.
Second: My plan is to bring together resources that are already stimulating new company creation (examples are the Minnesota Cup, the University of Minnesota Innovation Partnership, Lifescience Alley, Minnesota Science and Technology Authority and others) together with funding sources like the Minnesota Cup, the Small Business Administration, banks and venture capital groups.
2. What is the key issues facing the city? How should the city address them?
Burnsville must focus on bringing companies to our city. The obvious result is jobs. Here are the third and fourth parts of my business development plan.
Third: My plan would be to bring big box retailers together with small business to create a sustainable community business model. In short, local small business would compete for self-space at the big box retailer. Walmart and other retailers have stated their commitment to buy from local agriculture. Establishing a hothouse agriculture company(s) in the riverfront TIF would certainly fit this model. In addition Walmart has getontheshelf.com, which is a competition for small business to get products on Walmart’s shelves.
Fourth: I support the creation of a Burnsville Port Authority located along the Minnesota River and existing rail line. With the establishment of the Port Authority we could then take advantage of the MSP Export Initiative and further aid companies in the TIF district.
3. What cost-cutting measures to city spending would you support?
From my previous board and committee experience I understand the value of reading, consulting, discussing and then voting on any expenditure or budget item. It would be irresponsible to target any spending item without first completing this process.
4. Assess the work of the current mayor and council. What is your leadership style?
I believe there is support for a riverfront TIF district and a Burnsville Port Authority within the office of mayor and some council members.
I live by one of the great lessons I learned at the University of Minnesota: “Don’t bring problems, bring solutions.”
I am a bottom-up leader. In my previous management experience, I have completed a program evaluation of each department to determine its purpose, effective operation and results.