Richard Hoel – Burnsville City Council primary candidate
Occupation: Financial planner
Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics, St. Olaf College
Previous elected, appointed or volunteer positions: No response
1. Why should people vote for you?
The city needs a return to common sense and a renewal of spirit that made it great. When I was a student of Burnsville Senior High School, the city was a place that people around the Twin Cities aspired to move to. Now it has one of the poorest household incomes in Dakota County. This is the result of bad government at the local level for many years. I want to raise the spirit and reputation of Burnsville that residents enjoyed when I was younger.
2. What are the key issues facing the city? How should the city address them?
Our city has become increasingly diverse with a growing number of students with special needs. This will place an even larger squeeze on the property taxpayer in coming years. With tax revenues and property values falling, we need to do better for the taxpayer than say, “We here at the city are going to lower our projected increase in spending.”
3. What cost-cutting measures to city spending would you support?
The city should be attracting commerce and a good citizenry by demonstrating fiscal responsibility, not by shelling out tax payer money for “Welcome to Burnsville” signs at $50,000 each. There is going to come a time when the city will need to stop shoveling our money into the Performing Arts Center and let it stand or fail on its own merit. I also want to look at money the city spends merely because the city is getting matching funds or being coerced by the state or Met Council.
4. Assess the work of the current mayor and council. What is your leadership style?
Anyone who would approve spending $20 to $40 million of the taxpayer’s money on such a massively, financially irresponsible project as the Performing Arts Center should not be serving in any public office in my city. The mayor and council are simply out of touch with reality. Reality tells me you can’t have government spending increase forever at our expense. The time has come for a council that will seek to make Burnsville great again by fostering an environment that will inspire people to come live and work here, not by buying expensive signs and subsidies.