Two challenge Farmington mayor for seat
Two Farmington residents have filed to run against incumbent Farmington Mayor Todd Larson.
Former City Council Member David Pritzlaff and lifelong Farmington resident Jerry Wear filed their paperwork before the Aug. 14 deadline.
Wear, a mechanic, said he was encouraged to run for mayor by friends who said they were unhappy with Larson’s current leadership.
“They told me they don’t think he’s going to help the town,” said Wear, who stated one of his platforms is to create jobs in town.
Wear, a political newcomer, also cited concerns about property taxes that “keep going up and up and up,” and said he would closely monitor the budget.
He emphasized the need for economic growth, but expressed concern about retaining Farmington’s unique character.
“I would like Farmington to grow, but still retain that small-town feel,” he said.
Pritzlaff, a council member from 2005 to 2009, said he is running “to bring the city back to taxpayers.”
He said the economy is still tight, and city officials need to be responsive to the cost of city services on the average citizen.
Citing concerns about the high taxes Farmington residents pay compared to neighboring cities, Pritzlaff called for stronger leadership. he also said he is concerned about what he called a lack of professionalism demonstrated at City Council meetings.
“They are still not listening to the people,” Pritzlaff said. “I think they could be more professional at meetings, the way meetings are run, and respecting the people that want to come to the podium. I’m not going to be one who says you’ve got five minutes — I’m not going to cut anyone off at five minutes.”
Larson said he is following city policy that calls for five minutes at the podium, and he’s following that policy.
Earlier this year, Larson did not give residents attending a meeting an opportunity to speak about the liquor store location because it was not a public hearing.
Calling it a “rock-and-hard-place” position, Larson said he was also criticized in the past by people who did not attend the meetings for allowing comment on agenda items that were not scheduled for a public hearing.
In an interview, Larson said the city has tightened its financial belt during his tenure.
“Since I took office, we’re down 13 full-time positions, we were able to absorb around $1 million of unallotment from the state of Minnesota in market value homestead credit without adding it to the levy, ” Larson said.
He said the council cannot create jobs, but provides places for people to open businesses, and has done so.
Larson said everyone has the right to campaign for this position, but he believes in his leadership.
“A lot of people believe in my leadership,” he said. “The city is going in the right direction, and we’re correcting a lot of mistakes that have happened in the past and moving forward in a positive way.”
Four candidates are running to fill two seats on the Farmington City Council.
The candidates are Doug Bonar, Terry Donnelly, an incumbent, Lenny Hall and Kirk Zeaman.
The election is Nov. 6.