Apple Valley City Council candidate: Nicholas Stepka

Age: 29

Address: 13643 Everton Ave., Apple Valley

Occupation: Consultant

Education: University of Minnesota-Duluth

Previous elected, appointed or volunteer positions: President, Greenleaf Sixth Homeowners Association; CD2 seated alternate delegate 2012 State Convention.

1) Why should people vote for you?

Our City Council is in need of young homeowners to be represented. I will keep the city of Apple Valley progressing in the right direction. I will work to ensure that our graduating students feel that Apple Valley is a great community to live in, the same choice their parents had to make. I will work to ensure Apple Valley has the fewest barriers of entry for new businesses, as well as encourage corporate expansion of non-retail jobs. My experience as president of my townhome association shows the respect that my peers have entrusted in me. I will ensure that Apple Valley remains a community that attracts young highly skilled families, and work with local businesses to ensure that the city is not limiting success.

2) What should be the top funding priorities for the city?

The greatest responsibility the City Council has, is to keep us safe. If the citizens really wanted (and needed) busing, it would not be subsidized by our city, but instead run as a private successful enterprise. At some point we must ask ourselves: do we want to fund projects that buses professionals out of our community more easily, or fund projects to keep those professionals working close to home. With any budget matter, I will keep to the principle that I have in my home – is this a need or a want? If it is a want, I will work with private organizations to help to ensure that the government encourages good business decisions with our tangible assets, while also ensuring optimal transportation around the city. If it is a need, I will do my best to make sure that we attain the need in the best manner possible.

3) What cost-cutting measures to city spending would you support?

The city needs to keep reviewing where the funds are directed to and to what programs they are going. Apple Valley has a good, healthy budget. It is important to ensure that the “status quo” does not stop us from being financially disciplined. Just because a program exists now, does not mean it needs to exist forever. I promise to look at issues from multiple sides and always respect the limited role of government and the limited funds given to the city. I am interested in eliminating time spent by the police ticketing people parked on the street overnight.

4) In what ways can the city improve the delivery of its services?

I would work with Charter Communications, or any other service provider willing to listen, to ensure that we are ahead of the curve when it comes to fiber communications. Businesses need high-speed, high-bandwidth solutions to be able to support increased numbers of staff.

5) What areas of economic development do you think the city can improve upon?

Economic development is our city’s effort to increase the standard of living. I believe Apple Valley is missing out on events such as Pan-O-Prog and Leprechaun Days. I will work with our businesses to create a large-scale event that brings us all together. As a business consultant, I see Apple Valley far behind our neighboring cities in terms of the amount of commercial businesses and I don’t want that gap to increase.

6) What do you bring to the table that other candidates don’t?

I feel that too often my generation feels like they have too little control of their government and do not understand the importance of having our voices heard. By voting for me, you will ensure the voice of young families and hard-working professionals are a cornerstone for Apple Valley’s future. I have not only graduated from Eastview High School, I have worked in Apple Valley for the past five years talking to anyone who would walk through my doors. I understand the needs and the wants of my neighbors.

7) What is the city of Apple Valley missing? How can the City Council address that need?

I feel we have a modern city, and any additional services provided by the city should be questioned. I believe in a very limited government that allows private individuals to flourish. Good business concepts that are executed correctly will satisfy the demands of our citizens, which will result in profitability. We are the connection for our surrounding communities – such as Farmington, Lakeville and Rosemount – to the whole metro area and we need to ensure that we capture their business needs, and not just give them a way to get to another city.