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Letter: Councilman plans to seek new term

I'm writing to announce I'm planning to run for a second term as your city councilman from the second ward, here in Worthington. The time has passed quickly. I've enjoyed working with the city staff and fellow councilmen.

Back in the fall of 2008, after just a few short months on the council, I was asked "Scott, what's your opinion of this Council job so far?" My response was, "It seems like we're juggling many projects with no clear direction." Together, our city staff and fellow councilmen agreed, we hired a consultant, invited a cross-section of Worthington folks and conducted several strategic planning sessions to identify the present and future needs of the city. Some of those projects included: improving the city housing stock, a new fire hall, a dedicated center for the seniors, improvements to various city parks, flood management, creating an industrial park and investing some of the "hospital sale funds" for future generations, to name a few. Many of these projects have been completed or in progress.

Keep in mind the half-cent sales tax, approved by Worthington voters in 2008, is the funding vehicle for the addition to the recently completed Memorial Auditorium and the future Events Center. Our city staff needs to be commended for their patience and hard work in dealing with this additional project work on top of their daily routine, always with the city's best interests in mind.

We continue to deal with ongoing budget cuts, in the form of Local Government Aid (LGA) from the State of Minnesota, while trying to maintain staffing levels and grow our city. This has been and will continue to be an ongoing challenge.

One of our main thrusts has been to incentivize businesses to expand and grow in Worthington by offering city property at low cost and assist with infrastructure costs through tax increment financing (TIF). Worthington businesses have grown and expanded, we have not seen the recession that other parts of the nation have experienced and housing values have been stable. We have a shortage of starter homes and rental housing in Worthington, stifling our future growth. These business expansions have created jobs, expanded the tax base and kept your property taxes lower.

On another note, we will be saying goodbye to two solid Councilmen in Lyle Ten Haken (12 years, Ward 1) and Mike Woll (eight years, councilman at-large)m as they have announced their retirement from City Council. I've learned a great deal from these guys. Lyle always the steady hand who seems to ask the difficult question, in just the right words, while keeping the peace and getting at the root cause. Mike, with his unbounded enthusiasm, always goes the extra mile, for the committee, for the city. I'm not convinced we've seen the last of Mike Woll. I believe he would make an excellent mayor some day and have told him so on several occasions. He just smiles and says, "You never know." Many thanks to Mike and Lyle for their years of dedicated service to the community. They will be missed.

We have accomplished a great deal, with much more work to do. This is an elected position, and I'll need your vote in November to stay on board, I'm asking for your continued support.