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A three-way race

Editor’s note: The following are written responses to questions posed to the candidates; they are published in the form they are received and not edited.

Alan Oberloh

Occupation: Owner, president of Quality Auto Body, Inc. since 1983, and owner of Quality Storage of Worthington.

How long have you resided in the city? I have lived in the Worthington area for almost my entire life and graduated from Worthington school district.

Qualifications: My community involvement dates back to 1983 when I started my own business, after which I recognized the benefit of being involved in the community. Since that time, I have served time on the Worthington Area Chamber Board and its various committees, church boards, and District 518 School Board. I’ve served on the Worthington Public Utilities Wind Energy Task Force, participated in the Worthington Police Department’s Citizen’s Academy, and served as Honorary City Council Member. I represent ATP7 Cities on the MNDOT area transportation partnership. Prior to being elected Mayor, I served on the City of Worthington Planning Commission. I was a member of the local Blandin Community Leadership Program, where the group worked to develop the bio science initiative. My involvement with the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, of which I served as president, and the Minnesota Mayors Association has helped me understand the similarities and differences of the communities we represent. In the twelve years that I’ve been Mayor, I have lobbied on Worthington’s behalf locally, in St. Paul, and in Washington D.C., and created strong working relationships with our State and Congressional delegation. I’ve worked with Governors Pawlenty and Dayton, the U.S. Attorney’s office, FEMA and other State and Federal agencies on community issues when needed.

What is your top priority in city government? My top priority is to continue to grow the community by working to build a strong economic tax base that will keep property taxes in line while providing both necessary and desired services and amenities to our residents.

Explain ideas you have to achieve your top priority: We can achieve this growth by working with WREDC, DEED, Nobles County, Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce and other agencies to seek out both private and public funding sources, programs, grants, loans and business education assistance to help existing and prospective businesses grow or relocate here. We will continue to meet with commercial, industrial, service and retail entities to promote our diverse community as they consider expansion and relocations. We need to work with local leaders to establish a private sector development group to spearhead commercial construction, and to identify and/or acquire property to provide ownership or lease opportunities for new or growing businesses. It is important that both the public sector and the private sector support this initiative for community growth. This has proven to be an effective tool in other communities.

What do you hope to see accomplished in the city during your term, should you be elected? I hope to see the complete renovation of the Northland Mall area, completion of the expansion of Grand Avenue, continued growth in the Bioscience Park, and development occurring in the Highway 59 Industrial Park. I hope to see business expansion that will make our median income go up, our tax base continue to grow, and our dependence on local government aid go down.

Chris Dybevick

Occupation: Chief Deputy for the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office and Co-Owner of Pellegrino Fire Extinguisher Sales & Service

How long have you resided in your district? 47 Years

Qualifications: I have 27 years of experience with Worthington city government at many different levels, with 23 of those years as a supervisor. I also have over nine years managing and administering the 3.8 million dollar public safety budget. I have developed an excellent working relationship with all of the city’s department heads and employees. I also have a very good understanding of how each department works. I have extensive leadership training from the State of Minnesota and I have graduated from the prestigious Northwestern University’s School of Staff and Command.

What is your top priority in city government? I have talked to so many people in the community about Worthington’s many needs and wants, including the Lewis & Clark Water Project, but I would have to list economic development as my top priority.

Explain ideas you have to achieve your top priority: How many times have you heard, “Hey, that business wanted to come to Worthington, but went to Jackson, Sioux Falls or Spirit Lake.” That has to stop. Worthington needs to look at itself and say to businesses, “What can we do for you? How can we help you build or expand?” The city of Worthington needs to reevaluate how it does business with businesses. We need to continue to build infrastructure and possibly offer financial incentives. Worthington has so many good responsible business owners. We need to encourage and support those businesses and focus our efforts on the problem areas. We need to be fair and equal in our code enforcement and make sure Worthington is a great place to live and conduct business.

What do you hope to see accomplished in the city during your term, should you be elected? I would like to see the city and its employees become a cohesive unit working together for the good of Worthington. The city has so many great employees that work very hard for the people of Worthington. I think they should be recognized and appreciated by the administration. If I have heard it from the employees once, I have heard it a thousand times, “We need change! We need change!” Please don’t take my word for it. I ask all of you to find a department head or any city employee and ask them if they are happy with the way the city is being run. Ask them if there needs to be a change.

Mike Kuhle

Occupation: Sales Advisor with Marco Inc.

How long have you resided in the city? 37 years

Qualifications: Experienced with eight years as a City Councilman and during that time I have been on nearly every committee and commission with the exception of the Public Utilities. I also serve on the SW MN Regional Development Commission, Freedom Veterans Memorial Park Board, past member of the SW Tourism Board, Chamber of Commerce, and Convention & Visitors Board.

What is your top priority in city government? While there are many issues to pick from such as the mall redevelopment, water, economic development, and Recreational Amenities. I believe my top priority is to empower our city councilmen & committees to make informed decisions and to collaboratively work with our partners such as Nobles County, ISD 518 Schools, Worthington Regional Economic Development Commission, and the Worthington Housing & Redevelopment Authority. Working together to make Worthington a better place to live & work!

Explain ideas you have to achieve your top priority: Engage and question our councilmen to make sure that they understand each issue fully and that all sides of an issue get a chance to present their case. Making informed quality decisions will improve Worthington! Empowering city boards, commissions, and committees to be more proactive instead of being reactionary in their decision and policy deliberations. Worthington has many talented residents that can provide leadership and expertise on our committees, we just need to seek them out & draw upon this valuable resource. With our partners in government, I would encourage administrators and department supervisors to create efficiencies in delivering services to the residents of Worthington. If we are to be good stewards of our tax monies collected ... then as elected officials we need to constantly look for efficiencies to keep the tax burden as low as possible!

What do you hope to see accomplished in the city during your term, should you be elected? The mall property redeveloped with a few retail shops, a new theater, restaurant, and a small housing development (More of a “Retail Village” style concept). Lewis & Clark Water Pipeline extended to Worthington providing a reliable source of water. The Bioscience Industrial Park fully built out with companies providing higher wages to our community. A commercial business build out on the west side of North HWY 59 in Worthington.