Spring 2014 Election
Four compete for two Elkhorn City Council seats
ELKHORN—Four candidates are seeking two seats on the Elkhorn City Council.
James Boardman was appointed to the city council in 2013 to temporarily fill the District 5 seat of Kim DeHaan, who resigned after the 2013 election. He is being challenged by Tom Myrin. The winner will serve a one-year term.
Gregory Huss and Steve Lehmkuhl are competing for the District 6 seat. Incumbent Brian Olson is not seeking re-election to the city council and is instead running for mayor.
The candidates answered questions about the following topics:
Boardman: “It's very important, that's why we have a 20-year plan that is visited periodically and updated when necessary. We recently approved a citizen committee to promote business, industry and improvements to the business community.”
Myrin: “Economic development is a passion for me and is why I formed the Elkhorn Business Alliance. Because of my work with the Elkhorn Business Alliance, city leaders approached me to help form the new Elkhorn Economic Development Committee.”
Huss: “Elkhorn needs to position itself to accommodate opportunities and pursue development. It is important for the community to have sustained growth. I don't want growth to be too rapid, rather slow and steady. Elkhorn needs to be aggressive with the resurgence of manufacturing in the Midwest.”
Lehmkuhl: “Economic development directly correlates to quality of life. Jobs created create and support more jobs. I think government and private enterprises need to be partners not adversaries to have solid growth. I will work with local, county and state officials to aggressively seek and welcome companies to locate in our area.”
Boardman: “I don't believe the city has wasted or spent money unnecessarily. There are many factors that influence our budget—increasing cost of inflation; state, county and schools that increase costs or reduce their services that we have to pick up.”
Myrin: “We have some big spending decisions that need to be addressed very soon. I help small business owners make financial decisions every day. That kind of business experience, and the ability to find solutions, will prove to be an asset to our community.”
Huss: “Spending needs close scrutiny. I support the Sunset pool project and like that our parks are being looked at for upgrades. The city must budget for expenses and for capital improvements. We are a family community, and providing taxpayers with a great place for kids is what it's all about.”
Lehmkuhl: “I believe the spending can be improved upon. My plan would be to meet with each department and review expenditures line by line. I would look at the bidding process to make sure we are providing the taxpayer the best product or service for the most reasonable price.”
The replacement of the aging Centralia Street Water Treatment Plant has been a discussion in the community for years.
The new plant would replace the south side facility and be a new water source for anticipated commercial and residential growth on the northeast side.
The design phase for the prospective facility began in 2010. In 2013, the city drilled two of the three new wells.
The city has submitted an application for a state loan to help pay for the new multi-million dollar facility. It will need to go to the city council for construction approval.
Boardman: “The cost for the new facilities are estimated at $7 million. We anticipate going to bid this summer. The money will be borrowed from the state by the Elkhorn Water Department at a cost of less than 2 percent. Hopefully, the building can start late 2014 with completion in 2015. There will probably be an increase in water rates in 2016.”
Myrin: “Everybody deserves clean water. Without it, residents and businesses will not move into Elkhorn. The city has done a great job so far researching everything. I will need more information to determine a timeline before I am ready to spend millions of dollars.”
Huss: “The Centralia water plant can be handled in a manner in which a 30 percent increase in utility cost is avoided. A smaller increase now in utility cost can allow us to put money aside now for the future. The money could be used to decrease or eliminate the need to borrow money and pay interest.”
Lehmkuhl: “My understanding is the project is in fact moving forward with the bulk of construction slated for 2015. As far as cost, my view is that infrastructure projects of this magnitude need to be projected out a minimum of one decade with ongoing budget dollars being set aside continuously as to lower the burden of borrowing money upon implementation.”