Guest Column: Proactive approach needed in city

Published 8:51 pm Friday, October 26, 2018

Guest Column by Nick Ronnenberg

Nick Ronnenberg

 

Hello citizens of Albert Lea. In my last column, I introduced myself and told you why I was running for City Council for Ward 6. I am someone who can bring a proactive approach to Ward 6 and to the council. By listening to the people and responding to their needs and the needs of our community, I believe that with the right people working together, Albert Lea has a lot of potential.

There are many issues facing Albert Lea today. Among those, health care seems to be one of our community’s biggest concerns. I believe that so far, everything that can be done with our Save Our Healthcare group concerning Mayo is already being done, and on that front they need our continued support. However, at the same time we need to continue to make ourselves available to bringing in a new health care company with a full array of health care services. The people have spoken, and the word is that our top priority is to do everything we can to make sure we provide health care for everyone. Saying it is one thing. Believing the right people are elected to ensure we make that a reality is another thing. It’s time to vote for an invigorated, proactive approach.

At the same time, we need to continue to support the growth of new businesses to help create jobs in our community and increase our tax base. We see a lot of new small businesses and some growth in that arena already. What we need to do is bring in new businesses from outside of our community. We do this by making Albert Lea an attractive place to build or expand. We have a tax incentive in place for just that purpose, sure. But we also need to proactively reach out so that the rest of the country knows Albert Lea is open for business. Some may argue that we are already doing that. I argue that we can be doing it better, and I am someone that can bring that energy and proactive attitude and ability to the City Council. I also understand that the city is not the only decisionmaker on this front. We need to work and continue to build relationships with the county and ALEDA to ensure we are all working together. With business growth comes jobs, tax base and new growth in our housing market.

A quick point on taxes. I am a homeowner just like you. I have lived here since 2002. I have seen our property taxes pay for a lot of stuff in the 16 years I have lived here. That is at least in part because that has been the only viable option available to raise the types of dollars we need for revitalization, school referendum, watershed funding for lake dredging or whatever. With new growth in terms of new businesses and jobs, we have the opportunity to look at expanded funding through sales taxes. Yes, we are using sales tax now, but we have sister communities that have provided proven models to earmark sales tax for special project funding, so we cannot only complete growth and rejuvenation projects, but we can do it in a timely manner that will not take the better part of a generation to complete. It starts with new businesses and growth, and that starts with proactively working together toward that goal.

Not only that, but we need to put an end to petty crime in our neighborhoods. We just had another car break-in and also gas siphoning in Ward 6. My commitment to Ward 6 and our local neighborhoods is to do just that — whatever it takes to put an end to the nonsense. By encouraging neighborhoods to be proactive in their own safety and security and working with law enforcement, we can drastically reduce nuisance and petty crime.

It’s time to vote for something different. It’s time to vote for something better. A vote for Nick Ronnenberg to the City Council is a vote to do exactly that — bring a proactive approach to putting in the necessary work to once again make our community great. It’s time.

Nick Ronnenberg is running for the 6th Ward Albert Lea City Council seat.