(Editor’s note: Four candidates — Chad Wurm, Michael McDonough, Ryan Holmgren and Barb Burandt — are running for an open Elk River City Council seat in Ward 3. The top two winners in the Aug. 14 primary election will advance to the general election in November. Click on their names to read about the candidates.)
by Joni Astrup
Chad Wurm said he has attended many city council meetings over the last couple of years.
“What I’ve found is that much of our spending would be disagreeable with our citizens,” he said. “Our working class has had to adjust to the current economic situation; however, our local government struggles to do the same. Many households have seen 10 to 15 percent pay cuts, or worse, while our local government considers freezing raises a cutback.”
He said the city has also begun spending “enormous amounts of money” on a new public works building.
He questioned if that seems to be logical in a time of adjustment. Wurm said he believes the city government is content with its current spending while the people get stuck with fee after fee and ordinance after ordinance.
He also questioned the use of liquor store profits to help pay for the public works facility expansion. The city owns North-bound and Westbound liquor stores.
“The city decided to spend their liquor store monopoly fund on a public works building instead of using it for current budget needs,” Wurm said. “Why is our local government exclusively in the liquor business?”
He advocates trying to support business owners and not adding so many controlling stipulations to their conditional use permits and other restrictions.
“When we burden our local businesses they move on and the burden turns back to us,” he said. “Whatever happened to the servant mentality in government? Did they forget who is paying them? Let’s all work together to try and straighten this mess out.”
While there have been some property tax breaks in some cases, Wurm doesn’t think property taxes are coming down the way they should.
Asked what he would like to accomplish if elected, he said he would like to serve his ward and get people involved in making the decisions.
Wurm ran for mayor of Elk River two years ago in the race won by John Dietz.
He is a graduate of Watertown-Mayer High School and completed a year of college at St. Cloud State.
Wurm is self-employed and has lived in Elk River for about a decade.