Gary Clough, Zimmerman City Council
Family: Married, two children
Occupation: Retired Police Officer
Previous civic and community involvement: I was a volunteer driver for the senior citizens and the handicapped for 4 years. (2004-2008)
1. What prompted you to run for the Zimmerman City Council?
I want to be very aggressive in economic development. I want to make Zimmerman a “Business Friendly City.”
2. What makes you qualified to be a member of the City Council?
I have worked in municipal, county and state government for about 25 years. My employment was a police officer and state driver evaluator. I am able to make difficult decisions in a timely manner. I have always been fair and impartial in the decisions I make.
3. What are the top three issues facing the City of Zimmerman?
1. Economic Development is the top priority (bring in good paying jobs)
2. Reducing water hookup fees for new businesses
3. Providing quality city services at a reasonable cost. (hold the line on taxes)
4. What distinguishes you from your opponents and makes you a better choice for the position?
I have 25 years experience helping people with their problems as a police officer and evaluator. I understand that too much government control can have a negative impact on citizens and business. I am a people person and treat all people with respect. I am not afraid to make difficult decisions. I work well under pressure. I am the “Go to guy if you want results.”
5. What decisions of the council have you liked, and which ones have you disliked?
I don’t like the council decision to impose outlandish fees for water hookups on new businesses. I don’t like the decision to not be a business friendly city. We must be very active in attracting good paying jobs to Zimmerman. I like the council’s decision to develop small business along the highway.
6. What are your thoughts on the groundswell of support for an auditorium in Zimmerman. What role should the city play in this endeavor. What role would you play in this endeavor.
If the auditorium is for the school district and they have their own funding I say “go for it.” If the auditorium is city owned and tax funded I would say the cities role should be to listen to both sides and have alot of citizen imput before any decision is made. My role would be to have a referendum on the issue and let the tax payer decide.
7. What should the city’s role be in improving transportation in the short-term and the long term.
The city & county have given us a nice new road to drive on with wide lanes and shoulders (County Road 4). The state has provided us with good roads between Zimmerman and Elk River. In the short run these changes should be adequate. I would like to see some sort of shuttle bus that our seniors can take to doctor’s visits an the grocery store.
8. What will your approach be to balancing the city’s budget. Under what conditions would you support a tax increase.
I would look at all city departments to se if they can reduce their costs without cutting services. I would like to see if the city administrator and city clerks position could be combined. I would have no problem with a tax increase if it was to bring in a large business that provides good paying jobs. I would cut all unecessary spending and reduce property taxes.
9. What are the needs of the youth in Zimmerman, and what can be done about them?
I would like to see some type of youth center for the kids to hang out with their friends. (Video arcade & food) We have lots of empty businesses in town so a building is not the problem. The school district should play a role in finding someone to open this type of business.
10. How would you assess the level of partnership between the City of Zimmerman and other governmental agencies. Do you see a need for more collaboration, and, if so, where?
A good example of good cooperation between the city and county is the nice job done on County Road 4. (good work Dave Horvath and street crew). I think the city does a good job in sharing resources with the county and state. I see no need for a change.
11. What needs to be done to support economic development in the City of Zimmerman?
The sky high water hookup fees for businesses must go away if we hope to attract good paying jobs to town. The City Administrator & Clerk must be proactive in attracting new businesses to town. If it takes tax breaks to bring new good paying jobs to Zimmerman “bring it on.”
12. What would you like to be able to say about Zimmerman in 10 years that can’t be said now?
I would like to hear a factory whistle at shift change from a large business employing 100 or more people. I would lik to see a huge rush hour traffic coming out of our industrial park.