At the start of the new year, many people set goals. The Red Wing City Council is doing the same as the members adjust to new dynamics. In interviews this week, members said they look forward to working together on projects for the city.
Setting goals for the coming year and adjusting to those new dynamics were on the agenda for a seven-hour workshop held Friday, Jan. 13.
“We are just starting out with the new council,so I’m hoping we can come together and work together on projects and create a unity on the council for the residents, Council President Kim Beise said. “That is what we are elected for and we need to work together.”
There will be a lot to talk about.
“Friday will be the first time we are able to sit down at a workshop and talk, so I’m looking forward to this workshop which is one of many that we will have over the next few months,” Beise said. “I’m looking forward to discussing and hearing the other council members' thoughts so that we can come together on these things.”
Council members said they were hopeful that positive developments and changes will take place over the course of the year.
Anticipation for some changes on the council are on some of the members minds going into the new year.
“Common sense approach to anything is always a good idea when it comes to decision making,” council member Don Kliewer said. “Some of the things staff have been working on for many years are hard to pull the plug on, but I think we will see more cautious decision-making about spending for the public's sake.”
Throughout the year the council will discuss plans for the future and how to move forward.
“I’m looking forward to working together to find ways to maintain what we have currently in the city, we don’t want to cut anything if we don’t have to,” Beise said. “I’m looking forward to making Red Wing even better than it is today.”
In the past year, a number of redevelopment projects are in the initial planning stages for downtown.
“There will be a lot of changes to downtown in the coming years, and it will be exciting to see how that plays out for the community,” council member Becky Norton added.
During the workshop the council will discuss ongoing plans like the 2040 Plan and other comprehensive plans. Moving forward with those goals is important to some council members.
“Our investments as a city in our city is a process that happens over many years and councils. We developed our 2040 plan in 2018, and I believe in its goals that were citizen built,” council member Even Brown said. “I continue to want to see progress on these goals in all aspects of the plan, housing, economic development, our environment, public safety, arts and culture, just to name some of the focus areas.”
Some council members called for keeping a closer eye on spending and discussing projects and their financial effect on the city before making decisions.
“My high level goals are to find areas that we can reduce spending, that is a big one and just prioritize spending and focus on our needs,” council member Ron Goggin said. “The city is beautiful, and it looks really nice, and I think as far as tourism goes we have a healthy tourism industry, and we can’t keep spending there.”
Council member Janie Farrar echoed the need to hold spending in check.
“I want us to closely scrutinize all spending, and consider ways we can decrease property taxes for our residents and business owners,” Farrar said.
New members are adapting to their new leadership positions and are hoping to attain goals as a group.
“I have had one official meeting, and I want to see continued cooperation and open and honest communication among council members and the public,” Vicki Jo Lambert said.
Farrar added, “The staff has been extremely welcoming and helpful. I’ve been meeting with many different departments, a highlight was the water treatment plant where I learned about the intricate science of all it takes to have clean water come out of my shower.”
The council members have stated that they are committed to working together, finding solutions and having open discussions about future plans and projects.
“I’m looking forward to working with others on the council, there is a bit of a new dynamic, and I really want to focus on issues and not personalities. We can all learn from each other, and we can learn from each other's ideas,” Goggin said.
Brown added, “I am hoping for an atmosphere that encourages growth in our community, with ideas and solutions to the issues to help that growth happen, based on a clear understanding of how those investments work to make our community thrive.”
This will be a learning experience.
“There are seven individuals looking at issues and one of the things I enjoy is learning in real time and shaping our decisions together,” Norton said. “Very often someone will bring something forward that I have not considered and getting to do that is really fun.”
Each of the council members has expressed their thanks and appreciation for the city staff and department heads.
“I am so impressed by the professionals that work for our community. We are very fortunate to have such competence on our staff, and I am so impressed with each and every one of them,” Lambert said.
“Talking with the staff and department heads so far they are all very passionate about doing a great job and they are all very willing to work with the council,” Goggin added.
Each council member has made a commitment to representing their wards and the people of Red Wing and they plan to live up to that commitment.
“I’m eager to represent the voice of the people that I represent and bring their voices forward,” Lambert said.
Farrar said, “The concern may be that there’s division, but I know we are all unified in the goal of working to strengthen Red Wing. It will take time to build trust. The more we develop relationships and see the skills that each person brings, the greater things we can accomplish as a council for the community.
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