Editor’s Note: Elkhart City Council candidate Chad Rumbaugh (incumbent) and Huxley City Council candidate Marge Nerness (incumbent) both were sent questionnaires. Neither submitted their responses by the deadline that was specified.

CITY OF ELKHART

Name: Ron Adams

Age: 53

Number of years you have lived in the community: 51

Occupation: Self-employed mechanic

Family members: Single

What things - clubs, activities, special events - have you been involved in within your community?

Elkhart City Council. 1995 Elkhart Memorial Park committee

What goals would you have as a council member?

Make sure that those holding positions are qualified and best fit for the profitability and future growth of our city. Development of an additional parkers and growth of the city.

What specific issues need to be addressed in your community?

Work on city park #2 and expansion of sports complex. To get city, fire department and all city committees on the same page.

Name: Michael Just

Age: 38

Number of years you have lived in the community: Six

Occupation: Consultant, Nationwide Insurance

Family members: Wife, Elsbeth, and two sons - Douglas, age 4, and William, age 1

What things - clubs, activities, special events - have you been involved in within your community?

In the past I’ve assisted the Elkhart Betterment Committee with multiple events.

What goals would you have as a council member?

My main goals are to encourage smart, responsible growth of our community, and to make sure that the residents are fully engaged and understanding the decisions being made by the City Council.

What specific issues need to be addressed in your community?

1. Well-planned growth. Other communities are growing around us and the only way to avoid being swallowed up is for us to grow, too. The growth of our community needs to be well planned, so that we have a good balance of residential and commercial growth, and to ensure that this is a community that will attract new residents.

2. Attracting businesses. This goes hand in hand with growth. We need to make Elkhart an appealing location for businesses to set up shop. Right now we have a fairly limited amount of space in our downtown district, so we need to use that space wisely and find new areas for businesses to grow.

Name: Brian Tyler Shipley Jr.

Age: 34

Number of years you have lived in community: Eight years

Occupation: Union Pacific Railroad – yard trainmen

Family members: Wife, Marie, of seven years; three boys - Hudson, 6, Peyton, 4, Dawson, 1; cat, Cali.

What things – clubs, activities, special events – have you been involved in within your community?

I am on the Parks and Rec committee and have been helping to plan and find funding for a new park in Elkhart. The park is called Prairie Pointe Park. I recently submitted an application on behalf of the city asking for $99,000 from Prairie Meadows Race Track and Casino. They have an annual betterment grant in which they fund community projects. I’m also looking into a grant with the city clerk, Jeanne Uhl, on getting funding for new trees from an Alliant Energy grant.

What goals would you have as a council member?

I want to be a good steward of the community. I want Elkhart residents to feel they have someone who cares about the community and who is looking out for their best interests. New parks help attract new families to the community and new families attract businesses. We have to plan for the future and find ways to grow. The more revenue that is generated from businesses and new homes, the more a city can do with lower tax rates.

What specific issues need to be addressed in your community?

Prairie Point Park is high on my list. The land that was donated last year by the developer has had a sign up for seven years, "Future Park." It’s time we made it a reality. Great strides have been taken, but there is a lot of planning, fundraising and city support needed to bring Prairie Pointe Park to reality.

CITY OF HUXLEY

Name: Kevin Deaton

Age: 47

Number of years you have lived in community: 30 years (combined), steadily for the last 24 years

Occupation: Emergency apparatus sales

Family members: wife, Robin; son, Jesse; daughter, Heather

What things – clubs, activities, special events – have you been involved in within your community?

I have served with Huxley Fire and Rescue for 17 years, eight years as fire chief, as well as the county 911 service board and the Story County Fire Chiefs Association.

What goals would you have as a council member?

I have tried to make a difference through the fire department for many years, but recently decided the only way to truly make changes would be as a council member.

I would like to see our community grow at a reasonable rate without taking away services or increasing the burden on our current citizens to bring in new ones, as well as develop ways to attract businesses and jobs to our community.

What specific issues need to be addressed in your community?

While I do not wish to disrespect any of our previous council members or administrations, I believe that taxation versus spending needs to be quickly addressed. Previous decisions have left us with some of the highest taxes in the area, yet I do not believe that all of the money spent benefits all of our citizens. I would like to work toward spending money where it is actually needed, rather than on what are perceived as "pet projects" or things that benefit only a few.

In short, as fire chief, I have seen all of the city department heads be asked to do more with less, while what is perceived by our citizens to be wasteful spending takes place. Therefore, I would work to stop these pet projects and wasteful spending and move those much-needed dollars toward what is actually needed and benefits everyone, without raising taxes or water rates, as well as ending the use of TIF to attract growth.

Name: Craig Hemmen

Age: 64

Number of years you have lived in community: Two

Occupation: Retired elementary school principal

Family members: Wife Jean, son Matthew (deceased), daughter Jessica Jimmerson

What things – clubs, activities, special events – have you been involved in within your community?

Member of the Trinity United Methodist Church, volunteering at the Slater Elementary School

What goals would you have as a council member?

My goals are to work as a team with other council members and the mayor to make informative decisions in regards to the city of Huxley. As a council member we need to keep spending in check and yet provide the best services for the citizens of Huxley.

What specific issues need to be addressed in your community?

As a new council member, I need to keep an open mind to proposals and needs presented to the council. I come in with a clean slate and no preconceived ideas. I am always willing to listen to other citizens of Huxley.

Name: Dave Kuhn

Age: 36

Number of years you have lived in community: 13 years

Occupation: Building inspector for the city of Urbandale

Family members: Wife, Amanda; daughter, Allison (4 years old)

What things – clubs, activities, special events – have you been involved in within your community?

I served on the Huxley Planning and Zoning Commission prior to serving on the Huxley City Council. I volunteered my time during Prairie Festival, coached for the local Parks and Rec program and served in our local church.

What goals would you have as a council member?

My primary goal continues to be to provide a responsive government that equally represents the people we serve. I believe that improving transparency in local government is one way to help accomplish this.

I believe it’s vital to continue to attract new businesses to our town and to help grow and support those that are here. New businesses benefit the city by not only providing services and jobs to the citizens, but also to help reduce the tax burden, which is carried largely through residential property taxes.

Finally, we need to provide an annual budget that meets the goals of the council and the needs of the departments without raising our tax levy.

What specific issues need to be addressed in your community?

The city’s roads and infrastructure are aging in areas of our community and will need to be addressed by the next City Council. The Main Avenue storm sewer project will address some of these issues and the funds to complete this project have been secured.

Public safety has always been a priority in Huxley, and a number of citizens have expressed concerns over increased traffic and a lack of sidewalks. Design and funding for a traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 69 and East First Street has been approved and that project should be completed in the next year. A comprehensive sidewalk program has been discussed in the past, and the next council will provide final direction for this project.

The city’s tax levy continues to be a primary concern for many citizens. Meeting the goals of the council, the needs of our departments and the desires of our citizens will always be a high priority, but I believe our budgets will need to do so without having to raise our taxes.

Name: Scott Wilson

Age: 40

Number of years you have lived in community: Eight

Occupation: Cabinetmaker and designer

Family members: Wife, Tami; daughters Abby and Amanda

What things – clubs, activities, special events – have you been involved in within your community?

Served on City Council since 2010

What goals would you have as a council member?

I would also like to continue to working toward increasing the commercial tax base. I believe Huxley’s location between Ames and Des Moines and its proximity to I-35, along with available commercial ground within the city, create some very good opportunities for attracting new business.

What specific issues need to be addressed in your community?

We need to continue to plan and fund projects to maintain and improve city infrastructure, and help facilitate sensible growth, while lessening our reliance on TIF funding.

Storm water management has also been an issue in recent years and finding a responsible way to deal with it that works for the residents of the community is something that continues to be worked on.