Name: Jim Dahl (aka James Dahl)
Family: An amazing wife, five independent children and nine grandchildren
Employment: I am an entrepreneur, artist and business consultant
Background qualifications: I am a highly skilled and successful businessman. I have highly developed planning, research, negotiating and arbritation skills needed in all facets of business. I was mayor of St. Stephen from 2005-2008. I have been appointed to the numerous committees and boards in Stearns County, which has provided enhanced information and ideas from neighboring communities.
What, in your opinion, is the major issue facing St. Stephen?
In observing and analyzing the council minutes for the past four years, it became obvious the one major issue facing all of us in St. Stephen is the total lack of leadership on the council in being able to prioritize and implement a vision for the city, which corresponds with the city’s comprehensive plan. Practically no work has been initiated to implement any of the needed changes as outlined in the CP.
How would you address that issue, if elected?
If I’m asked to serve again by the residents, I would immediately meet with all elected and appointed members of the city to determine exactly what their respective needs, concerns and issues are in order that the planning and future implementation of the vision (CP) might again become a strong, effective working goal. I would also reopen communications with our neighbors in Brockway and LeSauk townships, which have been effectively lost these past four years, in order that we might again be able to work toward common needs and goals.
Without addressing the development of leadership, along with reimplementing an improved planning and budgeting process, nothing more than a Band Aid can be applied to all the needed present and future infrastructure needs.
Do you think city taxes are too high, too low or just about right?
On the matter of taxes, the existing council would not have been able to maintain the status quo if the council in 2004-2008 had not had the foresight to save and prioitize spending for the downturn which was on the horizon. The possibility of losing local government aid was real and is still with us today. Unfortunately, the present council saw fit to spend the vast majority of our reserve on C-rated projects.
The St. Stephen area has a desire to maintain its rural small-town nature by continuing to integrate agriculture within the city and giving the individual residents the ability to minimize the related costs of sewer and water.
What is St. Stephen’s greatest strength? Its greatest weakness?
St. Stephen’s greatest weakness is the overall apathy that has occurred for whatever reason. St. Stephen has many, many qualified persons who are capable of serving in various capacities but who have given up hope of participating in the decision-making process of city and school districts. Case in point being the current school-board election where there is no candidate from St. Stephen even on the ballot.
If you could wave a magic wand, what would you most like to make happen in St. Stephen?
For St. Stephen to prosper and achieve its vision, old and new must be implemented and can only be achieved if the residents actively become involved. They must learn and be assured the two-letter word NO is not meant to be forever, nor is it a rejection of themselves, but simply not appropriate at this time.