Name: Amy Braig Lindstrom
Family: Husband Matt, CSB/SJU professor. Children Isaac, 17; and Anna, 15, both Sartell High School students
Employment: Self-employed studio potter.
1. Please briefly share relevant background and experiences.
I have been a small business owner and community volunteer for 15 years. I have started farmers’ markets in upstate New York and Sartell. I went on an urban-planning sabbatical with my husband in northern Europe. I grew up in Dubuque, Iowa and made homes with my family in Flagstaff, Ariz. and Albany, N.Y. and now in Sartell. I bring a diverse perspective.
2. What, in your opinion, is the major issue facing Sartell?
Clearly, the paper mill’s closing, which illustrates how imperative it is Sartell has a more diverse economy and a dynamic vision for the future.
3. How would you address that issue, if elected?
Work closely with the city commissioners on economic planning to entice new businesses to Sartell. Economic and community planning needs to be proactive, and expanding the tax base with new businesses requires creative and bold leadership.
4. Please list your top five priorities for the City of Sartell from among the following (or you may add your own in addition to these options): road construction and repairs, public safety, economic
development, non-athletic recreation, culture and the arts, youth activities, river development, a city community center, the needs of senior citizens, athletic options, park developments, police
department needs, fire department needs, city staff development, city budget, the environment and more.
Some city services cannot be ranked; they need to be ongoing. Road maintenance, police and fire department needs and the city budget come to mind. That said, here are my rankings:
1. Comprehensive plan: put one in place as soon as possible. Until we know where we are going, nothing will get done. Do five-year and 10-year plans.
2. Yearly goal-setting for city council, using an outside facilitator, with doable and measurable goals. Working from this template, the city administrator will prioritize the work the staff does and how our tax dollars are used.
3. Economic development.
4. A city community center.
5. Culture and the arts: people need “bread” AND “roses.”
5. Do you support the development of a Sartell Community Center. When should it be built? Should it be developed in a current building? Which amenities should it contain? What percentage of such a project should be paid for with half-cent sales-tax revenues?
Yes. It should be built as soon as the city budget allows. All locations should be carefully considered, and one that makes the most economic sense for the city should be chosen. The center should have meeting rooms, the seniors’ book exchange, a game room, a certified kitchen, and a M.O.M.S. Club toy exchange. Our community-education offices could possibly locate there, freeing up space for more classrooms. Unless other funding sources are found, the entire project should be paid for with sales-tax revenues.
6. Do you think city taxes are too high, too low or just about right?
If you are talking just property taxes, then I would say “just right.” But if you are talking about all the fees that “tax” citizens in many other ways, like sewer, water, cable, licenses and more then some are probably too high and some are probably too low.
7. What “ideal” industry or function would you like to see on the site of the Verso paper mill?
It could be anything from a museum, a regional aquatic center, a global marketplace, a new industry or any combination. An ideal industry would be another paper mill. We must remember it is valuable riverfront property with a hydroelectric dam in place. Having a land-use assement seems to be a reasonable first step.
8. What is Sartell’s greatest strength? Its greatest weakness? If you could wave a magic wand, what would you most like to bring to Sartell?
Greatest strength: exceptional schools.
Greatest weakness: not capitalizing, economically and recreationally, on the Mississippi River.
Bring to Sartell: an outdoor, in-ground swimming pool, complete with slides, diving boards, lap lanes, surrounded by a park, with a concession stand.
9. Feel free to add any additional comments on any subject you choose.
The subject I choose is me, and why I would make a good addition to the city council.
1. I am a quick-study. I will do my homework to learn about issues facing the city.
2. I have a can-do mindset. I don’t believe in dithering around, but instead collecting all the relevant information and moving ahead, slowly but surely.
3. I am collaborative. I welcome speaking to citizens and gathering ideas from others.
4. I have a “personal consulting team” who will help me with the hard questions: a husband who teaches political science at SJU; a brother-in-law who is mayor of Falcon Heights; a mother who is on the Dubuque, Iowa City Council; and a father-in-law who is a lawyer and judge. And I have you, the residents of Sartell, whom I hope I can count on for feedback, as we work together to make our town the state‘s best city in which to work, live and play.