I graduated from St. John’s University with a bachelor’s degree in management. In 1996, a partner and I started Payne Lynch and Associates, a transportation brokerage business. We built an office in Sartell and grew and operated that business until 2006 when we were acquired by C.H. Robinson, which maintains a presence in Sartell today. From 2007-10, I had the honor of serving on the Sartell City Council. In 2011, I re-entered the transportation business, co-founding Granite Logistics Services, which operates as an agent for Trinity Logistics. We just broke ground on a new 13,000-square-foot building in south Sartell which we hope will be our home for the next decade.
Briefly, why are you qualified to serve on the city council?
I have a familiarity with city government from having served on the city council from 2007-10. I’m proud of my record of having advocated for wise spending and lower taxes and having never missed a regular council meeting during that term. More importantly, for the past two decades I’ve been involved with the leadership, management and governance of many organizations, large and small, in central Minnesota. I have a proven track record of bringing people together, working toward common goals and achieving results.
After years of talk about creating a community center in Sartell, how do you envision such a center and where should it be built (or repurposed)? What kinds of facilities should be included in the center? Should it be paid for entirely with half-cent sales-tax revenue?
These are all good questions with no easy answers. Despite “years of talk,” there has yet to develop a real consensus on what such a facility should include or where it should be located. Exactly where it goes likely depends on whether it becomes primarily a meeting area, or includes a more active recreation component. That being said, a community resource facility of some sort is the only project approved by voters in the 2006 sales-tax extension that has not yet been funded. The council has $.6 million allocated toward such a project. We know that won’t get everything all Sartell residents want, but we should move forward on something. I believe a senior center has to be a priority in that project, along with some multi-purpose areas that can be utilized as needed.
Do you have any new ideas on how to establish a “Downtown Sartell?” What amenities should such an area contain?
This is an idea that’s been on the drawing board for a long time, but not a lot has happened, namely because it will take private-sector investment that so far hasn’t been there. CentraCare just recently announced a major senior-housing project right in the heart of the proposed “downtown” area, and this could likely spur more growth. The best thing Sartell can do to promote further development in this area is court private developers and let them know the city will proactively work with them to see this area built out. Exactly what “amenities” develop, apart from city-owned facilities, is largely a function of partnering with private entities with the means to make things happen.
If the half-cent sales tax is extended, how should Sartell’s share of it be spent? Please be specific as to the kinds of projects.
If the sales tax is extended, 50 percent will be dedicated to roads, and 50 percent will go to other community projects. I think without question the transportation challenges need to be addressed first.
Pinecone Road between 2nd Street S. and 7th Street N. is in terrible condition, especially in winter. The rest of the road is in need of upgrades. This is a major thoroughfare in Sartell, and we can’t let it deteriorate further. We also have a very dangerous intersection at CR and LeSauk Drive that has very large traffic volumes. We must find a way to improve safety and traffic flows in that area.
As for the other 50 percent, there seems to be desire on the part of many residents to have some sort of outdoor pool, something not available immediately with the proposed regional aquatics facility.
What are the biggest challenges as Sartell continues to grow? And what are the greatest strengths/weaknesses related to that growth?
Without question the biggest challenge related to growth is, how do you pay for everything? If we build predominantly residential, that will continue to be an issue. The key is to attract more commercial development, which pay higher taxes and generally use fewer services. Sartell has to have an attractive tax/cost structure and a business-friendly approach. Every Sartell resident benefits when we have commercial entities that pay taxes, jobs, and provide goods and services we want.
Which city services, if any, would you trim or eliminate entirely if a severe budget crisis should happen?
This sounds like a simple question but is really very complex. What is the nature of the crisis, just how severe is it, is it likely to be short or long-term? I was on the council when the ’08-09 crisis occurred, so I understand the difficulties that can be presented. We took an approach then that looked at everything, and we made cuts of even a few hundred dollars. If we prioritize, are pragmatic and don’t panic, we can make it through a crisis.
Former Sartell City Council member Pat Lynch announced he will again run for a council seat.