City Council - Ward 3 Candidate: William Stark
Q: Please list your background and specific qualifications for this position.
A: I graduated from high school and attended Alexandria Technical College. I worked in advanced sales for 10 years and have extensive training in sales and marketing. I was a volunteer fireman and EMT. I worked in the health care field in a nursing home.
I am currently self-employed and have been for the past 25 years in both the trucking and construction industry. I presently own rental and investment properties in Alexandria.
Being a resident of Alexandria who pays taxes here, shops here and owns a business and property qualifies me for this position.
Q: What would you view as the biggest challenge facing Alexandria right now and how would you deal with it?
A: The budget is a prime concern as all expenditures have to be offset with revenue. If there isn't enough revenue projected, then it results in an increase in levy. Enough is enough. When does the spending stop? I am very concerned about the impact of all the current and impending development in the southwest corner of Ward 3: the new high school, a large apartment complex and an impending HUD development including Knute Nelson's Grand Arbor. There will be a host of public safety issues that will need to be addressed during the construction phase and after the completion of these projects. This challenge will need the full attention of the entire city council and the emergency management system.
We need new ideas and new concepts to evaluate the issues currently facing the city council, and having new people involved will stimulate conversation and thinking.
Q: What are your feelings about having an event center in the city? How much involvement should the city have in such a project?
A: The city is participating financially in a feasibility study to determine the advantages and disadvantages of an event center. I don't think the city should be spending taxpayer dollars on this particular project at this time. Any studies probably should be done by private business interests and private business dollars. When the results of the feasibility study are completed, the findings of this study should be presented to the city council.
Q: Is Alexandria doing enough to keep local property taxes low? What are some specific cost saving ideas you have for the budget?
A: No. At this time, the city of Alexandria is on a "spend and tax" mode. They spend and we get taxed. I do not have access to all of the information needed to make an informed opinion about what I would do to cut the budget. However, I would suggest we cut back wherever feasible so we can do a comprehensive study to evaluate each department to show us where the strengths and weaknesses of these departments lie and then work with each department head to streamline and develop a more cost-effective city government.
Q: Is Alexandria drawing enough high-paying jobs to the area? What are your ideas for improvement?
A: We have a great manufacturing base, an expanding medical community, a strong service industry, a farming industry, but we are letting our construction industry down. I feel we should evaluate the need to get a city permit two miles outside the city limits, in addition to a county permit. By eliminating the two-mile limit permit, the county will take care of their permit issues outside of the city limits. By adjusting permit fees within the city, we can get our local contractors and their employees back to work in building new and remodeling existing homes with the city limits. As the city ordinance now reads, it will cost up to $8,000 in permits to build a new house within the city limits.