1. Why are you running for office at this time?
2. What skills and strengths do you bring to the council and city? What should people know about you and your qualifications for this office?
3. What makes you most proud of your city?
4. What do you feel are the top three challenges for the city today, and how would you suggest resolving them?
5. What do you believe should be top spending priorities for the city’s limited funds?
MAYOR (1 two-year term) with 2 candidates: Brent Bengtson (incumbent) and Michael Kalahar
COUNCIL (2 four-year terms) with 3 candidates: Janice Sheets (incumbent, Michael T. Kleven, and Dan Thielen (incumbent)
Brent Bengtson (mayor)
1. Over the course of my two terms, I have found serving my community to be very rewarding. Seeing things that you have made an impact on brings a sense of pride which drives me to want to continue on. I have been blessed that the people of Eden Valley have given me the opportunity to serve them today and hopefully for many more years to come.
2. I grew up with the idea that you only spend what you have. Approach things with civility and respect for other viewpoints, which in turn allows you to establish a working relationship to get things done. To successfully run a city takes a team of my fellow council members and our dedicated city staff to come together to make decisions that best benefits the city. Most of all, only create rules that you yourself are willing to live under.
3. I consider Eden Valley a very close-knit community where pride and compassion run deep.
4. a. Workforce housing: With a very tight housing supply I would work with housing developers and land owners to kick off new developments.
b. Infrastructure: Continue to execute our long-term capital improvement plan to replace our aging infrastructure.
c. Economic development: Work with other members of our local EDA board to improve how we can use our economic development tools to attract new business along with help existing ones expand.
5. It is the city’s job to provide public safety, city employees, Ifrastructure, economic development. While all are very important to running a city, I would consider these top four things are a priority.
Michael Kalahar (mayor)
1. I am running for office to give Eden Valley a fresh set of eyes and opinion. I would like the opportunity to give back to the community that I live in and am raising my children in.
2. I am a passionate person who is also a good listener. I enjoy listening to different ideas on how to improve our community while still assertive with my opinion on what I think will benefit the community best.
I’m a people person. I have an extensive military background which includes both the United States Marine Corps as well as the Army National Guard.
3. I’m proud of the ability to keep our small town, closely knit community while still open to welcoming new members and businesses.
4. The three improvements I would like to see are:
a. growth of the community: to bring in a community development specialist to start taking steps to grow Eden Valley.
b. affordable housing and available rentals; this is a dual effort by the community development specialist.
c. updating the city to make it more appealing to new businesses and members.
5. Economic development to bring in and keep businesses would be my number one priority because this will then in turn help the city grow and bring more money in to help with affordable housing.
Janice Sheets (council)
1. I have been on the council for four years. It takes the four years to understand the workings of a city. I want to continue learning how to make our city a place where families can live, work, and play.
2. I have been very active in Citizens For Progress, Eden Valley Area Library, Meals on Wheels, Friederichs Park Board, MidSummer Blast, the Eden Valley Chamber, and the Meeker/Renville/Kandiohi Transit Board. I have learned to work with different issues and budgets. Being able to agree to disagree on topics, working together as a team to solve problems, to look at each issue separately to come to a proper decision.
3. To see the improvements that have been made to our city, new businesses opening, a re-do of our main street, and working on updating infrastructure. But being on a city council that works together to get projects done, along with the citizens who back up our decisions, has been very fulfilling.
4. a. Balancing our budget. This was a challenge this year to do the 2019 budget, with the price of goods going up and less money coming in, and trying not to increase taxes. I feel we did a good job of continuing to give good service to our residents.
b. To keep working on our 10-year city plan. There is a plan in place to prioritize projects. How much money may be needed for each project. We work together with our engineer to plan each year what should be looked at next.
c. To bring in affordable and workforce housing. We have been working on this for the past three years. We just need to keep searching for a company that will be willing to work with us.
5. This is not a fair question. As always, street/water/sewer/police/employees are at the top of the list. We have special committees that work on economic development, housing, and parks, etc. The funding for these projects are generally grants or private donations. We try to work in dollars when needed. The Library has their own funding.
Michael T. Kleven (council)
[did not return questionnaire]
Dan Thielen (council)
1. I would like to continue to be involved in making Eden Valley a better place to live and to do business.
2. I have been involved in Eden Valley City government since 1991. This experience will help me make good decisions for the city going into the future. With my experience with owning and managing a business in Eden Valley, I feel I have the knowledge to work with people and make good business decisions for the City
3. Eden Valley is a good, friendly city, with a good school system and businesses that employ people from Eden Valley and the surrounding area.
4. a. Housing: I think we need to work with some developers to encourage the building of affordable housing, apartments and some upscale senior housing.
b. Business and Industry: Work with our existing businesses and attract new business.
c. Trails: Build walking and bike trails in the city for recreation and walking zones for students.
5. Continue to improve our aging infrastructure and streets. Support our city employees, police department & emergency services.