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Afton City Council Q&A: Bill Palmquist (incumbent)

Age: 47

City: Afton

Education: Bachelor of arts from the University of Wisconsin

Occupation: Insurance broker

Family: Married with two children, ages 12 and 9

Civic involvement: Comprehensive Advisory Board in 2007; elected to City Council in 2008; chair of Parks Committee; member of Emergency Management Committee; liaison to Heritage Preservation/Design Review Committee; volunteer on Fourth of July Parade Planning Committee.

The Bulletin asked Afton City Council candidates the following questions:

Q: What do you see as the major issues facing Afton?

A: Long-term planning to preserve open space and the protection of our natural environment are critical issues facing Afton. We are on our way to dealing with stormwater treatment before it reaches the St. Croix River as well as improving our aging flood protection. These are positive steps forward, both for the environment and for our residents and business community. Over the next four years we need to continue to work with our partners at the state and county to see these projects through, while exploring creative ways to preserve open space and rural lifestyle that make Afton unique.

Q: How would you like to see the city's flood mitigation project progress?

A: We have a multi-year timeline to complete the project in phases. It is my hope we can get the lift station and stormwater trunk line in place within two years as this will greatly improve our ability to handle spring flooding and large rain events. A large portion of the city drains through the Old Village area. Our city engineer and city administrator manage this project in the context of multiple programs and goals. The actual timing will be based on achieving maximum efficiencies with minimal disruptions for businesses and residents.

Q: How do you think the city should manage development?

A: The comprehensive plan we just approved lays out our vision for future development, which maintains our overall one house per 10 acre density and encourages use of the Minnesota Land Trust as a partner to preserve open space and keep agricultural land in production.

Q: What are your views on the city's handling of taxpayer dollars?

A: Overall I am happy with our record of keeping taxes low while maintaining quality city services. Afton has a large bond payment from a street paving project that increases each year. We have to deal with that increase every budget cycle. However we have been diligent in keeping any increases beyond that small, and for 2012 had a zero percent increase above the level needed to keep pace with the bond payment. Within our budget we are also finding ways to increase funding for street reconstruction to get us to a level that will fully fund our street revitalization plans.

Q: Why are you running?

A: I decided to seek re-election for several reasons. When I first ran I wanted to see us address some long overdue infrastructure improvements, which we have begun. I would like to see these projects through to completion. I wanted to see us approve a sound comprehensive plan, which we accomplished. Now, I would like to see it implemented. But most importantly, I wanted to see the tone of our city politics change. It has. I believe we are headed in the right direction, and I would like to continue to be a part of this process.

Bill Palmquist is the incumbent for Afton City Countil's Ward 1 seat.