Q&A with Ward 1 incumbent Bill Palmquist
• Age: 50
• Address: 3466 St. Croix Trail S., Afton
• Occupation: Independent insurance agent
• Education: Bachelor's of arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1988
• Family: Married with two children, ages 16 and 13
• Years lived in Afton: 13
• Civic involvement: Currently serving on the Afton City Council, member of nonprofit Afton 4th of July Parade Committee, Lower St. Croix Partnership Team, Afton Emergency Management committee, council liaison to the Park Committee and Heritage Preservation Commission
Why are you running for City Council?
I am seeking re-election to the Afton City Council for several reasons. First and foremost because we have a good working group on the council that is getting the work of the city done in an efficient and thoughtful way.
This is a welcome place for us to be, and I do not take it for granted.
We are working on long-term planning for our road infrastructure, as well as open-space preservation and protections for our natural environment. I would like to see these plans through to completion.
What are the biggest issues or challenges Afton faces?
Preservation of open space, protection of ground and surface water, long-range planning for aging road infrastructure.
How do you plan to address these issues?
We have taken several steps to lessen the pressure to develop our rural areas. We are in the process of completing a public/private high-speed internet access plan so areas with poor or no service are connected. As quality internet access has become increasingly important for our students to complete homework and residents who work from home; it was necessary to find a solution when it became apparent the private sector on its own would not, due to our low densities. By solving this problem with a public/private partnership, the pressure to create the densities required to improve service was removed.
We are also ready to break ground on the water quality and infrastructure project in the Old Village area to replace septic systems in the floodplain that are currently having a negative impact on the St. Croix River. The city worked with partners at the state, county and watershed levels to obtain significant grant funding, with the remainder of the costs for the communal septic system being paid by the benefiting homes and businesses. By solving this problem ourselves, Afton is ensuring we are being good stewards of the environment, but also ensuring we remain in control of our development pattern.
Lastly we are working on a detailed road infrastructure plan, with reliable funding, to meet our obligations over the long term. When complete, this will ensure residential roadways remain in good repair for the foreseeable future. By implementing this plan we are again removing a pressure to develop rural areas by eliminating the specter of potential roadway assessments which occur when road conditions deteriorate and the city does not have adequate resources for reconstruction. In a community with so few houses per road mile, assessments of this kind lead to immense pressure to subdivide property. Ensuring the city is prepared is not only good fiscal policy, it meets the stated goal of our Comprehensive Plan to protect and preserve open-space.
Any other thoughts?
I have enjoyed representing the residents of Ward 1 in Afton, and ask for their support on Nov. 8, and during the next four years, as we build on the progress we are making as a city.