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Woodbury City Council Q&A: Julie Ohs

Julie Ohs

Candidate bio:

Age: 52

Education background: Bachelor’s in psychology, masters in management from the University of Minnesota

Family: Married with two adult children

Community involvement: Founding and current member of Woodbury Yellow Ribbon Network, eight-year member of SWCTC Telecommunications Commission, volunteer at church and other local and global initiatives

Editor’s note: The Bulletin posed the following questions to candidates. Candidates’ responses follow in their own words.

Why are you running for Woodbury City Council?

I am running for another term because I enjoy serving on the council and I want to continue to be involved in building the future of this amazing community. I want to represent all the residents on all the issues. I have the decision making skills, leadership skills required for the city council. I have a proven record of fiscal responsibility and inclusive decision making. I would focus on our commitment to quality development, robust parks and trails and excellent city services, especially our public safety department. I will strive to keep taxes low while maintaining high service levels.

What do you see as the most pressing issues facing the city in the next four years? How do you plan to address them?

Our failing roads. During the recession spending was lowered on roadway rehabilitation, this decision was made to help the residents in tough economic times. The council had a task force to determine how to repair our roads. I eagerly await their final report so we can decide how to proceed. Having not seen the report yet, I don’t know how I will recommend we proceed. I envision a mix of assessments and use of reserve funds. I am even more committed to road rehabilitation after spending $1,011 to repair my car after hitting a pothole (in another community) last weekend.

What should be done to address future groundwater supply problems in the east metro, specifically in the growing suburb of Woodbury?

While there is no immediate threat to our supply, responsible water conservation practices are critical. Excessive watering is a top target, we enacted tiered water rates several years ago to discourage over watering. We have also been proactive in partnering with neighboring communities and engaging with regional decision makers to work on solutions to this issue rather than allowing the DNR to dictate a solution. The city is conserving by using storm water to water the fields at Bielenberg and at the golf course. We have also worked to educate our residents on the issue and how important conservation is.

Do you support or oppose the Gateway Corridor project? Explain.

I am neither in support of or opposed to the Gateway Corridor project. I am not convinced there is enough density to sustain it. To me it seems more of an urban mode of transportation, not so much a suburban one. Having said that, the population growth expected along the corridor is expected to increase 40 percent by 2030 and MnDOT has no major expansion plans. I do agree with the locally preferred alternative selection BRT rather than LRT and I do think it is imperative that we keep our current express bus service.

Do you think firearm hunting should continue to be allowed in parts of Woodbury? Why or why not?

Most of Woodbury is designated as no hunting. There are still a few areas where hunting is allowed. The public safety department monitors the hunting map and closes off more areas as development occurs. Hunters are required to have landowner permission and must have a permit obtained from public safety. I am supportive of landowner rights and the Second Amendment. As a council member I rely on the information provided by the public safety department and try to balance that information with other aspects of the issue.