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Ottertail mayor, city council candidates profiled

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Ottertail's current mayor, Raymond "Ole" Mounts will be running for mayor again this Nov. 4. Also filing for the mayor's position is current city councilman Terry Wagenman. The Perham Enterprise Bulletin did not receive a candidate profile and questionnaire from Wagenman.

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Following are the candidate's profiles.

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Raymond Mounts

Occupation, work experience:

I am a retired home builder and mail carrier.

Except for a little time for Uncle Sam's Army, I have lived in the Ottertail area all of my life. Most of our family lives near here too.

I belong to the Ottertail Rod and Gun Club. Most of my volunteer time is for the city, cutting brush, maintenance, weed control, etc.

I am a member of the Ottertail area clean water board. Our next big project for the city will be upgrading our on-site sewer systems. I have some training in that area.

Like other cities, our main concern is the economy. We are growing, which is fine, but we must be careful not to tax the residents, farmers, and businesses out of Ottertail to pay for growth.

My plan was to retire, but people don't think that it is the time for change.

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Don Patrick

Occupation, work experience:

Retired, previously owned Ottertail Home Center and Hardware for 9 years; Economic Development Director for city of Brookings, SD; Chief Engineer, Sales Manager and General Manager of Hydraulic Equipment manufacturing plants. On launch team for Early Saturn V- Apollo launches to moon.

Brief biography:

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering 1962, post graduate course in Financial Management and City Planning 1996-1998. Member of Ottertail Lions, Ottertail City Council 1999-present, President Zion Lutheran Church 2008, United Way volunteer 1994-present, Lakeland Hospice Board of Directors 2005-2007, Ottertail City Planning Committee 2004-present.

What do you feel are the city's top priorities or objectives at his time?

Establish a monitoring system for septic systems within the city. Continue updating ordinances to current situations. Expand fund to handle maintenance and repair of water system.

What, if any, concerns do you have with the city now, and what ideas would you bring to the table as a council member?

As a long-term council member, I continue to be concerned that we make consistent decisions and operate the city on the most cost efficient basis possible.

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Heather Pollard

Occupation, work experience:

I am a licensed social worker with the Otter Tail Department of Human Services and work with families, children, and vulnerable adults in Otter Tail County. This job entails many responsibilities including organizing multi-disciplinary response teams to service vulnerable adults and children in need. For six years I have held this position.

Brief biography: Education, background, volunteer work, organizations, civic groups, family information, etc.

I was raised in eastern Otter Tail County and graduated from Perham High School. After attending Oral Roberts University I received a BA in Social Work. For the past five years, I have lived in Ottertail city and own a home here. Much of my volunteer work has been in Africa where I worked in schools and orphanages in South Africa. In Zambia, I helped to improve living conditions for children as I assisted their social service agency. Locally, I have also participated in fundraising efforts for Kinship, Someplace Safe, Prevent Child Abuse in Minnesota and children's hospitals.

What do you feel are the city's top priorities or objectives at this time?

Two top priorities would be to strengthen Ottertail's economy by promoting healthy and sound commercial and residential growth and to consistently uphold the variance and zoning standards as established by the Ottertail City Council. Other important objectives would be to support the beautification of the city and to provide safety for its citizens.

What, if any, concerns do you have with the city now, and what ideas would you bring to the table as a council member?

There needs to be uniformity in enforcing the current zoning ordinances and granting of variances. At the same time, zoning should not be so restrictive that it inhibits business and population growth. 

As a new council member, I would bring my experience in grant writing and implementation, my fiscally conservative views, and my familiarity with Otter Tail County government. As a younger member of Ottertail's population,­ my fresh ideas and open-minded perspectives would also benefit the council. I am committed to serving Ottertail City and making it the best possible place to live and work. 

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Michael Windey

Occupation, work experience:

In 2007, I retired from the position of Community Recreation Center Director which I held for 39 years with the city of St. Paul. As a past EMT, I volunteered 12 years with Friendship Ambulance Service which specialized in sporting events and community disaster response. I remain certified with the American Red Cross as a First Aid and CPR instructor.

Biography:

United States Navy veteran; U of Mn AA degree, and BS degree in Parks and Rec Administration; AFSCME Council 5, Local 1842 in executive offices, contract negotiations, and steward training; volunteer with community councils and business associations in St. Paul; celebrating 25 years of marriage and 2 children with college degrees; Ottertail property owner since 1995.

What do you feel are the city's top priorities or objectives at this time?

The city of Ottertail needs to maintain its strength of community with responsible management of funds; be good managers of our environment (especially our land and water resources); and to work with the county and state government to provide and enhance services for our residents.

What, if any, concerns do you have with the city now, and what ideas would you bring to the table as a council member?

I am very concerned about the loss of businesses and increased unemployment in Ottertail. We need to work together with business and private groups to encourage and support the growth and success of small business.

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Jeffery "JJ" Spanswick

Work:

I was honorably discharged, after serving 6 years in the United States Navy. I have been an electrician for the past 22 years. My wife and I currently own and operate Ottertail Electric and Buchanan Lake Storage.

Biography:

I am a 1974 graduate of Henning High School and a 1987 Graduate of Wadena Technical College. I have been an active member of Ottertail Fire and Rescue for the last 10 years; and have been the secretary for the past 4 years. I am the co-chair of the Ottertail Chapter of Ducks Unlimited. I am a member of NFIB, Ottertail Business Association. I volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Otter Demo Derby, Otterfest, Smokin Iron and Otterdazzle.

I have been married to my wife, Krista for 25 years and we have four children, Jennifer 31, Marissa 12, Kimberly 9 and Dayton 5.

City's top priorities:

I feel the city should strive to keep property taxes affordable and maintain our balanced budget without additional tax burdens to our residents. I also feel that the city must make our water project self-supportive.

Concerns or ideas:

As a returning council member I would continue to support park expansion in 3 Lakes Retreat development or Deer Run Estates.

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