Schottmuller: Use past experience for future of city
Editor's note: This Q&A is part of a series detailing Newport City Council candidates. Find the rest of the responses here.
- Age: 65
- Education: Bachelor of Science degree from University of Minnesota
- Family: Married with three adult children and four grandkids
- Occupation: RN at United Hospital
Why should you be elected?
Newport right now has deteriorating city services. Our parks, city hall and fire hall are in need of significant investments. Our property taxes are too high. Clearly, the city is not being run well. It is going to take people with knowledge, experience and, frankly, the right attitude to turn this situation around. I have all that.
I was on the council before, for 12 years, during the very challenging (Interstate) 494 bridge and Highway 61 construction. I have nine years experience on county commissions. My 41 years as a hospital registered nurse has taught me critical thinking skills: How to correctly analyze the problem, knowledge of best practices for solutions and looking constantly for ways to improve performance and outcomes.
What skills and qualifications would you bring to public office?
In addition to experience and problem-solving skills, I bring a genuine appreciation of small-town Newport and a desire to preserve all that is unique about my town. I firmly believe that city business is public business and must be conducted openly and publicly. Neighborhood concerns must be treated respectfully instead of dismissed. I'm comfortable with opposing views and always interested in how others think. I strive for middle ground.
How should the city approach future commercial and residential development?
We need a plan, for goodness sake! Right now it is all scattershot and hits and misses. We need a marketing plan that targets the type of development Newport needs and enhances our town. Residential developments must conform to our zoning and ordinances. Houses are being built on lots narrower than allowed by ordinance. Mayor Lund wants to build multifamily housing in our single-family homes only zones. I totally disagree.
What can the city do to combat the high tax rate?
Expand our commercial tax base. Quit wasting money on foolish projects like the mayor's river dock that no one can use. We need to make sure we have the staff with the right skills to market the city and attract quality development. We need to cultivate cooperative efforts and partnerships with other government entities and organizations.