"I'm running for the office of mayor of Mantorville because I want to serve my neighbors and to be their first level of government access," Chuck Bradford said, by way of explaining why he is running for mayor of the town where he and his wife Abby have lived for ten years.
He grew up in Cedar Falls, near Waterloo, Iowa, and graduated from Cedar Falls High School. He worked in his dad's bearing distributorship during his high school years and then attended Iowa State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
He worked in a seed corn company north of Des Moines in research and development where he helped develop software for harvest vehicles. He moved to Mankato where he lived for ten years making software for several startup companies as well as established companies.
He got a job with IBM and he and Abby and their son Spencer, who is now four, bought a house in Mantorville. He is now an independent consultant in software and firmware engineering. He has been a member of the city council for four years.
"I have been working closely with the mayor," he said. "One of the things I really like about Mantorville is the volunteerism - the willingness of people to chip in and help with everything. If it gets done in Mantorville, it almost always doesn't get done without volunteers. We have good city employees, but at times they are stretched pretty thin and the volunteers fill in the gaps. That's wonderful to see. to see. A prime example is the dog park, which is being built with donations. It looks like it's going to happen."
He said that one of the assets of the community, as he sees it, is its richness - the physical reminders of its history, including the courthouse, the Hubbell House, the brewery ruins and the period correct houses.
"The challenge of Mantorville is to maintain these assets and to promote economic development," he said. "I love Mantorville. It's an honor to represent the people in this community. I feel that the spirit of belonging in Mantorville is so strong that the sense of 'neighbor' extends beyond the conventional sense and is woven throughout the community."
He added that he is running for office because he wants to serve his neighbors and to be their voice for the first level of government access - for city concerns and a liaison between the citizens and the state legislature.
"It would be an honor to serve as their mayor," he said.
On a thoughtful note he asked himself the question, "Does the city need MORE new taxes?"
He explained that Luke Nash, the current mayor, pushed through a new 'fee' which was added to everyone's gas and electric bills. Nash said it was needed for the new wastewater treatment plant, which will cost about two to three million dollars.
"With the reduction in Legislative Government Aid and the recent elimination to Market Value Credit, the city must now be more creative with ways to finance such large projects," Bradford said.
As a city council member, Bradford recently suggested three good options to create the same amount of revenue as the new fee, but which would not raise taxes.
Option 1: Property that the city currently uses for storage could be rented to startup businesses.
Option 2: Establish a lease agreement for a cell tower. Neither option raises taxes or creates a new tax. The city would simply offer services to businesses, while would be better equipped to serve their customers.
Option 3: The city currently allocates a portion of their overall budget each year to the general project fund (about $170,000). This money is then used to fund a major project of some sort in the city every three years. Bradford's solution is to reduce the revenue allocated for these major projects by roughly 27 percent and then schedule them every four years rather than three.
"The city can do this without inventing new taxes to impose on the citizens of Mantorville," he said.
The city needs to make the best financial decision for the people of Mantorville, according to Bradford. There are a couple of different options for the new plant. The options include a phased upgrade to the existing plant, building a new plant or entering an agreement with Kasson.
"The citizens of Mantorville will be best served if the lowest sustainable option is pursued and that is my commitment to the citizens of Mantorville," Bradford said.
He added that Mantorville is uniquely rich in historic culture and charm.
"Responsible stewardship for the city will include carefully maintaining this heritage while promoting economic growth and nurturing our existing businesses," he said.