The June 12 city election will see five candidates vying for two City Commissioner seats vacated by George Dutton and Jon Wagar. This week, the T-R will interview all five candidates to provide a better look at those seeking office and their take on the issues facing Valley City. Going alphabetically, the second interviewee is candidate Ken Evenson.
Occupation: (Retired) electrical lineman for Cass County Electric, 20-plus years, and for City of Valley City, 20-plus years. Resident of Valley City for over 50 years.
Family: Wife Dotty, daughter Debbie and son Jeffrey.
Organizations: Member of the American Legion, AmVets and VFW, Pine to Prairie Girl Scout Council and Our Saviorâ€™s Lutheran Church.
Why do you want to be a City Commissioner?
â€śI am interested in city government, and I have the time and experience to give it my best. I have served as a commissioner for ten years, and I would like to continue that work.â€ť
What are the three biggest issues facing Valley City?
â€śOur infrastructure is in pretty good shape even after the floods, but our expenses are getting down. FEMA hasnâ€™t paid us for some of 2009, and then Ninth Avenue is going to be an expensive project, so we have to hold the reins on that to be sure we donâ€™t go broke on it.
After June, Measure 2 will be a big issue. Iâ€™ve done a lot of research on it. Everyone would like to get rid of taxes and special assessments, but thatâ€™s just not in the books. I would work with the rest of the citizens and commissioners to see if we could come up with a remedy if it doesnâ€™t pass. If it passes, we just have to tighten our belts and work with it.
Another thing is working on the (Phase One home) buyouts. Itâ€™s a very expensive project, and it will be an asset to the community. When they get those homes cleaned out and put a dike in there, it will be an asset for the college and for the city.â€ť
What issues do you hope to address on the commission?
â€śA commissionerâ€™s only got one vote, and Iâ€™m willing to work with anyone. If thereâ€™s an issue that comes up, instead of backstabbing people, we need to bring it out into the open. We went through that tur
Post-election, what kind of tone would you set with your colleagues at City Hall and your fellow citizens?
If I was elected, I would work with my fellow commissioners and step back to find the best solution. Working with the citizens, I know some of them are unhappy, but I would try to mend the problems. I would get out more to tell people whatâ€™s going on, more than I did in the last election.â€ť
How would you best handle the streets or police/fire portfolios (vacated by Commissioners Dutton and Wagar)?
â€śAfter the election, the first meeting will be a reorganizational meeting to decide who takes which portfolio. All of the portfolios could change, they wonâ€™t know until that first meeting. If I had to take one, I would take the fire and police and work closely with them so there would be no more of this hostility. I think theyâ€™re doing a great job.â€ť
How would you handle the time commitment of being on the commission?
â€śI understand the time commitment. There were times where I would spend 10 hours a week on a project so I would know whatâ€™s going on. You canâ€™t come in 15 minutes before a meeting and do the job right for the people.â€ť
Past experience with city government:
â€śMy work with the water plant, all the commissioners have worked hard on that, and itâ€™s going to be an elite water plant. There are several other cities that are going to come and look at it as an example once itâ€™s operating in June. It will handle the Devilâ€™s Lake water.â€ť