Sunday, September 06, 2009

At-Large Hillsider Candidate statements for city council: Mike Akervik

Main Issues
One of the most important issues for our city is how to address budget shortfalls and inadequate funding for programs. Fiscal responsibility is vital to a successful city government and the services provided to its citizens. It is necessary to prioritize how money is allocated for services and infrastructure. Budgets must be balanced without causing undue strain on taxpayers.
It is essential to find a solution for the unfunded health care liability. Contracts should be negotiated to allow for quality, affordable health care that will fit within budget constraints. It will be a “lose-lose” situation for the city and employees/retirees if this issue is not resolved.
Efficient communication and collaboration between city departments is necessary to prevent delays and frustration for people seeking assistance. By coordinating the zoning, permitting, and planning departments, individuals and businesses would be able to expand or start their projects sooner. Streamlining the process would also attract more businesses that could provide jobs to support families.

There is a negative perception of our city that is perpetuated by an unwillingness to work together. We must have open communication and actively seek out community involvement to work towards a positive, productive environment for all citizens of Duluth.

Personal Background
I am a life-long resident of Duluth having graduated from Morgan Park Senior High and UMD. I am the Production Manager at Service Printers. Currently, I serve as President of the city Planning Commission and am on the city Zoning Advisory Committee. In 2008, I completed two terms as an At-Large Representative on the Duluth School Board where I served as chair, treasurer and clerk. I sing in area music groups and volunteer with various organizations including my church, Asbury UMC. My wife, Teri, and I live in Smithville/Morgan Park with our sons Erik and Kyle.