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TeWinkel returns to city council seat

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news River Falls, 54022
Hudson Star Observer
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River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Kurt TeWinkel is a member of the Hudson City Council again.

Monday night, the council voted 4-1 to return him to the District 4 aldermanic seat that he resigned from six weeks earlier.

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The council selected TeWinkel over two other applicants for the position — Pam Brokaw, a former alderperson for District 2, and Jim Webber, a former Troy Town Board member who moved to the city 15 months ago.

Webber received one vote in the secret ballot by council members.

TeWinkel said he resigned from the council because a city job came open that he wanted to apply for. He said City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick advised him that it would be a conflict of interest for him to pursue the position as a member of the council.

He ultimately wasn’t hired for Public Works Department job, and chose to join the applicants for the council seat he was elected to in April 2012.

“Because I am able to now, I want to finish out the term I was elected to,” TeWinkel said in his statement to the council.

The candidates were asked to introduce themselves and address three questions:

1. Did they have any specific concerns regarding the city?

2. What would their goals or objectives be as a member of the council?

3. Why did they want to serve on the council?

The applicants drew numbers to determine the order they went in.

Alderpersons were invited to question the candidates following their opening remarks.

Alderperson Randy Morrissette II asked each of the applicants if they would run for a full two-year term on the council next April if they were selected to fill the open seat. All said they would.

Morrissette asked Brokaw and Webber how they would have voted on one of two controversial issues that were decided by the council in recent years — the order for private docks to be removed from the St. Croix River and the decision not to rezone St. Croix Meadows dog track for school use.

Both chose to address the dock issue, and said they agreed with the decision the council made.

Morrissette asked TeWinkel if he favored an increase in the tax levy in order to increase city’s operational budget.

TeWinkel said he didn’t. He indicated that the city’s increased spending on street projects will be felt by taxpayers, and that the line should be held on further increases.

“I feel a strong obligation to serve the residents of Hudson’s District 4 who elected me to this position in the first place,” TeWinkel said in his cover letter seeking the appointment. “I have in-depth knowledge of current concerns within the city, and therefore know that if appointed to fill the seat, I’d be up to speed immediately without a period of acclimation.”

TeWinkel is a commercial project manager for a St. Paul lawn care, landscaping and snow removal company. He also operates an online auction site.

Regarding city issues, TeWinkel said the council will need to work with the school district to find a solution for locating a new secondary school.

He said the development of the former tourist information center property and the Hudson Golf Club are concerns for District 4 residents.

Brokaw represented District 2 on the council from 2008 to 2010. When challenged by current District 2 Alderperson Mary Yacoub in the 2010 election, she withdrew from the race.

The city’s aldermanic district boundaries were redrawn in 2011, placing Brokaw’s home in the current District 4.

Brokaw emphasized her volunteer service with a number of Hudson nonprofits, including Youth Action Hudson, the Girls Scouts, the Lions Club and St. Croix Valley Youth Court.

“I believe that our community leaders serve as role models for our residents of all ages, and as ambassadors that help to strengthen relationships and increase awareness about our great city,” she said in her application letter.

Brokaw said alderpersons need to be open to new ideas and maintain open communication with their constituents. She said she thinks the city needs a teen or community center.

Brokaw serves on the city’s Park Board. She’s been a 3M Co. employee for 30 years. Her present position is as a human resources analyst in the Global Workforce Services area.

Webber is a 3M Co. retiree. He worked as an engineer for the company for 37 years and then started his own consulting firm.

He served on the Troy Town Board for two years, and was also a member of the town’s Park Board and Plan Commission before moving to Hudson.

Webber said that in his business career he excelled at developing good relationships with employees and customers.

He said he is concerned about how Hudson continues to grow and mentioned the closing of the Hudson Golf Club, the need for downtown parking, library funding and a location for a new secondary school as issues facing the city.

When asked by Alderperson Yacoub what his priorities would be for spending limited tax revenue, Webber named downtown parking, street maintenance and upgrading the city’s water and sewer capacity.

Council President Kurt TeWinkel presided over Monday night’s meeting in the absence of Mayor Alan Burchill.

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Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
(715) 426-1066
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