Burchill seeking full term as mayorDelivering quality services to the citizens of Hudson at the best possible price is his top priority as mayor, Alan Burchill says. Burchill is running for his first full two-year term as mayor.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
Delivering quality services to the citizens of Hudson at the best possible price is his top priority as mayor, Alan Burchill says.
He also rates maintaining the small-town atmosphere of downtown Hudson and bringing new business to the city’s industrial parks as important concerns.
Burchill is running for his first full two-year term as mayor after having been appointed to the office by the City Council at the end of November 2010. He replaced former mayor Dean Knudson, who resigned from the office after being elected to the state Assembly.
A resident of Hudson for the past 24 years, the 58-year-old Burchill is the owner and president of St. Croix Valley Insurance Service Inc., an independent insurance agency located in the city.
He has been active in the Hudson business community and city government since arriving here in 1988 as the president of the former State Bank of Hudson, which as located in what is now the Wells Fargo Bank building. He purchased the insurance agency in 1991.
Burchill served on the board that established Hudson’s first industrial park south of Interstate 94. He also was one of the leaders in bringing a YMCA facility to Hudson in the early 1990s.
He was elected to represent District 6 on the City Council in the spring of 2007 and had served as an alderperson for three and a half years when he was appointed mayor.
Burchill replied by email to five questions and a request for biographical information emailed to him by the Star-Observer.
He said he is pleased with the improvements to city streets that have been made in recent years, including his 15-plus months as mayor. He mentioned the repaving of Carmichael Road, Coulee Road, 11th Street, Crest View Drive and Heggen Street.
Asked to name accomplishments during the past term, Burchill said the city has saved more than $800,000 by switching to a company outside of the state group health insurance program for its coverage of city employees.
“We spent many hours working with Uline to relocate in Hudson and bring to our city 150 new jobs and a $25-million facility,” he said regarding the shipping supply company’s decision to build a huge distribution center in St. Croix Business Park.
He also listed new walking paths in Weitkamp Park and repairs to a Lakefront Park beach pathway as achievements.
He noted that the city was in the process of establishing a storm water utility to “repair our system and help protect our St. Croix River.” The City Council was expected to give final approval to the utility Monday night.
“We did this and much more with little or no increase in taxes for our citizens,” Burchill said.
He said the biggest challenge for the city is to continue to fund services during tough economic times. With a state-imposed limit on property tax increases, slower residential and commercial construction growth, and increased costs of doing business, “we need to continue to look for new and better ways to run the city,” he said.
Asked what qualities he has that have served him well as mayor, Burchill said he listens to everyone’s concerns before helping the City Council reach a decision on an issue.
“We have to consider all points of view to arrive at the best solution. We need to continue to have open government in which citizens have input into the way we operate our city,” he said.
Burchill said it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to comment on the school district’s plan to purchase the vacant St. Croix Meadows dog track property ahead of the April 3 referendum on the issue. He chairs the city’s Plan Commission that will hold a public hearing on a request by the school district to rezone the property for public use should voters approve the purchase.
Burchill grew up in North Dakota, where his father, Victor, was the superintendent of schools in the small communities of Beulah and Towner.
The family moved to Grand Forks, N.D., when Burchill was starting eighth grade. His father earned a Ph.D. and became a university instructor. His mother was a reading teacher.
Burchill and his wife, Jill, met at Red River High School in Grand Forks. They were both students at the University of North Dakota when they married.
The couple moved to St. Paul after college when Jill took a job as a certified public accountant.
They have two grown children. Matthew is married, has a young daughter, and is a cancer research scientist in Denver.
Allison was a member of the Hudson High School girls basketball teams that won a Division 1 state title in 2000 and the state runner-up trophy in 2002. She works for Ameriprise Financial at its corporate headquarters in Minneapolis.