Four seeking two contested seats on Norfolk City Council
Two seats on the Norfolk City Council are contested in the Nov. 6 election.
In Ward 2, Dave Fauss chose not to seek re-election, so he will be succeeded either by Shane Clausen, a former city council member and owner of a construction business, or Bill Hattery, a Norfolk realtor. Both advanced out of a field of three candidates in the primary election.
In Ward 4, Fred Wiebelhaus is squaring off against Jarad Dahlkoetter, who recently was appointed to fill a vacancy on the council but is running for election for the first time. They also advanced out of the primary election as the top vote-getters in a field of four candidates.
Clausen, who served as a councilman in Ward 4 from 2010 until earlier this year when he moved out of the ward, said he would once again be a practical voice who will strive to do what’s best for Norfolk and his constituents.
“I believe in the value of listening to others’ points of view before establishing my own thoughts,” Clausen said. “Because of this, there were times that I didn’t vote with the majority of the council.”
Clausen said his main priorities for the future of Norfolk are developing economic opportunities and growing the city’s population. He identified several key industries and areas that could help the community grow.
“We need to continue to put our resources into use to support new housing developments, our local schools, downtown improvements, parks and recreation and supporting community initiatives,” Clausen said.
He also said health care and retail are important to support in the future.
Infrastructure is also among the key issues for Clausen this election.
“I believe I can bring a fresh perspective with this first-hand knowledge to support our current plan or develop new ways to maintain, finance and improve our current system,” he said.
Overall, Clausen said, he wants to help Norfolk be a place not only for people like him, but for the next generation as well.
“I want to make sure that the steps we take today, not only improve Norfolk now,” Clausen said, “but will help make Norfolk a place where my children want to raise their families.”
For Hattery, his key issues also include economic development as well as better communication and fiscal responsibility.
He said the city should employ social networking as a means of better communicating with citizens and to “ensure that all citizens are informed on what is happening in their community and provide them the opportunity to express their views.”
Hattery said he will also look to make spending cuts to ease tax burdens.
“(I will) take a serious, no-nonsense approach to city budgets and the use of taxpayer funds,” he said.
Hattery also said he would look into solutions for property tax issues.
Overall, Hattery said he feels his worth ethic, business experience and open-mindedness makes him an ideal candidate.
In ward 4, Jarad Dahlkoetter works as the events director for the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce, while Fred Wiebelhaus is an adjuster and loss control specialist for the League Association of Risk Management. He also works as a part-time sheriff’s deputy in Stanton County.
Dahlkoetter was appointed to the seat in February and said he wants to serve a full term to help continue growing the community.
“I want to make (Norfolk) an attractive community so other people my age want to live and work here,” Dahlkoetter said. “ I am passionate about the growth of Norfolk and I am dedicated to continuing making this community a place we are all proud of.”
He said among his top issues are improving the infrastructure and helping revitalize the ward, saying he will make decisions that will benefit Norfolk long-term.
“There are many opportunities for growth and revitalization whether it be building necessary housing or enhancing green spaces,” Dahlkoetter said. “I will continue to use a futuristic mindset to make decisions that will benefit Norfolk decades from now.”
He said in his discussions with families in the ward, people wanted to continue to grow family friendly events, parks and retail options.
Dahlkoetter said he would help educate citizens about long term plans and be a liaison for concerned citizens on the council.
Overall, he said he has taken on leadership roles throughout the community and has seen the growth of Norfolk firsthand.
“Through my involvement in several community organizations and my professional job, I have experienced how difficult it can be to have an idea and then execute it,” Dahlkoetter said. “My goal is to be a resource and partner for those wanting to bring new events or ideas to Norfolk.”
Wiebelhaus identified economic development as a key concern for Norfolk. He said growing the manufacturing sector will be necessary, and that he would work with local and regional economic teams to encourage investment in manufacturing and production.
Infrastructure is another issue of importance to Wiebelhaus.
“I would work with the other members of the city council and city engineer to develop a practical funding method to apply towards infrastructure maintenance,” Wiebelhaus said.
He said that money should be in hand before starting projects, citing the library expansion as a well-done project.
Public safety is also concern for Wiebelhaus.
“I would ensure that there is sufficient budgeting allowed for more police officers, so that an additional school resource officer could be added,” he said.
He would look into incentives for new officers or hire more already certified officers to help the hiring process and also guarantee safety.
Overall, Wiebelhaus said he find a balance between properly managing citizens’ tax dollars and guaranteeing a future for Norfolk through common sense decision making.
Battle Creek council
Three Battle Creek residents are on the Nov. 6 ballot, vying for two seats on the city council there.
Candidates are Richard Vackoc, John Hrabanek and Eric Kraft.
All three declined to respond to the Daily News’ pre-election questionnaire.