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Paynesville Press - Oct. 31, 2012

Paynesville City Council
Len Gilmore

Len Gilmore

Len Gilmore, 47, a 1983 Paynesville High School grad, has lived in Paynesville since his family moved to town in 1976, except for a stint in the U.S. Army. He serves as a member of the park and tree board and is the finance officer for the Paynesville Fire Department. He is a salesman at Yarmon Ford. He and his wife Amy have two daughters.

Why are you interested in serving on city council?
As Paynesville is evolving, there are some changes that are going to take place, I would like to be involved in that process. I would also like to see Paynesville back to full police protection and work to enhance ALL Paynesville businesses.

What new ideas do you feel you can bring to the council?
I will bring in a fresh perspective to old city issues and a new voice on new issues. I feel the council needs to be vigilant on gaining new businesses. We also need to focus on the ³black cloud² over city hall and try to find out what is causing it and make the necessary changes.

What should the city do about the benzene pollution from the former gas station at the corner of Lake Avenue and Mill Street?
The city needs to keep the pressure on the MPCA to clean it up fully and not back down from their current stand.

Should additional budget cuts become necessary, what areas of spending would you target?
Without being involved completely in the city council, that is almost impossible to say, but I would not be in favor of cutting any city employees. With that being said, I would take a hard look at all areas to see if there was any ³fat² left to cut.

As funds allow, where do you think the city could be spending more?
I would like to see the city be involved in a community project on a bigger scale than what we have, like expanding the air show to make it a weekend or something on that order that would make us a ³destination.² Also, we should be involved in our youth and the programs that support them.

What types of tax increases (if any) would you support as a council member?
I would support a small increase in the tax levy as our funding from the state goes down, but I would have to take a hard look at the cost.

What should the community do to make Paynesville attractive from the new Highway 23 bypass?
Most of the businesses that are on the bypass are making changes. I think the best way is to have a committee of 5-7 people that represent different areas of the community that could come up with plans/ideas.

How can Paynesville businesses entice highway traffic to continue to stop in Paynesville?
Depending on the business, they are going to have to use alternative advertising, instead of depending on drive-by traffic. They will need to focus on the internet, newspapers, new signage, specials, etc.

What is the city's role in promoting Paynesville to Highway 23 traffic?
The city should try and promote all businesses in Paynesville by making sure they have all the information they need to erect signs, etc. They should also grant a parcel of land for a sign promoting what Paynesville offers.

How important is having a full-time police chief to the city? I feel it is very important; we need to have that presence. The police chief is a role model for the community and also the liaison between the police officers and the public.

What is your long-term view for police coverage in Paynesville?
Paynesville has to keep its police department. We also need to have it staffed, so we can provide the coverage the people of Paynesville have grown to expect.

What type of relationship should the city council have with its employees?
The city council should be an advisory panel for the employees, but not directly involved with them on an individual day-to-day basis.

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