Accessibility, aesthetics key, according to RF candidates

Published 1:35 am Friday, August 19, 2016


Two people are vying for mayor of River Falls, incumbent Patricia Gunter and Councilman James Longmire.

The election is set for Tues., Aug. 23, with polls being open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

The Star-News talked with both candidates recently and asked them both an identical series of questions.


What is the most pressing issue for the town?

Gunter said that the most pressing issue is getting the town’s water system up to date.

“We have done a lot,” she said. “We have gotten this grant and loan to do that. It won’t be too many more weeks until we are doing that. When we get that completed, we will be in much better shape.”

Longmire said that he believes the most pressing issue is getting residents involved.

“Actually, I believe the citizens need to address what’s going on,” he said. “I want to listen to the questions and concerns. Additionally, some of the dirt roads need paving and we need to clean up the town more.”


What issue is not getting enough attention?

Gunter said she thought that would be the abatement issues and cleaning up ditches and weeded lots and homes that have been abandoned.

“I think that is something we are still in the process of doing,” she said.

Longmire simply said he felt the citizens were not getting enough attention.


How can the town best build its tax base?

Gunter said she felt for the size of the town, there had a good tax base.

“We have actually quite a few small businesses that bring us in some tax revenue,” she said. “But it can always be better.”

Longmire said he has been talking to some people about growing the tax base.

“A couple of business owners who have some ideas for some businesses and own property in the city limits,” he said. “I’d like to get sidewalks and decorate the town.”


How do you feel the city is doing with the balance of infrastructure improvements and controlling borrowing costs?

Gunter said she thought they have done great.

“This is the first time that we have been able to do that with the water system improvements,” she said. “I think it’s great that we have been able to build up our credibility to accomplish a great amount.”

Longmire said that the town hasn’t really done any infrastructure improvements other than paving.

“That is the type of thing that needs to be done,” he said. “And I am thinking about how to get it done.”


Do you feel the city is better off than it was four years ago? What else need to be done to improve?

“Absolutely,” Gunter said. “I certainly hope and I do believe that our citizens see it. I have people make comments to me that they can see the difference.”

Gunter said the biggest area of improvement could be economic development.

“The economic development group has worked to try to bring something into town,” she said. “They are constantly trying to get our name out there. I really feel like eventually it will pay off. River Falls may be small, but we are in a unique location.”

Longmire said he felt the city was at a standstill.

“Basically, it need to be where the residents are able and wanting to come in and give the mayor council their views. I want to talk to the new council members and ask them what we can do and make sure we are all on the same page.”



How important is transparency and open meetings to you? Are you willing to work with residents and the media alike to ensure that the public knows the town’s business?

Gunter said she believes that the current administration has done that.

“Before, the council couldn’t even get answers,” she said. “Now, everyone knows when we are having meetings. We print it on the water bills every month. Citizens also get a copy of the financial report. We have a questions and comments portion at our meetings.”

Lomgire said he plans to work with the media and the residents, if elected.

“They can call me and talk to me about anything,” he said. “If I become mayor, the only thing I want the city to do is give me this little paycheck and a walkie talkie so I can go if there is a wreck or if there is a house fire. I want to be able to help the residents in need. The mayor need to be seen and involved he said.”