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Candidates talk issues

Area residents gathered at Dickinson City Hall Tuesday evening to attend the City Commission Candidate Forum.

Rod Landblom, Klayton Oltmanns, Bernie Marsh and Shirley Dukart are vying for two positions on the City Commission.

Questions were submitted by the public and the candidates answered 11 questions pertaining to city issues. Their responses could not be longer than two minutes.

One of the questions asked by moderator and Dickinson Press Publisher Harvey Brock was what candidate's priorities for the city are.

Marsh said his first priority is local schools.

"The school system -- I think with the growth that's coming to Dickinson -- is probably going to get bombarded pretty good," Marsh said.

His second priority is making sure law enforcement has enough room to grow with the city's population.

He cited traffic as his third priority.

"There's a got to be a way to bypass Highway 22," he said.

Dukart's first priority is the wastewater treatment plant.

"We have grown almost 100 percent with wastewater, and I think that would have to be number one for me," Dukart said.

Her second priority is the school system and making sure there is enough room and teachers for the students.

St. Joseph's Hospital is Dukart's third priority.

"Our second highest employer is the hospital and ... my vision is to see a new hospital that provides more services than we have right now," Dukart said.

Oltmann's first priority is the city's infrastructure -- large and small projects.

"Part of having a beautiful community that it has the right infrastructure. It also lends itself to not only continued growth and population, but helps us with our economic development," Oltmanns said.

His second priority is economic development such as long-term financial opportunities.

Controlling taxes and keeping the budget in check is his third priority.

"Can we afford it, do we need it and how are we going to pay for it?" Oltmanns said are the questions that need to be asked when dealing with the city's budget.

Landblom's first priority is water and sewer infrastructure.

"Housing availability is another big factor," Landblom said, emphasizing affordable housing.

His third priority is "taking advantage of the economic development that has taken place."

Managing city personnel is his fourth priority.

"We have a number of employees that have years of experience and we have to take advantage of that," Landblom said. "But at the same time we're going to be looking at them to be retiring soon and we have to have adequate replacements that are well-trained and skilled."