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Six-year commission member Oltmanns talks finances, future planning

Klayton Oltmanns said it's been two years since he decided to run for mayor of Dickinson this year--no matter what. So when the time came, he followed through. Oltmanns, 47, was elected to the city commission in 2010 and cited his six years of ex...

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Klayton Oltmanns said it's been two years since he decided to run for mayor of Dickinson this year-no matter what.

So when the time came, he followed through.

Oltmanns, 47, was elected to the city commission in 2010 and cited his six years of experience as a foundation for his campaign.

"I had the fortune of being on the commission through what is maybe the biggest expansion in the city's history and was able to help formulate our (Dickinson 2035: Roadmap to the Future) plan," Oltmanns said. "Now I've have still been on the commission during the downturn. Both presented unique issues and I think moving forward the biggest issue is going to be financial."

In his professional life, Oltmanns has worked for the last 10 years as a financial advisor at Edward Jones, which seems to fill the needs he points out. But he says the trait that he feels distinguishes him from opponents Rod Landblom and Scott Decker, a fellow city commission member, is the time he's spent engaged in the city's workings.

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"It's not a position that lends itself to on-the-job training," Oltmanns said, adding that a "steady voice" would be an asset in handling city matters in the years ahead.

When looking forward, he pointed to municipal finances as Dickinson's most pressing issue.

During the infrastructure build-outs of the oil boom years, Oltmanns said, the city incurred around $100 million in debt which is now being serviced at an annual amount of $4.5 million.

He said that, in addition to that sum, there's still work left to be done-and paid for.

"We've still got another 20 years of our 2035 plan of building out this community," he said.

In that vein, he emphasized the long-term nature of the city's planning.

Despite the downturn in commodity prices and the resulting statewide revenue shortages, Oltmanns said that city funding streams for various public projects were still in good shape.

While tackling every major improvement simultaneously might not be feasible, he said, the two-decade time window afforded by the development plan can open up realistic options for completing projects.

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In the nearer term, Oltmanns said he didn't believe the downturn in oil prices and production activity would be long-lived. Rather, he said the city would probably need to prepare for a "resurgence" after a period of reprioritization.

Looking ahead to 2020, which would be the end of the mayoral term decided by the election, Oltmanns said he believed the city would experience continued growth helped by stabilized housing prices. But he didn't think Dickinson was clear of turbulence just yet.

"I think, moving forward, these are going to be some challenging times for the community," Oltmanns said. " ... Dickinson's done a really good job of diversifying its economy and I think that has been what's helped us weather this and it'll be what helps us grow moving forward, too. But the main point would be sticking to the plan and financing are going to be the important things."

Related Topics: DICKINSON
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