West St. Paul council candidates look to next term

While the mayoral and Ward 3 council races heat up, two West St. Paul City Council candidates are running unopposed in this year's election, offering them a chance to focus on the city's future.

Ed Iago has held his seat for about eight years. He is married to Karen, and is a retired banker.

He earned the equivalent of two associate degrees from the American Institute of Banking, specializing in construction lending and consumer planning.

Iago says he's running again "at the request of many, many of my constituents."

In the past several years, he and the council have made public safety a priority by supporting "budget considerations for our police and fire departments," in addition to monitoring "common sense ordinances," he says.

For example, when he first came on the council, he says he wanted to make it easier for businesses to come to West St. Paul in hopes of spurring economic development.

"And so we broadened the ability of the Economic Development Authority to address those matters," Iago says. Additionally, zoning requirements were tweaked and city staff and the council reached out directly to some specific businesses — a "top priority and goal."

He adds, "My vote is not what matters. It's the constituents' vote that they ask me to represent."

A behemoth of a project in front of the council is the revamping of South Robert Street, the hectic, dilapidated roadway that runs through the city's main business corridor. The project recently hit a speed bump, when bids came back for the project significantly higher than the engineer’s estimates for phase one. The council now has to reassess the project, and potentially seek bids again.

"That right now is a mess," Iago says. "We cannot move forward with Robert Street and City Hall and Harmon Field and the ice arena in lock-step.

"The taxpayers will simply not be able to afford it. We have to consider moderation when we're going after certain plans."

Considering the mayoral and Ward 3 seats are up for grabs, Iago had some words for whomever wins the spots.

"I would ask the new candidates ... to look at things with a real open mind slanted toward the ability of our taxpayers to carry the burden," he says.

 

Dick Vitelli

Dick Vitelli

Dick Vitelli, 64, took control of his Ward 1 seat in 1989, and after more than a decade in the role resigned due to his full-time job in 2002. He was appointed to his current position in 2013.

He is married to Sheila, and is retired, after working as a union electrician of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. He earned a two-year associate degree at St. Paul Technical College in electricity, and holds a master electrician license in Minnesota.

Rather than complain about things, Vitelli says he likes to get involved.

Plus, "I enjoy the job," he says.

The city is working on the redevelopment of Harmon Park, adding baseball fields and revamping the athletic center, a project already underway.

As far as South Robert, Vitelli says, "It's a project that needs to be done. It's long overdue."

Another priority for Vitelli is maintaining the city's housing stock, especially rental properties. He owns properties himself and says he's a "stickler for keeping rental properties in good shape and not having absentee landlords."

The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 4. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Find polling places and election information at http://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/. For more information, contact the county election official at 651-438-4305 or election@co.dakota.mn.us.

Kaitlyn Roby can be reached at 651-748-7815 and kroby@lillienews.com. Follow her at twitter.com/KRobyNews.

 

 


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