Rauterkus: looking for council to strategizeShortly after his peers elected him Red Wing City Council President, Ralph Rauterkus said he and his colleagues must resume their focus on long-term planning.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
Shortly after his peers elected him Red Wing City Council President, Ralph Rauterkus said he and his colleagues must resume their focus on long-term planning.
Budget deficits have occupied much of the council's attention in recent years. But now, in the early part of 2011, the council has a chance to set up a game plan for the next couple of years, Rauterkus told the R-E Thursday.
"What can you do today to give yourself options tomorrow?" Rauterkus said is the question City Council should pose to itself.
Council presidents, who serve two-year terms, are charged with running council meetings. They also assign other council members to committees and to be liaisons to city board and commissions.
As he leads the council into 2011, Rauterkus sees a myriad of issues the city must contend with. He hopes in the next year the council can find a way to steady its budget process in the wake of state aid cuts and other revenue fluctuations, he said. He also hopes the council can find an answer to the financial troubles at Red Wing's incinerator.
There are also issues that won't be resolved in 2011, but for which continued planning is necessary, Rauterkus said, including:
* Finding new revenue to pay for road and infrastructure improvements
* The prospect of indefinite storage of nuclear waste within city limits at the Prairie Island nuclear plant
* Improving communication with the public
* Expanding working relationships with other units of local government
City Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann said Rauterkus could play a key role on that issue. As Council President he will be looked upon to help foster those relationships.
Once the council beings its long-term planning -- which is going on today in a city council workshop -- Rauterkus said you won't see him dominating the discussions. It isn't his nature.
Rather, he said sees his role as asking questions and making sure the discussion is collaborative and inclusive.
"I think we have some excellent council members that do their homework," Rauterkus said. He added, "I recognize I'm one vote of seven on the council."
The planning that's going on now will be critical to ensuring Red Wing is prosperous going forward, Rauterkus said
"It's about leaving this community in good shape for the next generation," he said.