Get to know city council candidate Vanessa DemuthTo help better inform voters the Town Pages has conducted two questionnaires with city council candidates. Here are the answers Vanessa Demuth provided to both.
In four years, what do you hope to have accomplished on the city council?
I will utilize my experience in business and geology to make good decisions in approving future development that is responsible. The city should continue to provide high quality city services. Public safety and protecting our drinking water should be high priorities. I want to foster an environment that is welcoming to new businesses and supportive of existing businesses. The city will have increased revenue from the aggregate mining tax and aggregate property tax. As a community we should have the discussion on how we want to use this money. Do we want to lower our property taxes, pay down our debt, or invest in our future?
Where does this office fit into your political aspirations?
My only political aspiration is to be a city council member. As a lifelong Rosemount area resident I care deeply about this community I was raised in and chose to raise my family in. I am passionate about making good decisions to ensure a successful future for the city of Rosemount. My three and a half years experience spent on the city of Rosemount Planning Commission and the Board of Appeals & Adjustment has prepared me to better serve the citizens of Rosemount as a city council member. With your support, as a city council member, I will continue to work to grow our community in a responsible manner for the benefit of all Rosemount residents.
UMore will be a continuous issue for the city. What are your thoughts on the property and its future development?
This property is part of the former munitions plant where gunpowder and chemicals were produced during World War II. Environmental investigations conducted of this property have identified contamination exceeding regulatory levels in the property’s soils, sediments, and groundwater. Contaminants in the soil include asbestos, arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These contaminants were identified at concentrations exceeding regulatory standards. This is one of the last Word War II era powder production plants that has not been evaluated and cleaned up. Any plans to redevelop this property must be preceded by a complete investigation and appropriate cleanup.
My education as a geologist and training as an environmental health specialist provides me with the skills and experience to understand the data presented in the reports concerning the investigations of the site. Development on or near contaminated property must be protective of the public’s health and safety to minimize human exposure. Decisions of this nature cannot be based on inadequate data. The utmost care and concern for the residents of Rosemount should be taken into account when deciding if the proposed land use is consistent with the past activities.
While the city council makes the decisions, city staff does much of the day to day work. What is your management style and what are your expectations of city staff?
I have worked in both the private and public sectors where group decisions were made. My experience includes holding offices in several professional organizations as well as serving on the Rosemount Planning Commission and the Board of Appeals and Adjustments. In these various groups consensus or democratic vote was utilized. My decision-making style is open-minded, collaborative, and persuasive when needed. I want open and transparent government. My expectations for city staff are that they work to maintain a high level of quality services for our residents.
What is your background?
I have been a lifelong Rosemount area resident and a Rosemount High School graduate. Brian and I have been married for 15 years and we have two daughters; Shale, will be in ninth grade at Rosemount High School and Monique, will be in 7th grade at Rosemount Middle School this fall.
I am a professional geologist with 20 years’ experience and I work in the water resources department at Dakota County. In addition, I am a State of Minnesota registered environmental health sanitarian and a State of Minnesota certified water well inspector.
Over three years ago I was appointed by the city council to the planning commission and the board of appeals and adjustment. Recently, I was reappointed to both.
Why do you want to lead?
There are many development issues coming before the city council in the near future. For example, the University of Minnesota owns a 5,000 acre property, 3,000 of which are in Rosemount, that they are marketing under the name of UMore Park. The proposed development is for residential housing for 30,000 people, business park, light industry, a large-scale gravel mine and open space. I have a skill set that is different from the current city council. My background in geology and experience in the environmental consulting field will help the city council make informed decisions about the contamination issues associated with this property. In addition, I can educate the council on the potential impacts mining could have on our drinking water. As a city council member I will continue to work to grow our community in a responsible manner for the benefit of Rosemount residents.
Why run for council?
I am not choosing to be a public servant for monetary reasons. As a lifelong Rosemount area resident, I care deeply about this community. I am passionate about making good decisions to ensure a successful future for the city of Rosemount. My experience spent on the planning commission has prepared me to better serve the citizens of Rosemount as a city council member. All of the elected members of the current city council were on the planning commission prior to running for city council.
What makes you qualified?
I earned a business administration entrepreneurship degree from the University of St. Thomas, in addition to a degree in geology. I have helped small business start-ups in: retail, financial advising, and manufacturing efficiencies. My business experience will help me to work with the business community in Rosemount because I understand the challenges businesses face. My background career in geology has mainly focused on groundwater issues. The city of Rosemount’s drinking water is groundwater obtained from water wells. There will be challenges in the near future for the city to provide and protect our supply of clean drinking water.
I have worked in the public sector for over 18 years and I am serving my second term on the planning commission and the board of appeals and adjustment. I have held offices with several professional organizations. Some of the experiences I have gained are: writing and reviewing ordinances, working with people to achieve a common goal, using research and science to make decisions, all of which will assist me making better decisions for the residents of Rosemount.
What are your thoughts on the current council?
The current council is lacking a member with my science background. I bring an expertise to the council that will benefit future growth and development in the city, while protecting our most precious resource which is drinking water.
Are you ready for the commitment required?
While serving on the planning commission and the board of adjustment and appeals for over three years, I have read significant amounts of material provided by the city staff and have always been prepared for the meetings. My time management skills will allow me to continue to read and prepare for the city council meetings.
How will you make tough decisions?
There will be difficult decisions to make as a member of the city council. While serving as a planning commissioner I reviewed: site plans, conditional use permits, planned unit developments, rezoning, subdivisions of land, variance requests, mineral extraction permits, as well as amendments to city ordinances. I had the opportunity to make many improvements to the large-scale gravel mining ordinance that was recently adopted. I will be able to make difficult decisions by keeping the best interest of the residents of the city foremost in every decision made.