Candidate Questionnaire City of Eagan

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1 Candidate Questionnaire City of Eagan Name: Mike Maguire Public Office Sought: Mayor of Eagan Phone: Address: 1331 St. Andrew Blvd. Campaign Website: Twitter Facebook Page: 1. Please provide a brief bio highlighting experience and accomplishments that qualify you for the position you are seeking. A nineteen-year resident of Eagan, my wife Janelle (Waldock) and I moved to Eagan in I was first elected to the Eagan City Council in 2002 when our son Ian was born. In 2006 I was elected Mayor, reelected in 2010 and am now running to serve my third term as Mayor. In my time on the Council and as Mayor, Eagan has become a metro growth and jobs leader. With more jobs today than ever, 54,000, Eagan will continue to be a home for growing business opportunities. Maintaining a focused menu of high-quality city services at the lowest tax cost possible has been my driving budget ethic. That's why Eagan has been recognized with the highest bond rating possible from both Moody's and the S & P and why our citizens and businesses have among the lowest tax burdens in the metro area. Additionally, our city's investments in maintaining a nationally recognized quality of life are an important part of attracting the innovative talented workforce that fuels our Eagan business and business-tobusiness community. In partnership with citizens and businesses we continue to make Eagan the very best place in America to live, work, play and do business. 2. Explain why you are running for public office. It s been an honor to represent the citizens of Eagan and to serve as Mayor and I'm proud of what we've accomplished in that time. I'm running for re-election because I'm committed to continuing and growing our community's success. Among my top priorities are to remain committed to our tradition of fiscal prudence and responsibility, transparent budgeting and forward-looking financial strategies. Beyond ensuring the maintenance critical business infrastructures in the community we ll need to align our community and economic development visions to attract entrepreneurs, businesses and talented innovators that will keep Eagan competitive. 3. Please list any endorsements you have received. I have not sought endorsement from any political party or organization, as this is a nonpartisan office. 4. What is the biggest challenge facing your local community and how would you address it?

2 The biggest challenge the City of Eagan is facing is to maintain its commitment to the high-quality city services they ve come to both value and demand at the value and cost they have come to appreciate. For over a decade the city has maintained a fairly stable size staff but faces the same cost pressures as any other business. Additionally, our city will continue to face the need to maintain current infrastructure and invest in the capital projects that ensure the cost-effective delivery of city services. I ll continue as I have to insist on prudent but responsible fiscal strategies that pay cash when possible, pay off old debt before taking on new debt and ensure value for the taxpayers dollar. A significant part of this is fiscal transparency and straight talk about the cost of government. I stand by my record of fiscal responsibility and I am proud of the trust that our budget prudence has built with the citizens and businesses of Eagan. On the broader level, as a community we face the challenge of changing demographics and in the markets that Eagan s businesses and employers compete in. I believe that in 2014 Eagan is at a critical juncture in its maturation as a city and as a community. Eagan has enjoyed great success over the last 35 years, but continuing that success for the next 35 calls for an intentional effort as a community to dialogue to first understand the changes around us and then to create a shared strategic vision of what Eagan will need to continue to compete and thrive. As Mayor, I hope to see the city actively engage and lead citizens, businesses, civic groups and elected leaders in that community dialogue and visioning. 5. What would be your top three priorities if elected? My top three priorities if elected would be: 1) Maintain the city s well-established tradition of fiscal prudence, responsibility and pragmatism; 2) Preserve the quality and cost-effectiveness of a focused menu of city services while continuing to be innovative and address emerging community needs; and 3) Engage citizens and community leaders in an intentional dialogue about changes in and around our community and a strategic vision for Eagan s competitiveness moving forward. 6. How would you characterize the business climate in your local community? What, if anything, would you do to improve it? I would characterize the business climate in Eagan as vibrant, as thriving and as growing. I think it s an exciting time in Eagan and in comparison to other communities we have an exciting level of business activity and opportunity. I m proud of the relationship and partnerships between the City of Eagan and local businesses and the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce. I d argue that in the relationship between businesses and local governments there is always bound to be some tensions in the relationship by the very nature of government s responsibility to regulate. But through open channels of communication I believe Eagan is an excellent example of a pro-business city that is truly responsible with its regulatory power and responsive to local business concern. I m very committed to ensuring that Eagan businesses and entrepreneurs have access to a free and fair market, and believe both the Council and I have demonstrated that on any number of occasions. While I m always open to hearing about and listening to concerns in the community, I can t really say how I would improve the business climate in Eagan beyond to continue, as I have to listen to and advocate for businesses. 7. Should local governments be actively involved in attracting and retaining jobs? Why or why not? If so, please describe the role of local government in this process. Yes. There are a number of reasons why this is an appropriate role for local government. Ensuring citizen s access to good jobs close to home and in the community encourages vibrancy by attracting a talented and skilled workforce to Eagan. Attracting businesses and jobs builds a growing tax base in

3 order to lower homeowner's taxes while still providing for the most critical city services that citizens and businesses need. The first role local government has in this process is to provide for vital public services and the physical infrastructure that helps businesses and the community function. Second is taking a governmental and regulatory approach that is efficient, fair and predictable to businesses. Because we know that time and delay is costly, we try to be clear in our standards and either 'work towards yes' or give a quick as opposed to 'long - no.' Eagan was built on a pro-business philosophy that maintains community standards on behalf of our citizens but encourages and works in partnership with businesses to facilitate a vibrant market. Third, as the community's land use planning authority, the city council is responsible to be proactive in anticipating the natural community and market cycles for development and redevelopment, playing an active role in necessary redevelopments as we've patiently done in the Cedar Grove. Additionally, and as a result of that experience, the City of Eagan has recently amended its Financial Assistance policy to be a more active partner in helping businesses locate or expand in Eagan. The city can and does serve as a convener to try and bring together state and locally available economic incentives for businesses. These changes give us additional tools and leverage with which to pursue very focused community priorities. In order to receive these business incentives, employers and businesses need to demonstrate significant public benefit like high-paying jobs or other community development priorities. Finally, a role I see local government playing is as an economic development strategist and partner. We are in a talent economy where talented people can often choose where they want to live before starting their business or decide to join an employer. In the competition for talent, communities must be sensitive to the quality-of-life factors that help employers attract employees and encourages talented innovators to want to be a part of our community. Regionally, I ve been very active with organizations like Greater MSP and economic development leaders strategizing for what was the New Normal today and moving forward is just going to be normal. Local governments have a role looking forward to Eagan's future workforce needs and being proactive about ensuring we have the community assets in place that continue to attract and retain a talented workforce. 8. What do you think should be the top transportation-related priority of Dakota County? Dakota County has a large transportation and transit system to manage with a range of challenging and competing priorities. As the Mayor of Eagan I would of course cite Eagan priorities as those needing the county's highest priority attention, but to be clear I would not suggest my priorities as a criticism of those made at the county level. That said, Eagan has, with other Dakota County communities, made a significant and patient commitment to the BRT Red Line along Cedar Avenue, watching other communities have full stations built out and operational while waiting for the Cedar Grove Station phase of BRT development to reach us. With the Cedar Grove revitalization momentum established, Eagan is relying on Dakota County and our neighbor communities to maintain equal measure of commitment to the full build out of the BRT, including the Cedar Grove center running station, among Dakota County's top funding priorities in the immediate future. 9. Many communities and government entities in the region collaborate to provide services to their residents in an effort to operate more efficiently and cost effectively. Do you believe there are additional opportunities to deliver public services more efficiently in your community and if so, please explain?

4 Eagan already works with neighboring Dakota County communities along with the county in a number of areas jointly training staff and the Dakota County Communication Center public safety dispatch to name just a few and I very much support our continued efforts to identify those places where we can realize operational efficiencies in collaboration with other communities. At the same time, collaboration or 'out sourcing' to the private sector, ideas often advocated in conjunction with collaboration, are not the panacea that too often people see it as. The city has at various times contracted for services and the resulting level of customer service has been below our city and our citizen's level of expectation. Intergovernmental collaboration is a mainstay of local government in Dakota County in large part because we've been very prudent in determining where such efforts honestly make sense and yield a return on energy it takes to organize such efforts. 10. Do you believe there are any services that are not currently provided by the city that should be and if so, what please describe the services? As I've noted, Eagan is a successful city in large part because of our commitment to a focused menu of high-quality city services that represent value for the tax price. At this time I cannot identify any vital services not currently provided by the city that I believe should be. I am always looking for opportunities to partner with businesses, community organizations and other governmental bodies on projects or initiatives that serve Eagan citizens, but these are smaller initiatives than adding any additional city services. All said, while it will not be an 'addition' of city services, the realities of our current all-volunteer fire department are such that we will need to rely in part on a more hybrid model that maintains our volunteer character but maintains a small contingent of paid fire fighters as a fire protection safety net at those times when volunteers are increasingly less available. 11. Do you believe there are any services that are currently provided by the City that should be cut back or eliminated and if so please explain? We are constantly examining staffing and procedures to identify ways in which we can work more efficiently and maintain a menu of city services focused on those most vital to the largest number of Eagan citizens and businesses. At this time I do not see among the focused menu of city services we provide any one that should be eliminated or any one that we could cut back on without significantly compromising the quality of that service delivery. One thing that I keep in mind when I look at the annual budget is that not only are more than 90% of Eagan citizens satisfied with the city services they receive rating them either 'excellent' or 'good,' but a significant majority suggest they'd be willing to pay a little more in taxes to preserve city services. We've been very prudent with that trust and maintained a stable staffing levels for a decade, but the high level of citizen support for our city services tells me that we have successfully balanced city services and quality with the expectations of citizens. 12. Describe your philosophy on balancing community needs versus the tax burden placed on residents and businesses. How does your record reflect this philosophy? I believe local government serves a critical role in the health and vitality of the community but also needs to recognize the limitations to its role. My goal, generally speaking, is that tax dollars should be focused on the primary task of attending to the most vital and critical of city services (roads, pipes and water management, public safety, parks, etc.). To the extent that these vital services are the foundation of 'community needs' we try to deliver these services as efficiently, uniformly and effectively as possible. I believe we in Eagan are realistic about the cost of delivering these services and thus prudent about the services we offer citizens from our General Operating fund as opposed to those "soft value" benefits that we tend to look to enterprise funds and other sources of revenue to fund. These might be services

5 or initiatives that have value to community but perhaps to smaller more niche swaths of community and as such justify a higher level of participation from those direct users and lower, if any, participation from taxpayers more broadly. I believe my record of fiscal prudence and responsibility over the last decade demonstrate this philosophy. In my time on the Council we have seen changes in how the city delivers services and the extent of those city services but we have been very focused and, in my estimation, 'maintaining our appropriate lane.' 13. Please provide a letter grade (A, A-, B+, etc... F) of the current and collective set of elected officials in your city for their overall performance. Explain the grade provided. To the extent that both Moody s and Standard & Poor s have graded Eagan Aaa, I'm tempted to offer that as the grade in part because it is a reflection of the Council's performance of its most primary and fiduciary responsibilities - effectively managing taxpayer dollars. Of course there is more to the Council's record than that so I'll offer an A- with the stipulation that I'm not a real fan of grade inflation! My grade reflects what I think is an excellent record for the City Council but reserves room for improvement because we are always asking how we can do better. In offering this grade I don't mean to 'brag' but by any number of objective measures and rankings Eagan is consistently recognized as a community where excellence is the standard and I think the City Council is no different. I believe this is one of the most functional city councils in the metro area in large part because they know their job and they take doing the job very seriously. While various Council members have different personal political perspectives and ideologies, those differences and discussions about politics and ideologies simply don't find their way into our discussions about policies or decisions we need to make. I've said on any number of occasions that the current city council is often impressive to me because they are well seasoned and know the job of the City Council. Our discussions of various issues are efficient and identify the critical issues associated with a given decision and/or Councilmembers' disagreements. We then move on to discuss those issues and differences in an effort to work towards consensus and build support for a decision that reflects and represents as many perspectives as possible. I could list out specific accomplishments over the last decade of the City Council but I think what's more important is to note our process and how we 'perform,' in offering the grade. Any number of outside sources and organizations have affirmed the quality and value of the decisions we've made. I feel affirmed in this grade of A- when year after year surveys of Eagan residents express a more than a 90% approval rating of the Council and Mayor. 14. Is there anything else you would like to share? After thirteen questions you'd think there could not possibly be any more! I very much appreciate the positive working relationship I've been able to develop with the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce, its members and our Eagan business community at-large. I see being open and responsive to the needs of the business community and our businesses as an equal responsibility to that same responsibility with Eagan citizens' and neighborhoods. I feel as though my biggest strength as Mayor is to be able to facilitate the discussion between citizens and our business community when there are disagreements on specific issues, priorities or projects and find common middle ground that preserves Eagan s quality of life and fosters growth, opportunity and job creation.

6 It's been an honor and a privilege to serve Eagan as Mayor. I look forward to continuing that work and I ask for and hope I have earned your vote in November.

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