Mark Andresen Mount Vernon

City Council

Mark Andresen

Mark Andresen

My name is Mark Andresen. I am a proud Iowan who grew up in Ankeny and graduated from Iowa State University with a Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management Degree. My passion is to serve the community. Therefore, I am running for city council. I have a daughter in third grade at Washington Elementary. We made a move from Connecticut to come back home. When she said that she loves this town more than she ever thought, that was all I needed to hear. My parents live here as well. We have three generations living in this wonderful town. I’ve had the privilege of working at a wonderful restaurant uptown. I am continuing my career at Kirkwood, where I’m helping students progress in their professional future. Our family enjoys using our parks, going to games and performances.

I am proud to be a member of the Chocolate Stroll Committee, while also serving on the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Why are you running? Is there a specific issue you plan to champion?

I am running for city council because I am excited to keep our town the best town I’ve lived in. Our uptown is special. We all know this. I really want to make sure that uptown is protected, and that our local businesses succeed. The Bypass has always been a contentious topic. There is definitely an opportunity to help that area grow, while keeping uptown a priority. It’s the heartbeat of Mount Vernon, so I am excited to be a part of seeing and ensuring that we grow in both areas, because there is a great opportunity to enhance and accentuate the Mount Vernon experience. Speaking with so many parents bringing their children to visit or watch their children attend Cornell, they have said that our local businesses were a huge part of coming to Mount Vernon.

I have made it a point to attend city council and school board meetings for the past year, often being the only citizen there. It has been a pleasure getting to know our council members, mayor, police chief, city administrator, as well as everyone else involved with our city administration. It has been a pleasure meeting our school board, superintendent, and everyone who takes such great care of our children.

Where would you like to see more or less money in the city budget spent?

As we look forward in these difficult times, our budget is certainly going to continue to be a focus moving forward. We are fortunate to have Chris as our administrator. I read through all of our city meeting packets and they are well thought out and have given me great knowledge regarding the past, present, and future or Mount Vernon. We need to focus on the needs of Mount Vernon. We all have wants, but that isn’t necessarily beneficial for everyone. I want to hear from everyone, as I make it a point to listen to every opinion.

If you are elected, what would you like to see happen during your term of office?

I am running to be a Mount Vernon City Council member because I will ensure that we continue to grow, while maintaining what we’re known for and what attracts people here. This is a special town. I look forward to ensuring that our children, parents, and all of us thrive and continue loving our great town.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Thank you for considering me. I will ensure that Mount Vernon remains the best town that anyone would want to live in.

Paul Tuerler Mount Vernon

City Council

Paul Tuerler

Paul Tuerler

I was born and raised in Northeast Ohio, the youngest of 6 children. My wife Debbie & I moved to the area in 1988 and have made Mount Vernon our home beginning in 1994. I have worked for Collins Aerospace (formerly Rockwell Collins) for 21 years and am a Sr. Quality Engineer for Compliance to Quality and Regulatory requirements. We have two sons that both graduated from Mount Vernon, Jordan (Los Angeles) and Marshall (Ankeny). I enjoy any time I can spend with family and friends, especially my two grandchildren. I am an avid music fan and reader of fiction, historical fiction and biographies.

Give us your assessment of the city. What is going well; what would you like to see changed?

The city of Mount Vernon has continued to be operated in a progressive manner while being mindful of expenses and the impact this has on the taxpayer. The excellent staff works hard at maximizing our opportunities through judicious use of TIF (Tax Increment Financing), targeted Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) spending and taking advantage of our excellent bonding capacity. We are currently in a period of residential growth, which has always been an economic engine for our community and I would like to help maintain healthy spending to enhance our community.

Why are you running? Is there a specific issue you plan to champion?

I am running for a variety of reasons. My parents immigrated from Switzerland and active engagement in government and public service has always been a big part of my upbringing. I have had the honor to serve Mount Vernon as a member of the Parks & Recreation Board (6 years), City Council (8 years) and as Mayor (6 years). I have had some changes in my life that I believe allow me to step in and serve my community again. This is a time when residential growth, development around the Highway 30 bypass, and continued infrastructure needs will require thoughtful consideration, not just for the moment, but for the long term good of the community.

If you are elected, what would you like to see happen during your term of office?

I will press for the sidewalk improvement program to be jumpstarted so that the older areas of our community are walkable and inviting. I will also work to continue to support our excellent City Staff to do their job effectively and efficiently. They are there day in and day out to make our city the great community it is.

Where would you like to see more or less money in the city budget spent?

I believe that the City Budget is a dynamic plan that needs to be addressed with a mixture of long term planning, while still allowing the agility required to address the unknown. I believe the City’s budget is well run and would work hard to maintain this pattern, much as I have over my 14 years on Council and as Mayor.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I feel that I provide the community a unique perspective as I have served in an adversary role (Parks & Rec), a legislative role (Council) and in the Executive role (Mayor). I am extremely familiar with how the city does the People’s work and wish to bring my experience and knowledge back to work for Mount Vernon. I feel strongly that all voices, given in a civil and respectful manner, deserve to be heard and considered before making any decisions. We will not always agree with the end result of my decision making, but rest assured I will always keep an open mind.

Stephanie West Mount Vernon

City Council

Stephanie West

Stephanie West

I grew up here, graduated from Mount Vernon High School and then Cornell College, and moved back to the community in 2010 when my entrepreneurial spirit led me to open a small business. My husband, Greg, and I have a blended family with eight children, five of whom are college graduates. One is currently a college senior, and the youngest two, Matt and Andrew Heck, attend Mount Vernon High School. I currently work in town as a business analyst and project manager for Hertz Farm Management, where I have been employed for six years. Prior to coming back home, I had a 20-year career in senior management-level roles in marketing, advertising, and communications. I served for seven years on the board of the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group, a Main Street Iowa organization; for six years on the board of the Southeast Linn Community Center in Lisbon; and for three years on the session of First Presbyterian Church in Mount Vernon. I also previously served on the executive committee of the Professional Women’s Network in Cedar Rapids.

Give us your assessment of the city. What is going well; what would you like to see changed?

We are served very well by an excellent city manager, passionate CDG executive director and capable, hard-working city employees. We have accomplished a lot. During my first term on the Mount Vernon City Council, we made the following accomplishments: building the Lester Buresh Community wellness center, purchasing a former church to convert to a new police facility, merging Mt. Vernon and Lisbon police forces, encouraging social distancing and the wearing of masks during the Covid pandemic, providing local small business Covid relief funds, responding to the derecho, developing our uptown outdoor dining areas and new pocket park, improving and building walking trails, finishing the Quiet Zone area with the railroad line at Springville Road, supporting the in-town use of golf carts and UTVs, reducing the Business 30 speed limit from Mt. Vernon to Lisbon, joining the Area Economic Alliance, supporting the addition of the Mt. Vernon CityCam with KCRG-TV, and proactively planning for future growth in new developments and the Highway 30 bypass area.

Regarding areas I’d like to see changed, see my answers to the following questions.

Why are you running? Is there a specific issue you plan to champion?

I am running again because I believe we are far from done. My belief is that this community only gets better, but not without consistent analysis, commitment, and hard work. There are several things I’d like to see happen, but the wayfinding signage project is probably one of the highest on my list. With my marketing background I know the value of proper signage to drive traffic, and that is why I feel it important to leverage our bypass plan with wayfinding signage directing Highway 30 and Highway 1 traffic to our small businesses. I initially voiced the need for this during a planning session over two years ago, and I recently made the motion to direct $10,000 to our consultant Confluence regarding a signage plan for the bypass area. DOT rules and regulations can be tricky to understand and follow, and we need to ensure we invest money wisely. This signage is something I’d like to see through to completion, because I believe that by leveraging traffic and signage the right way, our community can reap more benefits of new and returning visitors.

If you are elected, what would you like to see happen during your term of office?

In addition to the wayfinding signage mentioned previously, I’d like to see improved internet services – ultimately fiber-optic cable — for our citizens; public wi-fi offered in city parks and buildings; something new to evolve from the old fire station; analysis and progressive vision regarding Main Street parking; continued commitment to city composting services; a fair and thorough evaluation of responses to the RFP for city garbage service; and continued improvement in walkability via the sidewalk and trails programs, among other things.

Where would you like to see more or less money in the city budget spent?

I think we are doing a good job of keeping a balance between the CIP (capital improvement projects) we need to focus on for city infrastructure needs as well as a progressive vision toward the future.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

My passion for this community speaks for itself, but in addition, I pride myself in taking action. I get things done, and I do that by listening, involvement, commitment, preparedness, and responsiveness. I look forward to serving this unique community for another four years, and would appreciate your vote on Tuesday, November 2.

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