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Haeder, Aylward take questions at forum concerning mayor’s race

Posted: Monday, Mar 25th, 2013

Kerwin Haeder and Paul Aylward

HURON – Kerwin Haeder would draw on six years of experience as a city commissioner if elected mayor to focus on workforce development and the housing shortage – making use of tax increment financing to alleviate an inadequate number of homes and apartments.

Recruiting jobs that pay a family wage and city infrastructure are other priorities, he said at the Saturday election forum.

Paul Aylward thinks the city should return to a program of fixing a set number of streets each year. Downtown revitalization and quality jobs are also important, he said.

Huron needs to work on becoming a more presentable city.

“That first impression is extremely important,” Aylward said.

Haeder and Aylward are running for mayor to succeed Mayor David McGirr, who is stepping down this spring after two terms as mayor and three as city commissioner.

Voters will go to the polls April 9.

Haeder has worked at Terex Utilities for 35 years in various capacities, while Aylward recently retired from a career that included 27 years as executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 59.

Also a former school board member, Haeder said Huron has experienced considerable sales tax growth since 2005 when Dakota Provisions opened.

That has driven such improvements as Central Park and Splash Central and renovations to the Fine Arts Center, he said.

Just as the South Dakota State University freshmen architecture students are providing a fresh look at a revitalized downtown, so too should there be a fresh look at all projects, Aylward said.

As mayor, he said he would hold regular listening sessions with people to learn their good ideas. Good jobs will follow, he said.

But he also said he is disturbed that too many kids are living in economically disadvantaged homes, and that too many of them have both parents working.

Haeder, in answering the same question about protecting children, said having a school resource officer is an important deterrent. The police department’s K-9 drug dog has already been successful in reducing the amount of drugs in town.

At the bargaining table, the city needs to be accountable to the taxpayers, the candidates said. Public employees are also taxpayers, but unions can’t ask for more than taxes will allow, Aylward said.

Both taxpayers and workers must be treated fairly, he said.

Haeder and Aylward said they are looking forward to the start of co-mingled recycling and the opening of Splash Central this spring.

Recycling should get under way in early May. Word of the approval of state grant funds to help the city buy a collection truck and containers is expected in a couple weeks, Haeder said.

Aylward said he endorses the recycling program and hopes in the future that Huron can be in a position to sort the items here rather than sending them to Sioux Falls because it will mean more jobs.

The Splash Central water park will open in late May and was made possible because more than 800 donors stepped forward to contribute $4 million, or one third of the project cost, Haeder said.

It also transformed a blighted area into Central Park with the demolition of all but the Campus Center on the former Huron University property.

Aylward said the facility will have been nearly finished when the new mayor and commissioner take office, so his focus would be to look at the cost operation with the hope it can support itself.

For the complete article see the 03-24-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 03-24-2013 paper.

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