Gardner council members added a familiar face to the dias on Nov. 3.
Todd Winters was appointed to serve out the remainder of Larry Fotovich’s term, which expires in April 2015.
Winters was appointed to the council in 2006, and sought and won election to the council in 2007.
He decided not to seek re-election in 2011 because he was starting a family. He has two children under the age of three at home.
“The dust has settled and I have a little bit more of a routine,” he told council members during public interviews for the Fotovich appointment.
He has lived in Gardner since 2001 and also owns a chiropractor business in town. In addition to his time on the council, Winters has also served on the Gardner Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, as a Rotary Club President and volunteered with the Festival on the Trails committee.
“I don’t have a personal agenda,” Winters said. “I am basically here for what’s best for the community.”
Winters served on the council during tumultuous years, including the de-annexation of the intermodal property. Council member Steve Shute inquired why Winters voted to de-annex the property. Winters explained that he was in favor of signing the intermodal contracts. However, he said the majority of the council agreed not to sign the contracts, and the city faced a liability if the council chose not to de-annex.
In 2011, Winters cast the lone vote against a city budget that raised the mill levy by 6.5 mills. The increase cost the average Gardner homeowner an additional $120 per year. At the time, Winters said he favored a smaller increase. He was overruled by a then-all appointed council that included current council member Kristina Harrison.
Winters listed infrastructure, public safety and parks as the biggest issues facing Gardner. He noted that some infrastructure needs were lagging following some lean budgetary years.
“The parks are important as well,” he said. “Standard of living is important. We have a great parks system now, and I would like to see that continue to improve.”
His personal priorities would be to see a utility director hired.
“Establishing a public utilities board is very important with all the things that need to be done in that area,” he said.
Winters would also like to see Gardner’s wastewater lift stations improved and see a police chief hired.
In the future, Winters hopes to see increased light industrial development in Gardner.
“I do believe crossing over I-35 is important,” he told the council.
He would also like to see more diverse housing available in town and see the downtown area enhanced or revitalized.
“You know it’s a really vital part of our community, and I’d like to see that grow and improve,” he said.
Winters given appointment nod