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Election 2012: Justin Zenanko, Minnetrista City Council

This week, Lake Minnetonka Patch will be featuring candidates seeking a variety of elected offices. Check back soon for your comprehensive voter guide, coming soon!

Justin Zenanko is running against Bob Christians and Mark Vanderlinde for a seat on the Minnetrista City Council. Mr. Vanderlinde did not respond to Patch's invitation to participate in this segment.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Share something most people don’t know about you.

I have been active in politics since I can remember. I have read articles and watched political debates while my peers would be playing outside. Politics, government and history have always been an interest to me. History of who we are and where we come from is important for us to move forward as a community, state and country. Responsible government is something I believe very strongly in and want to limit government’s power as much as possible. 

What sorts of thoughts come to mind when you think of Lake Minnetonka?

The Lake Minnetonka area is a beautiful place to live. Regardless if you are on its shores or not it is an asset to this community. From increasing residents, retention, recreation and tourism it sets Minnetrista apart from other cities.

Are invasive species a local, state or federal issue? Or is it a mix? Describe your views.

Lake Minnetonka includes many communities and cities on its shore, but even a combined effort of local governments does not have the resources or technology to fix the problem. Federal assistance is not needed at this time.  

What is the most common issue people talk with you about while campaigning? What do you tell them?

Maintaining Minnetrista as a strong community is my focus. I believe Minnetrista has so much to offer its residents that is the duty of the city council to make sure that the people that live here are protected by a local police force, parks and trails are maintained and that the needs of our community are provided for with the upmost attention to making sure that every dollar is spent wisely.  

I am a CPA and it is my job to get most out of every dollar.

How do you feel about the current property tax levels? What about school district taxes (understanding the city council has no control over them)? 

Taxes are a necessity in every community. In the past some groups have led residents to believe taxes have increased dramatically due to a new public works building. Minnetrista maintains a AA+ credit rating has lowered taxes since 2009.

Because the city has no control over levy and bond requests by schools, I feel the city council needs to stay in contact with the district so that we do not outgrow the school district. It is important to remember what affect decisions made in the city has on the community as a whole.

If the funding were available, what projects—either shovel ready or on the drawing board—would you advocate dedicating it to?

Without time in the seat of the city council, I hesitate to answer without a better inside look into the city’s needs if any at this time. I am sure once I am privy to all the information the city collects I will be able to comment.

However, it is my goal to be available to listen to all residents as to how to improve our community.

Are you satisfied with the public safety services being provided to city residents?

With the recent updating of the public safety facility and new equipment in the fire department, Minnetrista has sufficient public safety capacity to take us far into the future. A new tanker/pumper truck was purchased for the fire department that has resulted in the lowering of property insurance rates for many Minnetrista residents.

How would you encourage the average citizen to become more engaged in local government?

The best resources to stay current on city matters are the Minnetrista city Web site and the newsletter that is mailed to every resident in the city. I encourage everyone to attend meetings and participate as this is the best way to get information and facts over opinions.

Open forum. Why should voters cast their ballot for you this November?

I’m a guy willing to do this job. I would come to the office with no particular agenda other than to see the City managed in a responsible manner. The residents of Minnetrista are the “customers” and should be treated as such.

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