CLEAR LAKE — The four candidates running for three seats on the Clear Lake City Council discussed several issues during a forum sponsored by the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and KGLO News last night.
Two candidates are running for an at-large seat on the council, Creighton Schmidt and Christopher Hogg, with the other two races are uncontested on the ballot with First Ward councilman Mark Ebeling running for another term, with political newcomer Beth Ann Schumacher running for the council’s Third Ward seat.
The candidates were asked what they thought would be among the key issues the council would have to address in the next four years. Schumacher says affordable housing is a crucial issue. “We have a lot of really good housing developments in the community for people over the age of 55, but we also have a lot of new people coming into the community to serve in different kinds of capacities as teachers or whatever and they can’t find places to live — or we have families that want to come into the system for the schools that they open enroll and drive their children here because there’s no place for them to get housing here.”
Ebeling says besides addressing housing, the city also needs to remain fiscally responsible. “Taxes are never going to go away. We need to make sure that we are fiscally responsible at the city level even though assessed values continue to go up, which is a blessing and a curse, but we need to do well on the fiscal side of things.”
Schmidt says affordable market-rate housing is an issue that he’s not only heard about since he moved here three years ago to take his former job as the city’s Finance Director, he personally experienced it. “It was difficult to find a house for me. When my mom moved here, it was difficult to find a house for her which was right after, and my in-laws couldn’t find one in Clear Lake, but they purchased in Mason City. I’ve just heard so many stories from so many people in the community who are looking for a certain house and aren’t able to find the one they are looking for. A lot of those are citizens who already live here and are looking for a different house, all over the map. So it’s exciting to see, I think we have multiple big housing projects that are started right now.”
Hogg says as a life-long Clear Laker, he knows housing is an issue. “It’s just what it is. We need more affordable housing within Clear Lake, both single-family homes, apartment buildings, long-term rentals in both single family homes and apartments, we need it all. We need to work with developers to help incentivize them to come in here and choose Clear Lake to build these projects.”
You can see the full video of last night’s candidate forum below