Matt McKinney – In their own words
Years in Webster City: 36
Occupation: Director of radiology – Van Diest Medical Center
Previous offices: Board of directors of Webster City Free Clinic
Why are you running for City Council?
I am running for city council because I want to give back to the community. I want to see the City of Webster City prosper, and I feel that I can make a positive contribution to the City Council. I pride myself in being an honest person with high integrity. If I am elected to fill one of the three council seats, I will not come into office with any type of agenda. My main goal would be to make sound decisions that would better the community I live and work in.
What qualifications do you bring to the job?
I have worked in the service industry for most of my life. For the last almost 20 years, I have worked in healthcare, in which the job I do entails working with members of the community on a daily basis. I understand the importance of listening, and to following through with doing what you say you are going to do. The past 12 years, I have been in healthcare management at Van Diest Medical Center. This position requires that I develop and work within a budget for my department. I must allocate staff and resources in order to stay within that budget, and I work together with other department managers and administration in the operation of the hospital. I am very good at researching and analyzing topics to come up with what I feel is the best course of action.
What is Webster City’s greatest asset?
I believe that the people of this community are our greatest asset. We have very diverse and talented people in Webster City. These people who work, live, & volunteer in our community are ultimately what drives the success of Webster City. We have a very strong school system that prepares our youth for their future as adults. We need to work together as a community to encourage people to continue to grow personally and professionally, and then to capitalize on the strengths that they have to offer. We all have something to offer that can help to make this community a better place.
What are the top three challenges facing the community in the next few years?
I think the top challenge facing our community is economic development. We need to actively recruit new businesses to Webster City, and to assist existing businesses however we can with expanding and growing new jobs. I also feel that we need to work on growing our population base. This will occur with new economic development, but we can also work to entice families who are looking to move to central Iowa to consider Webster City. Our community can be an attractive alternative for families relocating into the area, but who do not want to live in a larger city. Thirdly, I feel that we need to work together as a community to make Webster City a better place. We need to focus on the positives within Webster City, to work together on those things that we can improve and make better, and to move forward and not dwell on any mistakes of the past.
How would you address those challenges?
I would work together with the other City Council members, and the residents of Webster City, to do everything we can to position Webster City as an attractive option for new business. Offering economic incentives is one way to do that. I feel we should be proactive in getting Webster City’s name out there as a location that has growth potential for new business. Working with the City’s Economic Development Director to promote Webster City throughout the State and Midwest is one way to do so. I would work diligently to be a positive leader for our city. I would listen to the citizens and would work hard to help Webster City be successful now and in the future.
What should the city’s role be in economic development?
I believe that the city has a dual role in economic development. First, we need to ensure that the community has the infrastructure in place to support a growth in population and industry. By infrastructure, I am referring to things such as roads, electrical and water/sewer capacity, etc. If these things aren’t in place, we will have trouble encouraging new business in Webster City. We also need to have the necessary housing available to support a population growth that would come from economic growth. Secondly, I believe the city should work to offer any economic incentives that are available to new businesses looking to establish within Webster City. This could be through TIF financing as one example. The city should actively be working to encourage economic development and job growth.
What would you do to keep utility rates in line?
I think that one thing we could do is to make sure that we are regularly evaluating the electrical services and costs. I feel that the city should do a cost comparison to other similar sized communities in Iowa on at least an every year basis. We should also always be looking for ways that we can reduce the cost of providing electrical service to the community. One newer technology that may be able assist in allowing residents to have more control over their electrical rates is smart meters. This would allow users to have more control over their electric usage and ultimately they have more control to reduce their utility bills. Although I feel there are still many questions to be answered as to whether this is the right answer for Webster City, this is an option that can be evaluated and considered.
If elected, what is the first thing you would like to get done? And how you would accomplish this?
I do not have a specific agenda that I want to accomplish, should I be elected to the City Council. If I am elected, before I would even take office in January, I would try to immerse myself in learning as much as possible about the city budget, city code and ordinances, and to gather as much information about how our city operates as possible. This will best prepare me to hit the ground running once I would take office.
How important is collaboration and compromise for a City Council member?
I think that in any leadership position, collaboration and compromise are both important aspects to being successful. The council should work towards collaboration towards a common goal as much as possible, but at times compromise is also needed. I feel that one strength that I have is that I work well with people. I can work with those whose opinions may differ from mine, and do so by looking for common ground, and to always keep in mind the goals we are trying to accomplish. I would always be looking at what is in the best interest of the City whenever working with the other City Council members. I am not afraid to stand up for something I believe in, but I also understand that I do not have all the answers. It is important to work together to move the city forward in a positive direction.
Give us your visions for the future of Webster City.
My vision for Webster City would be one of growth and future success. Bringing people to Webster City through growth in existing business, expansion and economic development of new business, and showcasing what we have to offer as a community is what I see as real opportunities for our future. With the growth of industry in the region, I see Webster City as a good option for families that are looking for a place to call home. We have had some recent successes to build on, but there is still a lot of work to be done. I want to work together with the people of Webster City in continuing to grow and to improve our community.