Pella Council Member Bruce Schiebout is serving in his fifth term on the Pella City Council in the citys 3rd ward, and he is running for mayor against Don DeWaard.
Full interview with Bruce:
Written Responses from the PACE Alliance City Council Candidate Forum:
1. What is the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity for the City of Pella? What unique experience would you personally bring as a City Councilor to help address the challenge and opportunity that you identified?
“The biggest challenge and opportunity are one and the same…Growth. We are either moving forward or backward…there is not static! I feel that City government’s role is to provide a fertile environment for growth with an eye on what ultimately is best for its citizens. As founder of a 30+ year old family business and in the middle of my 5th term as council representative for Pella’s 3rd Ward, I feel I bring a unique perspective to the Mayoral position.”
2. Whether earned or unearned, Pella has a reputation for not always being business friendly (e.g., difficult to open or expand a business, restrictive regulations, lengthy approval process, etc.). What role should the City Council play in helping the community overcome that perception? As a City Councilor what is your vision for encouraging our existing businesses and corporations to expand in or attracting new businesses to Pella?
“After spending hours upon hours over the last 18 years working with businesses and developers I take exception to the statement that Pella is not business friendly, after all look at our growth in the pat decades. Business is the “life blood” of any community and we are blessed to have 2 world class family owned businesses and many other medium to small businesses in Pella. But City government’s role is to collaborate with business for the most beneficial outcome of not only business but also its citizens. Should we support a world class business establishing its North American headquarters in our community? Yes! Should we support a brewery in our community? Yes…but in our central business district? That becomes a little more difficult!”
3. In thinking about your role as a City Councilor, how can the business and corporate community support you in your role on the City Council?
“One word…Communication! We can’t help if we don’t know the problem.”
4. Generally speaking, do you view population growth as a good thing for Pella? As a City Councilor, how would you work to support efforts to grow Pella’s population?
“Population growth is imperative for any community to grow. I previously stated my opinion on the necessity for growth. Along with growth comes community services such as water, sewer, transportation issues, police and fire protection, EMT services, electricity, telecommunications utility…the list goes on. Not to mention quality of life issues such as parks, pools, bike paths, community centers and more! My point is that these things should be the city’s focus and if done right, along with the collaboration of business, Pella should be ripe for future growth.”
5. Workforce Availability is the biggest challenge for our business and corporate community should the City Council play in attracting new workers and retaining them once they are here?
“ As a business owner I know too well the problem of attracting and retaining valuable and competent employees. I will refer to my answer in question #4 as I see the role of the city in attracting and retaining a competent and adequate workforce.”
6. Think specifically about the recruitment and retention of young professionals (e.g. Millennials and GenZ). Research indicates that young professionals are choosing communities they want to live in based on affordability and quality-of-life factors such as recreation, robust restaurant and social or cultural attractions. As a City Councilor, how will you work to support the efforts of the City and the business and corporate community to attract and retain young professionals?
“The wants and interests of the current young professionals have spanned the generations before them. Although the focus on recreational activities may have changed, social and cultural attractions along with great eating establishments have always been significant factors toward a postie quality of life. That being said I do support the development of affordable housing, recreational and social venues to attract and retain the current young professionals that are vital for the growth of our local businesses.”
7. One issue of importance to young professionals with children is having access to quality and affordable childcare. The Marion County Childcare Needs Analysis released in March 2019 found that 61% of parents in the community had difficulty finding childcare. Given the results of the Analysis, what role would you play as a City Councilor in assisting the City with the need for childcare capacity for the community?
“Today’s trend and need for two income household has strained our community’s childcare system to provide quality and affordable childcare for young working families. I applaud the current efforts mad and would like to see further collaboration between business, our school system and the city.”