Huber, House debate on becoming next Prescott mayorA full house packed the Prescott Ambulance Hall Thursday afternoon as city residents got to hear a mayoral debate between Mark Huber and Diane House.
By: Jason Schulte, Pierce County Herald
PRESCOTT--A full house packed the Prescott Ambulance Hall Thursday afternoon as city residents got to hear a mayoral debate between Mark Huber and Diane House.
Huber and House are running in Tuesday’s election to replace outgoing Mayor Mike Hunter, who is not seeking re-election. Hunter has been mayor since 2004.
Each candidate has council experience, as Huber currently sat on the council since 2009, while House served two terms from 1984-1987 and 1992-2004. Both were also members of the planning commission – Huber from 2002-2009 and House from 2004-2010.
House is a lifelong resident of Prescott, which she believes is an advantage.
“People know me,” she said. “I still hear from people even though I’m on the board. People trust me.”
The two offered their opinions on a lot of subjects during the 40-minute debate. Among them were the following:
The future of the Steamboat Inn: Huber – “I want a two-pound package in a two-pound space, not a five-pound package in a two-pound space.” He also went on to say he loved the Steamboat, it was the billboard for Prescott, a destination. He wants a balanced, sustainable plan, one that goes along with the Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources.
House: She would like to see another restaurant which would benefit the entire community. If condominiums are needed, she wouldn’t have a problem with that.
The economy: Huber said the economy is something “we don’t have a lot of control about. What we should worry about are the things we can control without whining about the economy.” He believes it won’t rebound due to global repercussions and, therefore, reinventing ourselves will be needed.
“I think strategic planning is important,” he added. “We need to determine what our priorities are.”
House believes the economy will change for the better within the next five years and cites the changes in Woodbury, Cottage Grove (Minn.) area, which she sees as a truck driver for a Twin Cities company.
“I don’t think it’ll be long before it jumps the river,” she said. “Growth is the biggest thing Prescott is going to see in the next five years. If we have growth, we can maintain our taxes. We need an (city) administrator that has experience in economic development that can get businesses into our industrial park and downtown.”
Housing developments: House was in favor. Huber, not so much.
“Housing developments take away 80 percent of staff time at city hall. It takes us away from where we need to go,” he said.
Council today: Huber says the current culture of the council is good and city hall has changed for the better the last five to six years. House disagrees.
“The last two months, I got more calls than the entire time I was on the planning commission,” she said. “They feel they aren’t being listened to, they feel the council isn’t listening to them.”
Huber would like to see tourism increase more as Prescott has opportunities like no other – the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers, the access to regional parks and partners like Hastings, Afton (Minn.), River Falls, willing to work together.
House said when the economy turns around, she believes a new school is needed.
“Schools make a community and we need a new school for the people of Prescott,” she said.