Meet the Mayoral Candidates: Rod Karst
October 27, 2021
• Current age? 60
• How long have you lived in Glasgow? "All my life (outside of college years)."
• Why should voters pick you? "I have the experience from being on the council for over a decade; I have the leadership experience (past and current board positions); I have the desire to continue to serve the people of Glasgow."
• What experience do you bring to the table?
"I have served on the Glasgow City Council for over a decade (currently the President of the Council).
I am the President of the Glasgow Recreation Board (have been for around 20 years).
I am on the Milk River Inc. Board (currently Vice President).
I am on the Valley County HOPE Project Board (currently Secretary).
I am on the Valley County Friends of the Swimming Pool Committee.
Served on the Valley County Fair Board (past President).
Served on the Valley County Refuse Board.
Served on the Montana Association of Student Councils Executive Board.
Served on the Montana Federation of Swimming Board (former Director and Chairman).
Served as Chairman of the Northeast Montana Relay For Life (10 years)."
• What is the biggest issue facing Glasgow right now, and how will you tackle it?
"The main areas that people have concern about are:
• The condition of our streets. We will continue to work towards finding the money to invest in them. At approximately $50,000 a block to repair them, our budget has been limited. We have moved money in our budget to give us more to use in making repairs, we pushed to get more gas tax money to use on repairs, and we will continue to look for ways to stretch our budget...such as spot repairs instead of full blocks; crack sealing; and patching potholes as we have materials available to do so.
• Water system upgrades. Our water treatment plant just underwent a major overhaul. The system was old and outdated. The new system should continue to provide us high quality water. Our wastewater treatment plant had a multi-million dollar upgrade a few years ago. So we have one of the best in the state. Now we are looking at replacing the water transmission line that provides the water from the Missouri River to our treatment plant. We have had issues with leaks in an almost 8 mile stretch. We are looking at securing state and federal funding to cover these costs, so as to not put the burden on our local taxpayers.
• Our Police Department. Our department has developed a less than stellar reputation in the past five years. They are one of the best trained and best equipped departments in the state. When we went through the process of hiring a new Chief of Police, a lot of concern and questioning was aimed at how do we change that reputation. Our current leadership team (Chief Weber and Assistant Chief Edwards) had some positive ideas to assist in changing the reputation for the better. They had already started with Community Policing. The walking through neighborhoods and visiting with the people face to face (not just driving through the neighborhoods); they want to bring back the School Resource Officer concept to provide more of a presence in the schools (we had a grant that funded that program in the past; and it is no longer available); do more events that has the officers dealing with the citizens in a position that shows their human side (not just the authority side), Coffee with a Cop, helping with the Polar Plunge, helping with the Paint Run, helping with the Haunted Hayride, etc. These are just a few of the ideas that are being developed to help mold the department's reputation in a more positive manner.
• Taxes. I have heard the comment that we are taxing people out of our city. We have worked hard to keep our increases to a minimum (1 and 2% increases when possible); when increases were necessary we raised rates gradually instead of all in one big leap (we learned a good lesson when we increased our charges when we did the Wastewater Treatment Plant all at once). We utilize grants and low interest rate loans when and where we can. We will continue this practice to ease the burden on you the taxpayer."
• If elected, what will be the focus of your office from day one?
"I want to insure that the people of Glasgow are feeling like that they are getting the most bang out of their tax dollars. That means that we are providing quality services for them; that when they have questions, they get answers; and that we handle matters as quickly and professionally as possible."
• How will you work with the council members to get stuff done?
"By including them in the decisions that are being made. They all have ideas on how to make the city better, so we all need to be openminded about it.
• Anything else you would like voters to know about you?
"I have always worked to represent the people of Glasgow. Even when my personal beliefs didn't match the will of the people, I have voted the way they wanted me to vote. I have been and will continue to be available to the people. When they have had issues and approached me about it, I have given them the assistance they have needed. Glasgow is my home and I take pride in what we have here."