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Adam Lunt – Ottumwa City Council

By Ellis Codjoe, September 29, 2017

Candidates were given the following instructions along with the candidate questionnaire:
Include your name, the office you are running for, your phone number and email.
We will post your responses in full and unedited (do your own spell check)

  • Explain why you are running for public office.
    • I believe the current city council, mayor, and administration have been doing a fantastic job
      with the revitalization of our city. This needs to continue, and I will make sure this happens.
      I also am of the opinion that all citizens should do their part in the rebuilding, upkeep, and
      beatification of their hometown, and this will be accomplished through revenue generation
      and hard work. I will be at the forefront of this charge and not one to “bash” the current
      administration for lack of progress, when progress is evident.
  • What will be your primary focus if elected?
    • Everything that impacts our city is either directly or indirectly related to revenue. Streets and
      bridges, for example, are a huge issue, and increasing our revenue stream will reduce the
      burden on the budget. One of the main sources of this revenue will be to attract new
      business to the area. This is done by job creation that these new companies bring with
      them. In addition, I will focus on finding available grant money to supplement these
  • How long have you lived in Ottumwa?
    • I graduated from Ottumwa High School in 2002 and lived here until 2004. I then moved
      back in 2006 for 3 years, prior to moving to Fremont. My wife and I bought our house in
      Ottumwa in March of 2014, and have lived here since.
  • What is your professional/work history? Are you working now?
    • I spent 8 years working in the automotive service industry. This included time at Vaughn
      Automotive, Oskaloosa Motors and Pella Motors. During my time at Vaughn Automotive, I
      also was co-owner/operator of a motorcycle and tire shop in Fremont. For the last 5 years I
      have been the Director of Operations for Lunt Reliability Service here in Ottumwa.
  • Please provide a list of your volunteer activities and some information about those activities. (include time on city boards, commissions, councils, etc).
    • I am a member of the Free and Accepted Masons lodge #16 in Ottumwa
  • What is your educational background?
    • I graduated from Ottumwa High School in 2002 and went on to attend Indian Hills
      Community College for a short time. I then spent time working on technical certificates in
      the industrial reliability field, which is what Lunt Reliability does today.
  • Who is your biggest political influence? Why?
    • Any person that decides to serve a political office is a great influence of mine. I believe it is
      a great service to the community, and we need people to step up and perform the task. I am
      very excited to see the fantastic turn out of candidates this year for both the council and
      mayor’s seat.
  • We often hear from individuals seeking public office of a need for better transparency and communication with the public. What specifically will you do if elected to improve transparency and communications?
    • I believe the city needs a communications liason to work with the press, as it is critical that
      the public is kept abreast of council’s decisions. In addition, people wanting the
      transparency can be kept up to date at the open council meetings, and if unable to attend,
      are streamed live on the web. In this regard, I think the current administration is doing a
      good job of staying transparent.
  • What are the three most pressing issues facing the City of Ottumwa? How would you address those issues?
    • The most pressing issues at this time are public safety, infrastructure, and the revitalization
      of the community. This being said, all of these things can be greatly improved with an
      increase in revenue. With money coming in, we will be able to hire the police and fire
      personnel we need, improve the roads and infrastructure, and speed up the revitalization of
      our city. That being said, the revitalization of downtown is on a great track, the roads are
      improving every day, and business keep looking at our community. This needs to continue
      and we are well on our way to a world class city.
  • What skills, qualities or experience do you possess that separate you from your opponents?
    • We have a great group of candidates this year that all bring a fresh perspective to the table.
      Personally, I have spent the last 9 years in management, and understand how to balance
      income with expenses. In addition, I pride myself on my ability to make decisions based on
      facts and data, not emotion. If elected, I will base my decisions in the council on the best
      interests of the public, not my personal opinion.
  • What can the city of Ottumwa do and what should it do to ease the property tax burden put on homeowners?
    • While in agreement that the increase in property tax is a burden to home owners, the
      reassessment was long overdue. Unfortunately, we are now playing catch up, and we do
      need revenue to provide citizens with the services and infrastructure they need. People
      need their roads fixed, police and fire services, and a city that can attract business, and this
      all requires money.
  • What can the city do to help young adults and millennial become home owners?
    • We need to focus on attracting new business to our community by creating an appealing environment for them. This will create new jobs, and allow young people the opportunity to make the money necessary to provide for themselves and families.
  • What can the City of Ottumwa do to improve the overall quality of our roads? Would you support a one time massive push to improve all roads, even if that meant borrowing a large amount of money?
    • At this time, I think the road repairs are going quite well. I would not approve of a massive
      push/borrow to fix everything at once, as this would create severe congestion in town, worse
      than it is now. The planning commission does a good job of prioritizing repairs, based both
      on financial availability as well as making sure arteries stay open to maintain the flow of
  • What can the City of Ottumwa do to improve quality of life activities for it’s residents?
    • We currently have some of the best parks in the state, as well as Bridge View, The Beach,
      an amazing library, and the list goes on. I believe the quality of life activities are already
      here, and are just underutilized by the public. As the downtown revitalization project
      continues, and businesses continue to come in, I believe, that alone will create some
      additional quality of life activities for our residents. In addition, our bike trail system has a
      wonderful interconnected loop, connecting the shopping areas with the parks, leading to an
      amazing outdoor experience for people to enjoy.
  • What can the City of Ottumwa do to help establish new attractions? (Example: Museums, zoos, casino, traveling attractions, concerts, festivals, events, etc)
    • I am a huge proponent of giving abatements and rebates to attractions, as well as business,
      if the revenue stream will show a positive R.O.I. This means, if the city needs to offer a
      waver on a traveling attraction permit fee, if the revenue generation is in excess of the
      permit amount, we should approve that.
  • Do you support efforts to revitalize downtown Ottumwa including: White Box Program, Roof Program, Facade Improvement Program, Upstairs Apartments Program, downtown camera system, street-scaping plan, Canteen Alley Project, Etc.? Should these programs be expanded to other business districts?
    • I am a huge supporter of all of the efforts to revitalize downtown. They are making amazing
      strides and this needs to continue. I would also support expanding this to other areas,
      however, would support focusing on the areas already impacted by these efforts first, as to
      not “bite off more than one can chew”.
  • Ottumwa has long held a great financial rating, however budgets continue to decline state wide. Should Ottumwa consider eliminating or privatizing city services in order to make quality of life improvements for citizens? Explain including what services you would consider cutting or privatizing.
    • I think we should look at the possibility of combining some resources that have overlap and
      redundancy. While one department is slow, they could help another to maximize our
      resources and cut overall costs.
  • Do you believe that tax credits, breaks and other benefits given to box stores wishing to locate in Ottumwa (Example: Hobby Lobby, Kohls) harms other businesses already located here? Should the city continue offering those tax breaks and benefits? Should the council decide to stop offering these types of tax breaks, what would you do to continue attempting to attract new businesses?
    • I believe these tax breaks and credits being used to bring in new business, also brings new
      people into our community. This increase of people helps business already located here, as
      it increases their customer base. I am an advocate of offering these breaks, if it creates
      more jobs and brings more people to our community. In addition, this adds to the quality of
      life aspect addressed earlier.
  • Which is more important for Ottumwa’s prosperity in the future: Retail or manufacturing (industry)? Explain.
    • It’s hard to say on a general level which type of industry is more important. Manufacturing
      has a larger impact on our infrastructure, but at the same time creates more jobs than retail.
      I believe any increase in industry is a positive change for our city.
  • Wapello County has a higher unemployment rate than all bordering counties and is often considered one of the top 3 poorest in the state of Iowa. Why do you feel that is the case and what would you do to correct it?
    • This all goes back to job creation. This is done by giving incentives to companies to locate
      in our city, improving our overall infrastructure, and enticing people to move here. By
      bringing in jobs, our citizens will have a greater opportunity to find work in their respective
      fields which will in turn lower the unemployment rate.
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