1. Are there any skills or experience that you possess that would serve as an asset to the Madison City Commission? And what makes you stand out among the field of city commission candidates?
I have over ten years of experience working with rural water systems and communities across our state identifying sustainable solutions to utility challenges. I closely work with regulators and financing entities ranging from the South Dakota DENR to USDA Rural Development. When I joined the city commission six years ago our community was struggling with a collapsed clear well and compliance issues. Since then we have been able to bring an alternate water source to town and implement an annual upgrade plan to ensure our water & wastewater system meets the needs of our community for years to come.
2. What are the three major issues that you believe the city commissioners will face during the next three years?
- COVID-19 came from nowhere and is now front and center of all decisions we make. We need to balance the health concerns of our community with individual liberties. I think we have found a good balance but need to continue to monitor the situation closely and be opening public facilities when the appropriate time arrives.
- We are facing a large backlog of deferred maintenance. Addressing infrastructure upgrades with a long view is critical for our community's future success. One of the most important duties the city commission has is ensuring we maintain infrastructure to a standard that meets community expectations.
- Opportunities abound in Madison. Balancing community needs as DSU continues to grow and other opportunities materialize is going to be a major part of the decision making at the city commission for the coming years.
3. What Efforts to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 Virus currently serve as a significant issue for government officials at all levels. The city of Madison has decided to temporarily close city offices and some public buildings, such as the city Armory (used for rec programs) and the municipal library, to help slow down the transmission of the disease. Have Madison officials taken prudent measures or are there other steps you'd suggest, and can you offer information as to why?
I believe that the local small businesses have stepped up to the challenge of addressing public health while still trying to serve the community in their respective ways. The City has a two-fold challenge in that they need to ensure that city staff are safe while at the same time balancing public health with personal liberties.
I am in agreement with the measures the commission has taken so far. As we get further into summer and start returning to normal, I would like to see the park's operations return to normal and perhaps the outdoor pool open.
4. Madison officials are currently working on a water project that will install new underground utility mains in northeast and northwest neighborhoods and a new 750,000-gallon water tower. Workers are expected to install 22,800 feet of new 6- and 8- inch water mains, water valves, fire hydrants and other infrastructure. In total, the water, sanitary-sewer and storm-sewer improvements could cost $22.2 million. What is your opinion of the project?
One of the biggest challenges this community faces is the need to reinvest in infrastructure. Much of the water, wastewater and street infrastructure has met the end of its useful life. Over the next several years we need to reinvest into these vital community assets to ensure they continue to meet our needs. The USDA Rural Development (RD) funded water project is a good start to this process, we were able to secure several million dollars in federal grant money and address areas of town that experience a large number of breaks and disruptions in service. This project is a good example of the upgrades we can accomplish when we bring 2nd cent infrastructure funds, Water, and Wastewater funds together to upgrade key infrastructure simultaneously.
5. What is your opinion concerning the current state of Madison's streets? Should the city place more or less emphasis on street maintenance or are the current efforts adequate?
There are several streets that have their best days behind them. With the upcoming RD project, along with the annual infrastructure projects to continue after that, we will be resurfacing streets while we replace the water and wastewater lines. My vision is to partner the Water & Wastewater enterprise funds with our 2nd cent infrastructure funds to maximize future infrastructure projects.
6. Madison and Lake County officials are currently working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on plans intended to reduce flooding problems in the city and downstream areas. What's your opinion of those efforts, especially taking into consideration the flooding that occurred in 2019?
The floodplain is a major feature of our community and has been a top priority of mine since I was first elected to the commission. Unfortunately, in order to address issues with flooding, we need to work with the Corp of Engineers. This last summer I worked with East Dakota Water Development District and Lake County to partner on what I hope to be the final series of studies needed to mitigate community flood risks. Time has proven that the ‘93 event was not a once in a lifetime flood and we need to take action to minimize future flooding risks.
Please Vote for Jeremiah Corbin for Madison City Commission on June 2nd.