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 previously served on the city commission our community was struggling with a collapsed clear well and compliance issues. During my time of service to our community, we were 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?
- As life returns to normal after COVID-19 we need to take this opportunity to focus city leaders on community priorities. One of these priorities is getting the outdoor pool fixed correctly and as soon as possible. I was disappointed when the City was unable to open the pool last summer but had hoped they would take the opportunity to address some maintenance issues so we could hit the ground running this year… Well, that didn’t happen and now we need some leadership that will send a clear signal that the outdoor pool is a prized community asset that we want open.
- 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’s your opinion about the steps that city commissioners and other Madison officials have taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic? Has the city taken appropriate steps to help slow down the transmission of the coronavirus disease during the past year?
I feel that community leaders made sound decisions based on available information. I am looking forward to life after COVID.
4. Madison’s public schools were closed for two days in February due to a broken water main near the high school that shut down water service to the middle and high school buildings. Construction contractors and city officials are currently working on a water project that will install new underground utility mains in northeast and northwest neighborhoods. In total, the project is expected to cost more than $22 million. What’s your opinion of the project that’s intended to modernize water, sanitary-sewer and storm-sewer infrastructure in the city?
One of the biggest challenges this community faces is the need to reinvest in infrastructure. Much of the water, wastewater, and street infrastructure have 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. Many Madison residents were aware for years about the city’s need for more residential housing. City officials revised in recent years zoning rules that added townhomes into the mix for residential housing. In addition, they and the Lake Area Improvement Corporation have encouraged private developers to construct more housing in Madison. However, earlier this year, city commissioners did not act on a homeowner’s request to change the zoning for land used for a residential home from manufacturing to residential to allow a home addition. Does the city provide equal treatment for homeowners and for private developers?
I spent several years on the Planning and Zoning commission before I served on the City Commission, I then served as the commission liaison. So, I have seen my share of appeals and variance requests. I don’t see this situation as preferential treatment for developers vs homeowners as much as another example of friction in properties that fall in boundary areas between zones. A year ago, a developer was denied the ability to change the number of dwellings for a building in a high-density residential area that was next to a rural residential district.
I think there is a lesson to be learned from these situations that can be incorporated into long-term planning. The City Commission and Planning and Zoning need to understand the need for adequate buffers between industrial and residential zones. Additionally, within residential zones, appropriate buffers need to be in place between rural residential / R90 and the higher density housing of R20 zones.
Please Vote for Jeremiah Corbin for Madison City Commission on April 13th.