Anderson: City should eye new projects

Published 11:50 am Friday, June 1, 2012

Candidate profile: Janet Anderson, for City Council


Janet Anderson believes the Austin City Council can be a key player in the city’s upcoming development projects.

“We’re kind of in the middle of a real exciting time in Austin,” she said.

Anderson, who filed for her third two-year term on the Austin City Council May 22, currently runs unopposed for the position of council member at-large. She points to The Hormel Institute expansion, the Woodson Kindergarten Center expansion and other large projects that signify Austin is in an economically vibrant stage. With new developments and the community betterment project Vision 2020, Anderson said, there were good opportunities for the city to keep that trend going.

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“I see the potential of the city being involved,” she said. “It feels like a great time to be continuing that progress as a member of City Council.”

Among Anderson’s other focuses for the city will be to keep the budget in check and work to keep Local Government Aid coming.

One area she has been especially interested in is environmental concerns. Anderson is the chair of the Sustainability Task Force, which takes best practices provided by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and voluntarily tries to implement them. Successful cities are recognized for their efforts at the League of Minnesota Cities annual conference in June.

“You have to be ready to be responsive to changes,” Anderson said.

Anderson spent more than 12 years on the Planning Commission, which makes recommendations to the City Council about how to proceed with development projects and when to approve variances. The commission considers anything from the plans of a new Wal-Mart coming to town to whether to permit a home-based business to operate in a residential area.

“It gave me a really good understanding for how city government works,” she said.

Anderson came to Austin in 1974. Though she was not born in the city, her mother was an Austin native and so is her husband.

“I have roots,” she said. “It kind of feels like I’ve been here forever.”

Anderson works at the TV station for KAAL, an ABC affiliate, doing promotion and marketing work. She started at the station in 1977, left from 1991 to 1994 to do freelance work, then returned afterward.

In the coming months, Anderson said she plans to go door to door as much as she can. She plans to look for opportunities to interact with people and answer any questions they may have. She said she also intends to attend Coffee with the Council on a regular basis to connect with residents that way.

The council member at large position will become a four-year term starting in 2014, Anderson said. The city is delaying changing the term length to stagger the term election years with that of the mayor.