SAUK RAPIDS - There's a four-way race for two open spots on the Sauk Rapids City Council. Both incumbents, Steve Heinen and Nick Sauer, are seeking re-election. And, two people running for public office for the first time, Merle Gales and Layne Schmitz, are hoping to get voted onto the council.

Sauk Rapids City Council candidate Steve Heinen

Steve Heinen
Heinen says, if he's re-elected, a new fieldhouse will be a top priority.

Trying to coordinate with the Sauk Rapids-Rice school district to join partnerships with the city building the fieldhouse for our residents and the community.

Meanwhile, Heinen says he's happy with the work he's done on the 3 Up The Hill road project.

The road project that's currently underway that will be done this spring.  And, also working with the police department to get new officers.

Heinen has spent four years on the city council, and prior to that eight years on the city planning commission.

Sauk Rapids City Council candidate Nick Sauer

Nick Sauer
Sauer says, during his first term in office, he's proud of the extra police officers they've hired.

You know if a community is not safe, its hard to get people to come here and and live here and raise a family.  So, i'd say the extra officers has been one of my biggest accomplishments.

He says he's also happy with the restructured way fees are done when a new road is put in.  Meanwhile, Sauer says he wants to promote Sauk Rapids as a great place to live.

A lot of people I hear from say I like Sartell, I want to move to Sartell. So I think we need to show that we are just as good as Sartell when it comes to everything.

Sauer says bringing new businesses to town is also a priority.

Sauk Rapids City Council candidate Merle Gales

Merles Gales
Gales says economic development is a key issue for him.

Once the Up The Hill project is done, we'll have more of an access to the east side of Highway 10, which has a lot of open area to maybe get some industry in to help our tax base grow better.

He says safety is also a top priority.  Meanwhile, Gales says he'd like to implement a Police Reserve program. And start a "Coffee With A Councilman" time.

During that time we would discuss issues of the city, not personal issues, but things of the city.

He says he wants to keep downtown Sauk Rapids viable as well.

Sauk Rapids City Council Candidate Layne Shmitz

Layne Schmitz
Schmitz says, if she's elected, she'll push for alternative energy in Sauk Rapids.

All of our neighboring communities are looking into solar panels and other alternative forms of energy.  I don't think Sauk Rapids should be a follower on this, I think we should be leading our communities and our neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, Schmitz says she's concerned about the shortage of police officers in Sauk Rapids.

And I agree with the plan that the city has, but I would like to focus on the future. What can Sauk Rapids do to prevent this crisis from happening again?  How can we make our city attractive to perspective employees?

Schmitz served on the Advisory Park Board for three years from 2010 to 2013.