Moore, Pechota are council candidates

Jason Ferguson
By Jason Ferguson
Incumbent Carrie Moore will square off with challenger Todd Pechota in the lone Custer City Council race in the June 2 primary election. The winner of the election will serve a two-year term on the council in Ward III.
Moore, 30, is the manager at Jenny’s Floral, and is finishing her first term on the council. Prior to being on the council, she was a member of the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Committee for the city.
“I’ve really enjoyed my first term as alderwoman. I’ve learned so much about the city, and truly, I’ve enjoyed every aspect of the job. Whether it’s been casting my vote on a bevy of topics, hearing updates from city staff or interacting with my constituents. It’s been a very rewarding experience that I’m thankful to have been elected to.”
Moore said when she first joined the council,  she  wanted to bring forth new ideas and a different way of thinking, while also bringing open and quick communication to her constituents, and all city residents.
“I feel that I have successfully done all of those things. And of course, I plan to continue to be an open and engaged listener and a source for good and timely communication,” she said. “Another thing I bring to the table is consistency, which I feel is highly valued given our current circumstances. COVID-19 has undoubtedly been a game changer for many. I think having consistent leadership is a strength during this uncertain time.”
COVID-19 is among the issues Moore said will be front and center for Custer in the coming years, particularly with how it affects the business community, which in turns hurts sales tax revenue and ultimately the city’s budget.
With an impacted budget, we may not be able to do as many  upgrades or projects for the years to come,” she said. “It’s a trickle effect that we may not realize up front, but will definitely notice over time. But this is something that the city staff and council are planning to closely monitor and make a plan for the next budget.”
The community center is another such topic, she said, adding while the council unanimously voted against moving ahead with the previous plan for the center (doing to the guaranteed maximum price being well over what the city had budgeted) the council still wants to see the project come to fruition.
“We will be having conversations about a Plan B, whether we make the center smaller, or build new, etc.,” she said. “While I inherited this project from previous councils, I am just as committed to it as everyone else and really want to be included in the conversations moving forward.”
Moore said before the COVID-19 pandemic, the council was beginning to discuss recycling, as many residents want that service Moore said the council is still discussing what a recycling program could look like and what it may cost. It’s something that she expects to come before the council in my next term, should she be elected.
Moore said she has learned a great deal in her time on the council, and has enjoyed the process. She said she is passionate about her work as an alderwoman and truly loves Custer.
“I plan to always keep the City of Custer in my heart and mind when I cast a vote,” she said. “I hope voters can tell I am passionate in my work. I’m a great communicator and work well with others, which are two much needed skills for a city council member. It has been a great honor to serve the people of Custer and I hope they will re-elect me to the job.”
Pechota, 54, has spent the last 33 years working in fire management for the Forest Service, where he has served in numerous leadership positions.
The Pechota family has lived in Custer since 1999 and considers it home, he said, and he said he was encouraged to run for the city council by numerous individuals in town and in Ward III. He said he weighed his decision whether or not to run based on that encouragement.
“I believe that it is time for change and for a fresh perspective on how to position our wonderful community for the future and to become a forward thinking council,” he said. “Not only the short term future but the long term future as well. Specifically, how do we become more effective in building partnerships and strong working relationships with the business community, other levels of government and work more effectively for the citizens of Custer?”
Pechota said he brings a proven track record dealing with and effectively managing uncertainty and highly complex emergency situations.
“I have the ability to work effectively with federal, state and local governments, business owners, non-profit organizations and stakeholders,” he said. “I value fiscal responsibility and effective government that works for the people who elect us. I will bring a strong work ethic and proven ability to think strategically. I won’t make promises I can’t keep and I will bring a common sense approach to working on issues important to our community and the folks in Ward III.”
Pechota said as citizens continue to work with the many challenges associated with COVID-19 the city council must work to clearly understand the potential financial impacts on city operations, the business community and jobs.
“The council must not get caught flat footed by not discussing and planning for the potential impacts,” He said.
Pechota said he also believes streets, roads and other city infrastructure continue to be important to the people of Ward III. Ensuring there an effective strategy and the financial resources available to maintain and improve them into the future is key he said.
He added he believes the city council must begin to work with stakeholders and partners to begin a conversation on an effective long term strategy for the old elementary property and West Dam.
“Clearly we have no effective strategy at this time and that needs to change,” he said.
Another issue that needs addressed, Pechota said, is at the Sander Sanitation transfer station, as he said there continues to be dissatisfaction with the current hours of operation, the lack of recycling and how “user unfriendly” the current situation is.
“This issue has gone on for too long and it needs immediate attention and solutions,” he said.
Pechota said he cares deeply for our community and wants to see Custer grow and prosper.
“I want to be part of a city council that creates a climate where our ordinances and policies promote economic growth and a vibrant business climate that creates jobs and opportunities,” he said. “I want to work with stakeholders and citizens to ensure we have quality recreation opportunities into the future and to find partnerships and grant opportunities that may fund additional improvements in our existing programs.”
Pechota said he has never walked away from a challenge, and that dealing with competing values and finding a common sense approach to issues and challenges is something he has  done successfully over the last 20 years.
“I will do what I believe is best for the citizens of Ward III and the entire community and not shy away from debate, issues or challenges,” he said. “I will bring my strong work ethic to the city council each and every day if given the opportunity to represent the folks in Ward III.”

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