EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a series of profiles on the six candidates for Yankton City Commission. The election will be held April 11, with early voting starting March 27.
NAME: Tony Maibaum
FAMILY: Wife — Angela; Sons — Dalton, Sawyer, Bennet, Brooks and Colin
EDUCATION/OCCUPATION: Wayne State (Political Science, Pre-Law, English) Owner, Pivotal Photo (commercial photography and film production company serving the Midwest, FAA-certified drone pilot) Owner, Pivotal Properties (rehab and renting single family homes in Yankton)
IF INCUMBENT, YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: Yankton City Commissioner, 2016-2019, 2020-Present
ANY OTHER GOVERNMENTAL/ORGANIZATIONAL EXPERIENCE: Yankton Housing Commission, Business Improvement District, Yankton Airport Board, Yankton Library Board, Yankton City/County Planning
• Why are you running?
In the time that I’ve gotten to serve, our community has come a long way — but we can’t afford to become complacent. I’m running for re-election because there’s still more work I intend to help get done: address the housing crisis that’s affecting so many families, secure a source(s) of ongoing funding for the maintenance of our 99-year-old Meridian Pedestrian Bridge, double the annual funding for the City’s downtown facade grant program, expand Yankton’s sports tourism opportunities and see our Waste Water Treatment Plant’s $44 million upgrades thru to completion, just to name a few. 2023 will no doubt put several critical votes in front of City Commissioners and I’m ready to again bring my experience and voice to rollcall.
• What does striking the right balance on quality-of-life features (Summit Activities Center, aquatics center, park upgrades) and civic needs (police, fire, road maintenance, etc.) look like in a time of rising costs?
Because costs may continue to rise for the foreseeable future, it’s important to note that this is the time of year when budget worksheets are being circulated to our City’s management in advance of our May meeting over the Five (5) Year Capital Improvement Plan. Especially given 2023’s uncertainty, striking the right balance must start with a high-level needs assessment process that involves gathering feedback from residents, community leaders and other stakeholders. I’ve been thru budget season six (6) times, and here’s how I would expect subsequent meetings to play out: prioritize essential services, carefully consider the needs of the community, objectively evaluate cost-benefits and proactively seek community input.
• How do you feel about developing the property immediately west of Yankton Cemetery and, if in favor, what do you view as developing it respectfully?
The empty property along Highway 81 is a lot like the cemetery’s perpetual care trust funds (over $150,000 that has sat stagnant for decades) — neither do anything productive to help ensure the long-term viability of our beautiful cemetery. The City lists a 2026 investment towards a $100,000 mausoleum/crematorium to compete with Yankton’s private funeral businesses. I’m not aware of any needs assessment that has shown Yankton’s cemetery options are inadequate, but I do know one of the City’s values is “fiscal stewardship.” The Commission must be VERY STRICT in the language used in any requests for proposal from interested developers of the unused land and dismiss all proposals that don’t also help enhance the peaceful resting place of folks’ loved ones.
• What is the next big project Yankton needs to tackle?
HOUSING. Even with all the forecasts folks are hearing about inflation and rising interest rates, the City of Yankton needs to fully embrace the opportunity here in 2023 to assist and partner with a wide range of developers to make a huge dent in our community’s housing shortage. Any momentum from many more doors doesn’t end with just helping solve our City’s housing crisis. By making housing the next big project for our City, both current and prospective citizens can benefit from new economic opportunities, quality of life improvements and expanded access to affordable housing. Given our talented staff and a new wealth of tools and resources, our City Commission needs to immediately embrace a “groundbreaking” commitment to housing.
• Additional thoughts?
I’m deeply grateful to my wife and boys who not only understand how important the job of City Commissioner is to me but how important the City Commission is to our community. The opportunity to represent the 15,453 citizens of Yankton is a duty I hold in high regard, even though it’s meant having to sacrifice some family time over the years. As your public servant, I’ve embraced living and breathing our community’s wants and needs, knowing the budgeting process inside and out and being the strong, political leader you’ve elected me to be. I’m proud of my voting record and my 100% record of attendance. I’ll continue to go above and beyond as we navigate our historic, river city to its full potential.
Mr. Maibaum keeps stating his 100% attendance record for meetings, but this is not true. He was absent on October 11, 2021. It doesn't bother me a bit that he missed a meeting. But why does he feel the need to lie about his attendance?
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