EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the last in a series of profiles on the five candidates for the Yankton City Commission. The election, which was originally scheduled in April, will be held June 2.
NAME: Timothy (Sean) Wamble
FAMILY: Wife Kristal, two dogs (Shae and Hank), one cat (Leeloo)
EDUCATION/OCCUPATION: Electromechanical technician/electrician/tradesman
ANY OTHER GOVERNMENTAL/ORGANIZATIONAL EXPERIENCE: Member of Yankton Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors 2015-2018, Chairperson of Chamber Ambassadors 2016-2017
• Why are you running?
I want to give back to the community that has given me so much. Since moving here with my wife from Long Beach, California, our quality of life has improved dramatically, and Yankton has been a big part of that. We have been gainfully employed, we’ve managed to buy a home, we’ve gotten to enjoy all of Yankton’s wonderful features, and we have met so many amazing people.
I feel like our commission is missing representation from our blue-collar workers — the factory workers, tradesmen, retail workers — the bread and butter of our community that keeps us all going. I want to offer my perspective as a middle-class, blue-collar worker with the benefit of life experience from both within Yankton and outside of Yankton.
• Going forward in the coming year, the city will be recovering from dual disasters — the 2019 floods and 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. What do you feel needs to be done for recovery and how do you prioritize the needs of each recovery?
With regard to the flooding, I think our most important issue is prevention of additional flooding and updating our systems to better respond to the additional water we will get. The federal government recently awarded a $6 million grant to Yankton to expand our water and sewer systems so I feel like we are on the right track.
As for pandemic, I think propping up our small business community is of the utmost importance. When it is safe to do so, I’d like to encourage some new incentives to get people out to the shops, salons, restaurants, farmers’ markets, gyms, etc. For folks who have been out of work, I’d like to see an employment drive, be it online or in person, staying within health guidelines.
• What non-disaster related infrastructure projects do you feel should be pursued over the next few years? Why?
I’d like to see the expansion of Yankton Transit to include a few regular bus service lines. The current system requires folks to call a day in advance and request to be driven from one specific place to another. While I think that should continue, it would be so helpful to have even just a few regular lines, such as north-south on Broadway into the Peninah loop, Burleigh and Summit, and east-west on 4th, 8th, 15th and 21st. It would increase residents’ employment possibilities, access to more businesses for shopping and eating, and just general quality of life by providing more options.
I’d like to see the street improvement projects continue and maybe even expand once we have additional funding to devote to non-disaster-related projects.
• What do you think is the biggest issue at the city level and what are your plans to address it?
Growth! As a community, our population has been slow to grow and I want to work on that. If we want more companies to consider Yankton as a destination, we need to attract more workers to move here. We have so many jobs open at any given moment, and we struggle to fill them.
I believe this is, in part, because our wages do not match up with our housing choices as a whole. People working at our many factories make too much to qualify for income-based housing but not enough to afford the average three- or four-bedroom home in town.
We are uniquely positioned in a tristate area, we offer several incentives for businesses, so why haven’t we become a destination hub yet?
• What will some of the biggest budgetary concerns be for 2021?
Not raising residential property taxes to pay for the city’s funding needs is an issue I have heard a lot about. I’d like to look at different sources and explore new avenues for finding funding.
It’s hard to anticipate what our needs will be next year so early in 2020, but if elected, I would make it my personal mission to encourage responsible spending by researching bids we receive for city projects. I feel that my background as a tradesman, hardware store manager and facilities manager gives me some unique expertise that I can lend to the commission. It’s important to me to make sure that we are not being unknowingly price-gouged. We need to be fiscally responsible while we work on improving our town.
• Additional thoughts?
Beyond the topics already addressed, some issues I am passionate about are encouraging voter turnout and more participation in city meetings. I feel that communication and community feedback are essential to a well-rounded approach to managing the city.
I’m a hard worker, I’m resourceful and I have a proven track record of identifying creative solutions to complex problems in my professional background. My only agenda in running for City Commission is the betterment of our community. No matter who you vote for, I am grateful for your consideration.