Newcomer Bill Bergeron is the final component to a full dais on the Mounds View City Council. The longtime Mounds View resident has been catching up on city-related reading, thinking of fresh ideas and is ready to listen to the voices of residents since he won the special election in early March.
For 22 years, Bergeron says he has enjoyed the tight knit and community-oriented feel of Mounds View. Moving from northeast Minneapolis, Bergeron and his wife Cheryl were searching for a city that met all their needs.
“When we decided to move here, we were looking first, for a great school district; second, for a community that seemed to support each other; and third, for a neighborhood that was a microcosm of that community,” Bergeron said. “And we feel like we hit a grand slam.”
The family joined the community while his children, Matthew and Eric, were young. The two children grew up through the Mounds View School District. Bergeron took many opportunities to be in the community, volunteering at the schools and participating as a coach for Little League and the Irondale Basketball Association.
With his children grown, one married and the other soon to be married, Bergeron has been searching for another opportunity to get involved. Always being involved politically, he said he had not thought about running for the open seat until a few people had approached him.
“I really hadn’t [thought about running,] but with the special election and the makeup of the council, I decided to do some investigating,” Bergeron said.
Throwing his name in the hat and running a short campaign ended with the responsibility of filling the remainder of the council term, which runs through the end of 2018.
Communication is key
Ready to take on this new challenge, Bergeron is excited to meet more residents of Mounds View. At the candidate forum, he pledged to walk through every neighborhood in Mounds View.
“And I fully intend to do that, not to campaign, but I want to hear from residents,” Bergeron said. “I want to know what’s on their minds.”
Bergeron admitted that when he first began going to council meetings, he had felt out of his element until he got more comfortable.
“I don’t want [residents] to feel that any part of being in their hometown is inaccessible to them,” he said. “I want to walk the neighborhoods and hear their concerns; I can certainly relay and be a conduit.”
Bergeron said when he was first elected, some neighbors had walked over to his house to congratulate him. What started as a casual gathering turned into a “mini town hall,” with the neighbors talking about what is going on in the city. Taking all in the input and information, Bergeron said he enjoyed the role that he was playing.
“I just thought ‘this is fantastic,’” Bergeron said. “If nothing else, my being there got them talking about this and I’m getting to listen. I get to be a catalyst to the dialogue.”
Bergeron noted that communication can sometimes be a challenge. With a growing diverse population, it is important to Bergeron to ensure that every voice in the city is heard.
“I think that it’s very important that people coming into our city of all races, nationalities and creeds, are aware of what is available in the city, or aware of how to maximize some of the things in the city,” he said. “Communication is so vitally important. We need to find ways to reach all of our residents.”
Progress in the city
A proud Mounds View resident, Bergeron looks forward to contributing to the progress of the city.
A few important aspects he pointed out include protecting and enhancing city infrastructure. The city street project is nearing completion, and with that comes maintenance. Maintaining the quality of the streets is important to Bergeron, as this will be important in the long run.
Another aspect that he is proud to note is the proactive effort the city is putting forth to keep the water quality safe.
“This is such an inherent right for the residents of Mounds View,” he said.
With other nearby communities having issues, he said he is pleased to see that the city is trying to be ahead of the curve.
“We are definitely aware of this and addressing this. Right now, we’re looking at plans to update some areas, as well as maintaining areas like the buildings
surrounding the wells, so they can continue to serve their function.”
Bergeron is also excited about community building programs. He said he is completely on board with the outreach efforts of Police Chief Nate Harder.
“I particularly like the outreach to the kids and the diverse population. I think we need to continue with those connections and continue to foster those relationships,” Bergeron said.
Looking forward to the year ahead, Bergeron is eager to strengthen his connection with the residents.
“A tremendous amount of gratitude and a tremendous amount of thanks,” Bergeron said to the voters. “I know that from the vote count, there were people that I didn’t have the opportunity to talk with, so please, if you see me, stop me, and say something, and we’ll chat. I want to hear from you.”
Contact Sarah Burghardt at [email protected]