A crowded field of seven is running for mayor this year in Coon Rapids, where incumbent Tim Howe is not seeking re-election after 12 years in office.
The primary Aug. 12 will narrow the pool of candidates to two for the Nov. 4 general election.
The seven people seeking to succeed Howe are two council members, Jerry Koch and Ron Manning, plus Ted Schmolke, Ronald R. Bradley, Phil Rosar, Jerry Pierce and Eric Sykes.
Howe, 57, first was elected mayor in 2002, beating out six other candidates. He also served as a City Council member from 1992 to 1999.
“I’ve done it for a long time. I felt it was time to let somebody else step up,” said Howe, who works in the building materials and house industry.
Asked about some of the accomplishments during his tenure, Howe said he helped the city ride out the financial crisis that included dramatic cuts in state aid to cities.
“We took one of the biggest hits in the state when our local government aid was cut close to $4 million. We kept moving forward as best we could,” he said.
He and the council also focused on neighborhood improvements, creating the “Homes For Generations” initiative, which provides grant money to private homeowners undergoing large-scale remodels.
Howe said he hopes to stay involved with city celebrations as a board member of the Coon Rapids Community Strength Foundation, a nonprofit formed several years ago to help organize and raise funds for annual events like Snowflake Days, July 4th fireworks and summer concerts.
Two council seats are also up for election this year. Like Howe, both incumbents — Paul Johnson in the Third Ward and Bruce Sanders in the Fifth Ward — are not seeking re-election.
Five candidates have filed for the Third Ward seat: Ethan Campbell, Ethan S. Yang, Wade Demmer, Alan Williams and Scott C. Nellis.
Three people are seeking the Fifth Ward seat: Brad Johnson, Valerie A. Weaver and Travis Johansen.
The August primary also will narrow those fields to two each.
The mayor earns $14,000 per year. Council members’ salaries are $10,500.