When Hugo residents head to the voting booth next week, they'll have a choice between two mayoral candidates with distinctly clashing views on how the city should operate.
Fran Miron, the current mayor, has lived in Hugo his entire life. Challenger Mike McAllister has lived there about 37 years.
"One of the things we've been working on and have been working on for some time is to maintain our core downtown," Miron said. "We've had an interest in creating a tax-increment district and encouraging redevelopment in that downtown area. The market has slowed, and that type of development is not something you force. You try to encourage it. That's a real focus of mine and of the current council and I'd like to see that through as the market comes back."
The 54-year-old dairy farmer said he's running, in part, because his family has a long tradition of public service, and also because he received a lot of encouragement from people to run again. A former City Council member, Miron served as mayor from 1994 to 1999.
He ran again in 2001 and has been Hugo's mayor since.
He became the face of Hugo last spring after a deadly tornado ripped through the town, killing a small boy and damaging scores of homes.
McAllister, 64, is a former Hugo mayor and City Council member. He's also a charter member of a citizens' group called "We the People" that has called for a state audit of the city's finances and has been outspoken in its criticism of the current City Council's policies.
"Hugo has been either the beneficiary or the victim of manufactured development," said McAllister, who added that he makes no claim that We the People endorses his campaign. "We've seen western Hugo develop in a period of five or six years to a development that was never planned and openly solicited by this previous council. I don't think Hugo's prepared for it."
He has joined forces with two others who are running for City Council seats -- Wally Stoltzman and Jess Roush. McAllister said the three have a shared platform, describing a five-points pledge calling for a two-year, general fund tax levy freeze; a non-essential hiring freeze; a return to modest density and responsible development; a state audit of the city's finances, and no use of "funny money" programs, such as tax-increment financing and tax abatement.
A retired 3M worker, he moved to Hugo in 1971, just before it became incorporated as a city.
The other candidates for City Council are Karen Cariveau-Wright, Philip Klein, Derek Larsen and Tom Weidt.
Allie Shah • 651-298-1550.