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New Brainerd city administrator sees opportunity for growth

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

A passion for helping people on a local level first got Patrick Wussow into city leadership.

It’s that passion that has kept him in the field and landed him with the city of Brainerd as its new administrator.

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In his second week on the job, Wussow said he’s looking forward to helping the city achieve its strategic goals moving forward.

Wussow, who replaced retired City Administrator Theresa Goble, most recently worked as the Aitkin County administrator. Before that, he was city administrator of Big Lake and Tonka Bay, as well as city planner in North Mankato.

Wussow didn’t start out with a plan of going into city work. Back in college, he first had his eyes set on a career in radio.

That quickly turned to the political science and urban studies fields.

“I realized I had an interest in local government and politics,” he said. “You get to help the public.”

Wussow’s eye landed on Brainerd because of the opportunities and activity going on. More specifically, the recent strategic planning city leaders completed, where they named top goals and focuses.

“They’re taking action,” he said. “The plans aren’t just sitting there collecting dust. It’s a road map.”

The council as a whole is strong as well, he said. Each is educated in each topic and says what they’re thinking.

In his new position, Wussow’s top priorities include implementing the strategic plan, making sure the taxes are at a fair rate, and increasing reserves without raising taxes. Wussow also wants to find ways to make debt service a smaller part of the budget, which will come through attracting businesses, bringing in more jobs, partnering with neighboring communities and reducing expenses.

“There are 74 city employees, and I want each to feel comfortable and able to do their jobs,” he said.

“This is customer service,” he said. “We’re here for the citizens, the taxpayers and the property owners.”

The city as a whole has a lot of growth potential, Wussow said.

“There are good partnerships with neighboring communities.”

Brainerd has the ability to expand, he said. Both in size and through growing individual neighborhoods.

“I’ve met so many people that want to make Brainerd better,” he said. “There’s a lot of opportunity here.”

JESSICA LARSEN may be reached at jessica.larsen@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/brainerdnews.

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