Wednesday, September 12 is the start of in-person, absentee voting for Petersburg’s municipal election and election day is less than three weeks away. Voters have a choice for borough assembly, with six local residents appearing on the ballot for two seats. One candidate, Don Spigelmyre, has said he’s no longer interested in running. One assembly incumbent is running to keep her seat. Nancy Strand is hoping for another three-year term.
73-year-old Nancy Strand has served two terms on the borough assembly. For the old city of Petersburg she served multiple terms on the city council, first elected there in 1968, and then appointed back to the council more than 40 years later.
“I think we’re doing as well as we can with low funds,” Strand said of the current assembly. “It’s easy to legislate when there’s a lot of money but when there is none it’s more difficult.”
Despite a number of contentious issues in recent years, Strand describes the borough as operating “smoothly” and wants to continue to be a part of it.
“Smoothly like, we have a good attorney. Even though Jim (Brennan) has retired we have Sara’s (Heideman) a good attorney. Steve’s (Giesbrecht) an excellent city manager. I’d like to see him continue.”
Last fall the assembly voted unanimously to the manager’s contract for five years. Strand also thinks the borough did well with new labor contracts negotiated with borough employees this year.
“Took a while but I think we did very well,” she said of those contracts. “The reorganization at the power plant, I think that’s working but there was a lot of dissention about that.”
That reorganization meant a change in who is responsible for different borough departments, eliminating a power and light superintendent’s job and replacing that with a utility director. A closed-door meeting about that topic in 2017 prompted an effort to recall four of the six assembly members, including Strand. Ultimately the borough denied that recall vote.
Strand is retired from a career working as a construction laborer and on highway projects. She still works from time to time to pay for repairs on her home. Her other experience in local office includes time on the charter committee for the borough and the museum’s board of directors.
Strand thinks some kind of construction or renovation at the Petersburg Medical Center is the next big project locally.
“I’m not sure where we can afford a 40 million dollar investment for a new one but we do need at least improvements,” she said. “So that would probably be the biggest thing to keep an eye on.”
Strand has not missed many meetings in her time on the assembly but prefers them during the day, the earlier the better.