Commissioners ready to do more – with lessLike many Minnesota counties, Douglas County likely faces a tough road in 2009. In an effort to get a sense of what lies ahead this year, the Echo Press asked each county commissioner to highlight what he or she feels are the most pressing issues facing the county. Here’s what they had to say.
Like many Minnesota counties, Douglas County likely faces a tough road in 2009.
In an effort to get a sense of what lies ahead this year, the Echo Press asked each county commissioner to highlight what he or she feels are the most pressing issues facing the county. Here’s what they had to say.
The challenges before us are many. The happenings with the state definitely affect counties. Obviously many cuts will be made and passed on to us. Where do we cut?
Shall we cut services that folks are very accustomed to?
When many have lost their jobs and/or homes, how do they pay their taxes? Cutting costs to the absolute lowest we can will be my goal. We must look at each and every thing. Can we combine with other counties for some services?
With a vigilant board, lots of optimism for this to turn around, we’ll do the very best we can. As always, I welcome the public’s input.
I feel one of the most important issues we have looking at us is our property tax situation. True, Douglas County has the second lowest tax rate in my AMC District but that doesn’t answer our problem.
With the state of Minnesota taking away many monies from the budget we made last year for 2008 when we have already used this money as part of our 2008 budget, this difference must be made up from our reserves, which the state of Minnesota also tells us we must have four to six months of expenses in reserves, it sort leaves us between a rock and a hard place.
In 2009, I hope to be able to finish some projects that are already on our plate.
Also, we will be dealing with a budget that will be hard to figure out, not knowing what the state is going to do with its budget deficit.
I will hopefully be able to make the best decisions possible that will work for all of Douglas County.
Five months of budget discussions, labor negotiations, and building projects planning may already be outdated. Douglas County’s December unallotment of a quarter million dollars in state program aid may be just the start of adjustments our county will have to work through. This should be looked at as a time to streamline local government, while maintaining our service to the taxpayer.
Expensive purchases will have to be put off. Expanding non-mandated programs or starting new ones will be put on the back burner.
But, the courthouse will be open for business, the roads will be plowed, deputies will still patrol our roads. In a year or two Douglas County will have this recession behind them. We will be leaner and stronger and a lot wiser.
With these economic times upon us, we all have to do our part in controlling costs.
The number one thought on everyone’s mind now is taxes and the way our government spends money. When people are losing their jobs and have to cut back on spending, they want to see government do the same.
As a county commissioner, I am going to work hard to keep spending and taxes down. It’s a difficult decision, but one I feel is a priority for our county.
How to contact the commissioners:
District 1: Gerald Johnson
1466 Co. Rd. 1 SW
Evansville, MN 56326
District 2: Norm Salto
241 Townhall Rd. NW
Alexandria, MN 56308
District 3: Bev Bales
8170 E. Lk Carlos Dr. NE
Carlos, MN 56319
District 4: Paul Anderson
274 Co.?Rd. 44 NW
Alexandria, MN 56308
District 5: Dan Olson
820 Lake St.
Alexandria, MN 56308
Find your District:
•District 1 includes Lund, Evansville, Brandon, Moe, Millerville, Leaf Valley, Ida, Urness, Holmes City, and Solem townships and the cities of Evansville, Brandon, Millerville, Garfield and Kensington.
•District 2 includes LaGrand and Lake Mary townships and Alexandria’s Ward 5.
•District 3 includes Miltona, Spruce Hill, Osakis, Orange, Carlos and Belle River townships and the cities of Osakis, Miltona, Nelson and Carlos.
•District 4 includes Hudson Township, Alexandria’s Wards 1, 2 and 4 and the city of Forada.
•District 5 includes Alexandria Township and Alexandria’s Ward 3.