District 2District 2District 4District 4

Wadena Commissioner candidates list priorities

District 2

 

County commissioner candidates were asked three questions: 

1. Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications. (100 word limit)

2. If you believe budget cuts are necessary, which specific programs would you suggest to make cuts in? If you believe in raising the tax levy to keep up with cost increases, what specific reasons justify that decision?

3. What actions should the county board take to deal with the county’s aging population?

Wadena County Commissioner candidats for District 2: 

Jim Hofer

1. I have lived in Wadena County since 1968, first in Thomastown Township and then in the City of Staples, Wadena County. We have lived at 104 Mini Drive since 1976. I am married to Mary Jo and we have three adult children: Amanda in Lake Elmo; Rachael in Westerville, Ohio; and Melissa in Minot, North Dakota. We have two grandchildren, Carter in Minot, and Jenna, in Ohio.

I retired from education in 2008 after a 40 year career as a teacher and school administrator. Presently, I serve as County Commissioner for Wadena County District 2 which includes the townships of Aldrich, Bullard and Thomastown and the cities of Aldrich, Verndale, and Staples Wadena County portion.

2. The declining Federal and State resources will cause an effect on what services Wadena County will be able to provide. With our low tax base we cannot pass these costs on to the property owners. Therefore, we will need to look at what we are mandated to provide if we accept State and Federal resources and what’s required from a county perspective. I will encourage and support cooperation among cities, townships, counties and state agencies as a way of maximizing resources. Balancing a budget, providing needed services, and meeting State and Federal mandates is our greatest challenge. This is solved by careful analysis and problem solving and not by ignoring the issues. Cutting budgets is not the easy solution because you may be cutting essential or mandated services. Budget management means a very limited tax increase.

3. The county Social Services and Public Health Departments have important roles in serving the senior population. These programs make sure all agencies are working together to make sure the basic needs of our aged population are met. We are members of the South County Health Alliance providing insurance for many of our senior citizens. We have membership with the Central Minnesota Council on Aging, coordinating housing and nutrition needs in our county. We are members of Mahube-wa, a low income agency offering services such as weatherization, fuel assistance, etc. Our Veterans Services department offers assistance to every qualified veteran. We perhaps need to do more in collaborating with other agencies regarding mental health. We need to support more development of assisted living facilities, through the use of TIF, or other abatement processes.

Ralph Miller

1. My home address has always been District 2. I have been married to my wife, Rosalie, for 46 years and we have two grown daughters and two grandchildren. I have been farming for the past 37 years.

I was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force as an E-5 (Staff Sergeant) after serving from 1964 -1968.

Our founding fathers recognized the fact that we needed representation of the people by the people. There are no qualifications to serve in government but as a taxpayer in the county I have an interest and desire to serve the people of Wadena County.

2. Levy increases to add new departments and buy buildings is not always in the interest of the taxpayer. We need to be mindful of any new programs in the county even if they start out as grants. When the grant runs out the county is liable if they continue the program without a stream of funding. We need to sharpen our pencils and look at the needs of the county and not all the wants.

I would start with the commissioner’s budget. I don’t think of it to be considered a full time job, the increased salary and per diems has made it a very lucrative position. Consolidate meetings and make better use of the time spent.

3. We need to be mindful of levy increases, because every increase takes a bite out of fixed incomes.

We need to change the dynamics of the county. We need to enhance opportunity for economic development and preserve our agricultural heritage, to keep young people in the community. We need to promote Wadena County as a great place to work and raise a family.

 

District 4

County cndidates were asked three questions: 

1. Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications. (100 word limit)

2. If you believe budget cuts are necessary, which specific programs would you suggest to make cuts in? If you believe in raising the tax levy to keep up with cost increases, what specific reasons justify that decision?

3. What actions should the county board take to deal with the county’s aging population?

Wadena County Commissioner candidats for District 4:

Chuck Horsager

1. I was born and raised in Wadena County and love it here. I worked 16 years in a banking career and have been in ministry for about 20 years and currently serve a local congregation. 

I also co-own and manage Birch Lake Counseling with my wife, Carol. I’ve served on various committees and boards and believe in community involvement. I hope to bring a conservative and common sense voice as I represent District 4.

2. I’m a fiscal conservative and want to really work to “hold the line on taxes.” I realize that it is a challenge, especially with rising health care costs and some unfunded state and federal mandates. I believe that we need to look for ways to “tighten our belts” and evaluate each budget line item to look at cost/benefit ratios and discern whether things are real needs or just wants. With similar to the number of people in the county over the last 30 years, we need to be cautious about adding more staff and buildings and looking for ways to spend tax dollars. Also, looking at “Best Practices” used by other counties and doing further inter-county resource sharing should help hold the line on continuous tax increases.

3. This is one of many important issues. I am not aware of any specific concerns but realize that there is a large aging population. Being fair with property tax assessments with the aging and everyone else is important. The Friendly Rider service helps care for some of the transportation needs of the elderly. If elected, I would want to learn more about the needs and possible solutions on this and other issues.

Murlyn Kreklau

1. My name is Murlyn Kreklau and I’m running for Wadena County Commissioner. My wife Trudy and I are lifelong residents of North Germany Township.

We have four children and 12 grandchildren who attend local schools. I was a member of the Minnesota Army National Guard for 6 years. I spent my 43 year career as the Sales Manager for Mason Brothers Co. in Wadena. In this time I was part of a team that grew several hundred new private sector jobs. I have also been on the town board for 10 years. I would classify myself as a fiscal conservative, but I also think this job is and should be non-partisan in nature. I believe we all would agree of the need for more local opportunities, and a local government that is efficient and reflects our common values.

 2.It seems there’s a feeling of resignation that things can’t change. THAT government growth can’t be contained and spending will continue to grow. OR THAT nobody is going to listen to smaller everyday issues at the local level. OR THAT we are destined to always be the poorest county in the state. There’s no one that we can elect, that’s going to change this perception day one. But we do need someone that will approach each issue, every day, with a mindset that WE CAN. 

 3.Wadena, nor most other counties, don’t have much in the way of programs or sources of income specifically geared to senior citizens. But what we can do is to keep taxes low so seniors can stay in their homes.

 

 

Staples World

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 100 Staples, MN 56479 Telephone: (218) 894-1112 - Fax: (218) 894-3570 Toll Free: 1-888-894-1112 E Mail: office@staplesworld.com

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