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Meeker County Commissioner Dist. 1

Beth Oberg, Litchfield

Why are you running for Meeker County Commissioner District 1?

I have always been interested in local government. I feel that my vast experience operating the American Legion in Litchfield for the past 25 years will bring a new perspective to the current board. I also believe in term limits for all elected officials, and I feel that it is time for some fresh ideas and new common sense solutions.

What do you believe are the top two issues facing District 1, and what are your proposed solutions?

Economic development is always an important issue. We need to be business-friendly and encourage growth. As businesses grow in the county, the tax base will grow. We need to continue to work with the economic development authority to encourage businesses to locate in our cities.

This can be done by continuing to give tax abatements and helping people to find the funding that they require for starting and maintaining a business.

Another important issue is our infrastructure. In the face of less state funding, we must be willing to make this a priority when planning our budget.

What specifically can this unit of government do to cut costs and operate efficiently, while still maintaining service to taxpayers?

We need to make sure that our budget is as trim as possible. We need to consider combining departments within our county, as well as working with other counties to combine services where it is possible. If we can save money by outscourcing some things, then we must be willing to consider that also. I believe that raising property taxes should be the last consideration – not the first.

James Swenson, Litchfield

Why are you running for Meeker County Commissioner District 1?

I have been a commissioner for 10 years and have enjoyed working with, and for, the people of Meeker County. I am presently working with two departments within the county to see if we can work with other counties more efficiently and cut costs. I would like to see these efforts through.

What do you believe are the top two issues facing District 1, and what are your proposed solutions?

Meeker County has always been careful with its expenditures. However, even with increasing costs for supplies, equipment, and decreasing state aid, our tax levy has remained low. Each of the departments have been very cost-conscious by delaying purchases, etc. where possible, and holding the line on personnel, while maintaining good service to the taxpayers.

What specifically can this unit of government do to cut costs and operate efficiently, while still maintaining service to taxpayers?

Two of the top issues are roads and county ditches. Our roads are in great need of overhaul, and the biggest hurdle is how the cost has increased. Therefore, we have to keep trying to get grants from both the state and federal governments. A good share of our county ditches are in need of cleaning and rebuilding. We need to work with landowners to improve them and do redetermination of cost of the benefits.

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