10/16/2020 1:09:00 PM CHISAGO COUNTY COMMISSIONER - DISTRICT 2
Nick Brehm QUESTION #1 When you considered if you would file this year what was the first thing that came to mind that you really want to see accomplished by the County Board and will push to get done? One of my biggest concerns when I decided to run for District 2 County Board was our Taxes. When elected I am going to really dig deep into why our county cannot find a good common ground as to our expenditures and our spending. I am fully aware of the fact that our state mandates have really put a hurt on a lot of counties but, still that should not be the answer to everything having to do with why they are so high. It is/has been known for a long time that the spending in our county is what some would say is out of control and there is no reason we cannot have a savings with the amount of taxes collected each and every year.
QUESTION #2 What issues at the county level interest you most and what unique voice (background) can you bring to the conversation? There are so many things going on in our country right now that effect everyone and everything its hard to narrow that down. A few main issues that I currently see in our county would be our Broad Band Services. With so many Children having to be home for their schooling, parents now being forced to work from home, parents now doing the home schooling as well, we need to allow them to have proper services to allow them to accomplish all of that. We do have the services, but the fact that they are so limited compared to the metro areas, we need to create the want for them to bring theirs services to our area to allow everyone to be successful and allow these children to get the best education and have the services available to them when it is needed. My next issue is the Second Amendment Resolution. Back earlier this year a vote was passed to make Chisago County a Dedicated County. But unfortunately, the way that is was passed and the language was changed and adopted does not constitute the County as a Dedicated County at the State Level. I am a Proud Second Amendment supporter and I will always support our Right To Keep and Bear Arms. When elected I am going to push to amend that resolution and fix the language NEEDED to adopt that into our county to protect our Second Amendment Rights from Red Flag laws trying to infringe upon our rights as Law Abiding Citizens. We take our oath of office to protect the Constitution, This is part of just that.
QUESTION #3 Taxes may be the main thing people look at to be kept in check but there are locally—a wheelage tax, local option sales tax, gravel tax, and lodging tax being collected now in addition to traditional revenues you’d expect. What’s your thoughts on this approach for finding money from outside the confines of property tax? Taxes are always on everyone’s minds. My question is why is all of this now being collected rather than implemented before? Many surrounding counties have had these taxes in place since 2007. Either way, since taking my seat on Shafer City Council, I have sworn that I will always do everything in my power to make sure that our taxes are going to stay in line with our budgets. And I have done just that. Now, there is always infrastructure that needs to be maintained including roads, bridges etc. But with the budget of our county being $75 million dollars, I feel that we have plenty of revenue to stay within the budgets and not go outside of that and have to Raise a Levy. One idea is always looking out for Grants that we can receive. The county has received a few grants for certain projects. The state offers many programs it’s just our job to find them and figure out what we need to do to collect them. That in itself is a tax savings. I will always do my best to make sure that we do not have to raise a Levy as I have done for the City of Shafer. Thank you for taking the time to read my responses, please concider voting for NICK BREHM for District 2 County Commisioner
Rick Greene QUESTION #1 When you considered if you would file this year what was the first thing that came to mind that you really want to see accomplished by the County Board and will push to get done? My Number One goal for next year will be to get our local businesses healthy again and get everyone back to work. I supported the decision to disperse $6.9 million for various needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic in our county. This phased grant program will address business, nonprofit, and other needs in our community resulting from the negative economic effects of the pandemic. My second and equally important priority is to bring more business and private-sector jobs to our county. I seek to create jobs by encouraging businesses to locate or stay here.
QUESTION #2 What issues at the county level interest you most and what unique voice (background) can you bring to the conversation? During my 14 years on the Chisago County Board, I have worked to make county government more efficient and every penny count, to give our citizens the best value possible for their tax dollars. For example, I voted to decrease Chisago County Commissioner salaries for 2010. I took the lead in passing tax levy cuts and zero percent tax increases several times during my time on the board. I fought hard to keep the tax levy at a zero percent increase in four years (2010, 2011, 2012, 2016) and reduced in two years (2013 and 2014).
QUESTION #3 Taxes may be the main thing people look at to be kept in check but there are locally—a wheelage tax, local option sales tax, gravel tax, and lodging tax being collected now in addition to traditional revenues you’d expect. What’s your thoughts on this approach for finding money from outside the confines of property tax? The wheelage tax and sales tax are user-based taxes, which I believe are a more fair revenue source than traditional taxation. In addition, the county board was told that a significant portion of sales taxes comes from tourism or other sources outside our county, thus reducing the tax burden on our citizens. A large portion of the gravel tax is not retained by the county but is distributed to the townships of origin. Furthermore, if Chisago County does not charge tax on the gravel it exports to other counties, then those counties would be able to tax it coming in. Lodging taxes are city taxes and the county has no control over them.