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home : 2022 election coverage : 2022 election coverage
August 19, 2022

8/2/2022 10:09:00 AM
Chisago County Commissioner District #5 Q&A

Dan Dahlberg
1. True or false. Chisago County would be most ideal, in your mind, if it retained its city spaces within the areas currently existing. Annexations of large tracts of township property should only be done in conjunction with comprehensive planning that involves the county?

True. What makes our county great is the small-town charm of each community – cities and townships deserve to stay intact to ensure we preserve each culture. We also need to make sure the property tax issues don’t get even worse. It is on us as the district County Commissioners to partner with each other and other local officials to be sure any changes in the township lines makes sense to do so and is fair.

2. What is the priority area where you feel the county is falling short on an important service? How do you propose to correct that?
Effectively managing our property taxes is the biggest issue we are facing and the County Board has been very diligent on this matter. In nearly every conversation I’ve had with people in District 5, I hear people say we have to manage the property taxes or people won’t be able to afford to live here. Another major issue in the northern part of our county that we need to focus on is internet service. We need to have reliable service for everyone.

3. Are you supportive of the broadband enhancement efforts being coordinated and promoted now by county government? Why? If you think Internet should be left to the profit-making marketplace, explain.
The county needs to assist companies in the rural areas where the infrastructure is more expensive and revenue is lower to make it desirable for companies to invest in those areas. Everyone needs access to quality internet services and the county should be part of supporting the upgrade for internet infrastructure. The past couple of years has proven that quality and stable internet is nearly as important as roads. We need reliable service for work-from-home employment and our education services. As people continue working from home, reliable service can offer opportunities for businesses to capitalize on residents that no longer travel outside the area every day.

4. Local option sales tax, wheelage tax, auto parts revenues, charges for auto repair services are all going into roads and bridges and funding never seems to be sufficient. Is there anything new (or a shift in budget), you’d propose to boost road funding?
Roads and bridges are essentials for our community to continue flourishing. We need to be diligent about how our money is being used – it’s not about taking more money, it’s about smart spending. We have to focus on what is needed to provide safe road conditions for our entire district.

Cindy Erickson
1. True or false. Chisago County would be most ideal, in your mind, if it retained its city spaces within the areas currently existing. Annexations of large tracts of township property should only be done in conjunction with comprehensive planning that involves the county?
True.

2. What is the priority area where you feel the county is falling short on an important service? How do you propose to correct that?
The mental health crisis in our country is reaching epidemic proportions. Our youth and the lower income population are hit hardest by the shortage of providers in our county.  Getting an appointment for a mental health assessment professional can take a two to six month wait. With a child in crisis, that is way too long.  The caseloads for social service workers are so high it creates a stress on the workers we do have.  Add the stigma that comes with mental health issues that can prevent people from seeking help early and you have a recipe for disaster.  While some of these issues need to be addressed at the State level, we at the county level need to address this issue head on.  We need to work to get more providers that will serve people with MinnesotaCare.  We could create a partnership with local healthcare providers to wage a public campaign to add more mental health providers. We just need to do better.

3. Are you supportive of the broadband enhancement efforts being coordinated and promoted now by county government? Why? If you think Internet should be left to the profit-making marketplace, explain.
The County is best positioned to coordinate the broadband enhancements for Chisago County at this point.  Because the pre-engineering work will be funded using the Federal American Recovery Act Programs funds it makes sense to work as one rather than each city and township doing the due diligence individually. With the grant money available the county can most efficiently work out the logistics of how to equitable distribute these funds.  Some areas, such as Fish Lake Township have already paid to install broadband in the township. This raises the question of possible cost reimbursement to communities that were proactive about broadband installation.

4. Local option sales tax, wheelage tax, auto parts revenues, charges for auto repair services are all going into roads and bridges and funding never seems to be sufficient. Is there anything new (or a shift in budget), you’d propose to boost road funding?
I know it is much more cost effective to preventatively maintain our county road infrastructure rather the waiting too long and having to rebuild roads. I am excited to be able to delve into the County budget with fresh eyes and look for possibilities of new ways we can structure funding and improve efficiencies to work for us in way that would best benefit the strong need for the roadways of our county. One way might be to pressure our local state representatives to advocate for more local funding coming from the state tax dollars.






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