Get to know Dakota County Commissioner candidate Bill Klein
Financial issues are ongoing, and are likely to remain so in the foreseeable future. Is the county taking the right approach to setting its budget and levy each year?
The county is totally under everyone's radar as they spend millions upon millions of tax dollars using federal funds, state funds, county property tax dollars, and fees all of which are our tax dollars!
We can do better, that's why I'm running! Holding the levy at an artificial level and raising fees is not transparent or good financial practice. As market values decline the need to retain revenue is more challenging. Don't hide the problem. Use the available funds wisely by setting priorities. Focus on key mandates for counties and then fund discretionary items as funds allow. We cannot continue to add programs based on grants that sunset without regard to how to continue to fund these programs once the grant has expired. Providing a pilot program with grant funds is great but if the program is worth seeking grant funds then it is worth evaluating and determining if a funding stream is available long term. At this time of economic uncertainty, as a fiscal conservative, I evaluate budget forecasts on a absolute needs vs. wants basis.
The number of senior citizens living in Dakota County is among the fastest growing in the area. What should be Dakota County's role, if any, in meeting possible needs of that age group?
I have noticed in my campaigning in the city of Rosemount a need for county and private sector senior housing and services. Eagan and Inver Grove Heights have had the attention of private sector and county housing officials and I feel Rosemount has been passed over. There is a lack of affordable transitional senior housing which would free up homes for families with young children and provide housing for seniors who have changing needs due to growing physical limitations. I would help the city plan housing and transit that connect with county services and transportation. County "service centers" should begin to model city community centers that combine services. Use current resources for early intervention which are preventative and a tremendous cost saving initiative providing social interactions, immunizations, financial counseling, access to libraries and parks are just some examples of how keeping seniors both physically and mentally healthy will save money for taxpayers.
Transportation - how people get around the county and through it is a challenge. As the roads continue to get more congested, how should Dakota County address the need? Are we doing it right already?
No! First be sure that the tax dollars raised in Dakota County are spent in and for Dakota County. I know for a fact that part of the transportation tax funds collected in Dakota County have been sent to Ramsey and Hennepin County to help fund their light rail project. Collections and expenditures for the metro system have not been balanced between the suburban counties and the two core counties. The focus on trails is consuming tremendous resources while the plan for continued maintenance is pushed to future budgets. I'm not against trails but when you put a trail on one side of the street while there is a sidewalk on the other side of the street, I see this as a tremendous waste of the tax payers dollars.
Maintaining current assets of roads and bridges should be a top priority. Building light rail and high speed trains will do very little to alleviate congestion for the suburbs and they will not be cost effective. I do not support socialist thinking programs such as these and I have little time for bureaucrats who push these costly items unto the people in the suburbs and our rural areas, to pay for them!