Commissioner Q&A: Small business owner Young to focus on fair taxesPublished 2:50pm Thursday, August 9, 2012
Commissioner Q&A: Bryan Young, running for Commissioner District 2
Q. Why are you best qualified to represent Mower County as a county commissioner?
A. I have the enthusiasm and the dedication needed to be a great county commissioner. If elected, I will be able to dedicate a significant amount of time to this job. District 2 is without question the largest, per mile, district in the county. This means that for the commissioner to be accessible, he will need to have the time to visit and interact with the people in all of this district’s cities and townships on a regular basis. The concerns of District 2 matter, and should be taken seriously by the county board. Whether the issue is fair taxation, the purchasing and building of the Justice Center, fixing or repairing bleachers at the fairgrounds, we need to be considering the opinions of everyone in Mower County including those living in the townships of Sargeant, Pleasant Valley, Racine, Dexter, Grand Meadow, Frankford, Marshall, Clayton, Bennington, Adams, Lodi and LeRoy.
I operate a small used book selling business from my home. I am also the director and founder of Fishing and Following Ministries (www.fishingandfollowing.com), which is a non-profit evangelical organization. As a result, I spend a lot of time at home with the kids managing the household (two are homeschooled). Experience from these three areas has demonstrated that I am a naturally gifted leader. I have the organizational and interpersonal skills to run an organization. My vision and leadership abilities would fit well in the role of County Commissioner.
Q. What would be your main goals if elected?
A. Taxation is an infringement on our liberty. We should be free to spend our hard-earned money as we see fit. So, when the county takes a portion of our income, it should be determined to spend it with the utmost care and diligence. As county commissioner, I will work around the clock to ensure that every tax dollar that is spent, is spent in the most efficient and appropriate way. I will also be extremely motivated to find many ways to cut the county budget, so that we can then cut taxes.
It will also be my earnest desire to be the most accessible county commissioner District 2 has ever seen. The opinions of this district often get ignored because of our distance from Austin, but I will make sure that the people in this rural District 2 have a voice. No longer will we be considered the “red-headed step child” of Mower County; instead, our legitimate concerns will be heard and acknowledged.
Q. The county recently learned it will receive about $400,000 less in County Program Aid from the state in 2013. What kind of specific cuts or changes would you support to address this and other state aid shifts? What do you consider too important to cut?
A. There are creative ways to save the county money, and it is my belief that it is going to take a pair of fresh eyes to find new ways to trim our spending. Much of the county’s budget is decided before it is even collected (through government mandates). Although there are occasions where large cuts in spending can be made, most of our conservatism will take place in smaller chunks. I have the time and the energy to find all the little and big ways that we can make this county operate on a smaller budget. I can’t think of any specific programs that I would like to see end, but I am confident that there are ways in which the programs that we have in Mower County can run more efficiently and then ultimately save the taxpayer money.
Q. The county is one of the six remaining in the once 12-county Southeast Minnesota Human Services Redesign project. The project would lead to merging human services in the remaining counties, which previous studies said could result in staffing reductions. Would you support the merger, and how would you handle the potential effects to staff? And how would you expect the merger to affect taxpayers?
A. On June 29 the county board voted to move ahead with the Human Services Redesign initiative. In theory, I believe that this project sounds like a good one. But before I would support a plan such as this, I would want to make sure, first and foremost, that it will benefit the people in Mower County. If this redesign initiative saves the county money through a partnership with other counties, it should be worthy our consideration. Staff reductions are not something that I would approach lightly, but at the same time our loyal taxpayers deserve our best efforts to keep their earnings in their pockets.
Q. A structural engineer recently deemed the grandstand at the Mower County Fair unsafe for use. Would you support fixing the grandstand, rebuilding the grandstand or continuing to rent temporary bleachers? Rebuilding or repairing the grandstand could cost more than $500,000. Renting bleachers each year would cost $7,000 to $10,000 a year.
A. I would support fixing the grandstand, but I would not want to see tax dollars used in the renovation costs. In the economy that we find ourselves in today, cuts to county spending need to be made. There has to be creative ways to get a grandstand built, without forcing tax-payers to foot the bill. Other counties have reached out to local construction companies, for sponsors. This way the grandstands would be fixed, local businesses would have excellent advertisement opportunities and Mower County would not be further burdened by increased taxes. Another possible solution would be to charge an admission to those who use the facility. The user fee for these events could help in raising the funds necessary to build a new grandstand, and in the mean time renting bleachers would seem like the best option. My point is, we should exhaust every option, before using tax dollars on a project like this. The hard-working people of this county deserve our dedication and thoroughness on this issue.
For more information about Bryan and his campaign visit his website at: www.bryanyoungcountycommissioner.weebly.com.