Election Guide: David Hillier for District 3 County Commissioner

Published 11:51 am Friday, October 29, 2010

David Hillier is the incumbent candidate for District 3 county commissioner

Q. When facing budget deficits, county board members often have to choose between increasing taxes and reducing services to the public. How would you find a balance between the two?
A. The county is currently in the midst of budget preparation for 2011. The initial request to departments was to turn in a -5 percent budget. The larger departments can do this by delayed equipment purchases, reduced programs or place customers on waiting lists. Small departments (3-7 employees) can not do this as easily.   Citizen’s inputs are important in determining essential and non essential services. Unfunded state mandates places a burden on local taxpayers or reduces other services to the public.

Q. After the state of Minnesota reduced funding to the Sentenced to Serve Program, the county began funding it. Do you think the county should continue to do so?

A. The Sentence to Serve Program and their work accomplishments are very valuable to local governments and many nonprofit organizations. The benefits to participants are labor, exercise, community involvement, new personal contacts, and life skills are very important. I support this program; however in this budget crunch all non mandated expenditures are scrutinized and face possible cuts.

Q. The county board will soon have to determine the future location of the Health and Human Services office. The board could renew the lease at Oak Park Mall, renovate space at the Mower County Government center or build a new home for the offices on the “Robbins Block” Which options would you support and why?
A. Health and Human Services will remain at the Mall location until the fate of statewide regionalization of Human Services is determined. If the determination is to continue under the current model of service, I would support remodeling at the courthouse. It is my belief that over time owning a building is less expensive to the taxpayer than leasing.   There are over 65 employees to Health and Human Services and this would make a significant impact on downtown restaurants and businesses.

Email newsletter signup

Q. The county board is looking into the possibility of joining forces with Steele and Rice counties to regionally house Mower County’s dispatch services. Would you support this, and why?
A. I am open to reviewing the concept however today is too early to make a good decision. The information gathering about regional dispatch has just begun. When the information is gathered the decision will be based upon public safety, the cost to “buy in”, annual operational costs (savings or not), loss of 5 to9 jobs in Mower County, and what to do with recently purchased dispatch equipment. Another factor requiring additional study is if regional dispatch becomes a 5-10 county facility instead of the three county facility proposed now.

Q. What skills do you have that you think are unique and make you stand out as a candidate?
A. My agricultural and rural background is not duplicated by my opponent. Mower County is an agricultural county. While District 3 includes both rural and urban, I am better qualified to recognize the needs of rural infrastructure and balance the needs of rural and urban residents with the needs of agricultural business. My preparation, dedication and experience as a commissioner speak for itself. I am a former school teacher and I like to inform my constituents about county government.

Q. What other issue or issues are important to you as a candidate, and what policies do you favor in these areas?
A. Medical care and housing of our elderly and most vulnerable citizens is also a priority. Federal and State Funds along with county funds are important in providing these services. Public safety also includes highway maintenance. Mower County’s roads and bridges must by well maintained for winter travel safety, increasing numbers of rural residents and farm to market travel. Keeping the budget balanced with little impact on taxpayers.