Commissioner Q&A: Brownsdale council member Fischer questions how grandstand failed

Published 3:31 pm Thursday, August 9, 2012

Commissioner Q&A: Paul Fischer, Running for Commissioner District 1


Q. Why are you best qualified to represent Mower County as a county commissioner?

A. I feel that I am best qualified to represent Mower County as a commissioner because of my experience on the Brownsdale City Council the last four years, which has taught me the skills to listen to the people you represent, listen to their needs, concerns and views and put them into the equation when making decisions. An elected official is appointed to represent the citizens. They put their trust in you. They deserve to be listened to.

Q. What would be your main goals if elected?

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A. My main goal if elected is to gain the trust back from the people of the district which has fallen away the past few years. Things have happened in the area to cause some distrust and lack of respect for current commissioners and that needs to do a full circle and gain that back with new representation, someone willing to listen.

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. The County has recently learned it will receive $400,000 less dollars in aid in 2013, which is happening all over the state in all aspects of local and state government. Because of this we automatically assume cuts have to be made. In some areas there is already too few people. I do not think hastily making cuts or cutting programs is the answer, but budgeting the money available to us in a better, more manageable and cost effective way would make more sense.

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. The Human Services Redesign project is already effecting taxpayers. When the the County Commissioners voted to Build the new Justice Center it was a three phase plan. Build Justice center, move Human Services, and then Dispatch, the cost to continue these phases is adding additional taxes. Recently there was a county wide assessment of all commercial buildings, some fair others not so fair, but the additional taxes from these appraisals are affecting local taxpayers and at what point is it enough. The county possibly needs to look at stopping some of spending, therefore not having to worry about constant cuts, which in turn hurt the local economy.

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. My question regarding the poor condition of the Mower County Fair’s grandstand is “how did they get to that point?” If periodic inspections and maintenance would have been done then this wouldn’t of happened. Possibly appointing someone to do inspections periodically, and minor repairs as you go would have kept the grandstands from getting to the point of unsafe.

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