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District 2 County Commissioner


Fri, Oct 18th, 2002
Posted in Features

Editors note: Randy Dahl and Donald Boyum are running for a newly aligned District Two County Commissioner seat. District Two encompasses the cities of Whalan, Peterson, Rushford and Rushford Village and the townships of Arendahl, Holt, Norway and Pilot Mound.

The Journal asked the two candidates to respond to an Election Questionnaire. Here are their responses in their own words.

Journal: Inform the readers as to your qualifications and motivation for running for County Commissioner.

Boyum: All of my life I have been involved in some form of county programs or government. This all came about after I joined 4-H back in high school. After graduating, I went to the School of Agriculture, University of Minnesota. At this school, I became involved in a program that sent a group of students out to different clubs and demonstrated parliamentary procedure and business organizations.

I came home to Peterson after graduation and started farming with my dad, John, and brother, Marlow. Then I started getting involved in local programs such as local coop boards, ASCS, 4-H Advisory, Farm Bureau and our church.

My first elected office was the Peterson School Board. Later, I was elected to the Fillmore County Commissioner District One. I enjoyed working for the people of the district and county and many accomplishments were achieved while on the board.

Not being involved in the decision making process leaves a void in my life.

In looking at my experiences in county commissioner work, at both local and state levels, I decided to try to represent the citizens of District Two on the board of commissioners, if it is their desire. If elected, I will make this a full time commitment.

Dahl:I feel my strength as a commissioner these past two years has been in my varied work and public office experiences that I bring to the job. It has enabled me to deal with issues in an informed basis. Examples; My farming keeps me in touch with ag issues. My six years on the soil and water board is also of great help in dealing with ag issues. Our many years as foster parents of 14 foster children has made me familiar with the Social Service System. My work as a housing developer and builder along with service as a city councilman in Rushford has made me very familiar with zoning and the planning commission functions. I have been effective in putting forth the needs and concerns of my district. As commissioners we have brought a new level of professionalism and respect for each other and the office. This has enabled us to put forth reforms and policies in place to move forward and treat all county citizens, townships and cities equally and fairly.

Journal: The Zoning Ordin-ance has recently been updated, yet some townships are implementing their own ordinances to address their own specific needs.

Are you satisfied that the "two homes per quarter, quarter section" satisfies the need for development while protecting agricultural interests? How would you like to see the issue of subdivisions addressed?

Dahl: The county zoning ordinance for the ag district was a compromise of many varied viewpoints. Ag is Fillmore Countys number one industry. Townships have the authority and right to make their zoning more restrictive if they so wish. Subdivisions belong next to cities. In the country I would be open to high density rural housing under the right circumstances.

Boyum: Two homes per quarter quarter section does satisfy the needs for development. I think that the planning commission and the board of commissioners should take another look at the requirement that a dwelling must be located on an existing building site or on land with a crop equivalency rating (CER) of 65 or lower. If the dwelling is proposed on land with a CER of 66 or higher no dwelling is allowed. I dont believe the variance committee should be required to be making so many decisions. Sub-division decisions should include township officials and county zoning authorities.

Journal: What are Fillmore Countys most valuable resources, and how would you like to see them protected, or in some cases developed? Should the Comprehensive Plan be updated?

Boyum: The county agriculture land is one of our most valuable resources. This land must be protected under zoning laws and conservation. Agricultural land cannot be recreated so we must protect it. Other valuable resources are forest, woodlands, waterways, rivers and creeks along with the beauty of the county. These all must be protected and saved for our future generations. We do live in Gods country.

Another very valuable resource is our many small cities. They are a big part of our county and we should help them survive and prosper.

The comprehensive plan was adopted in 1990 and amended in December 1994. Nearly all of it applies today. Some new zoning laws have been adopted and should be recognized in the comprehensive plan but the majority of the comprehensive plan does not have to be updated.

Dahl:Yes, the Comprehensive Plan should be updated. The process of updating it would help to identify our valuable resources which I feel are our people, our land, our water and rivers, our beautiful small cities and countryside.

Journal: What are the countys short and long term facility needs? What needs to be done, if anything, with the courthouse, highway shops and other facilities to ensure an efficient delivery of services?

Dahl: Courthouse: new heating and cooling; remodel the old parts; construction of new judge, attorney, jury and waiting facilities; highway shops and other facilities - combine the old Lenora and Harmony shops into one new facility; a hard look at our jail facilities and what is needed in the future to meet state requirements.

Boyum: Courthouse: This has needed repairs for many years. The heating system and the air quality equipment are old and need to be replaced. The court safety is a major problem. The structure is sound according to the engineer and architects when they did a study on the facility. Something needs to be done soon. A financial package should be put together before pursuing this major project. This project should not create a big burden on the Fillmore County taxpayers.

Highway Shops: The Peterson shop is a very useable facility and is one of the newest in the county located in the center of the area it serves.

The Lenora-Harmony shops are the oldest facilities in the county. They have been maintained but should someday be replaced. Joining together maybe an option but the location should be kept near where the emergency vehicles and the county are located. There are occasions that these departments need to work together to save someones life.

The Cherry Grove shop is the same age as the Peterson shop. It has been well kept and needs no repairs.

The Chatfield Shop has been repaired recently and is shared with MnDOT. This sharing arrangement has been functioning satisfactory to my knowledge.

The Spring Valley shop is also shared with MnDOT and is nearly new.

The Preston Shop has been remodeled and an addition was added to the facility. The mechanics for the county are located in this shop. Also, this shop is connected to the county engineer department and is the home of the county surveyors office. Fillmore County has a well maintained Highway Department.

Regarding other facilities, the jail, at the present time, is too small. In the past, we would take prisoners of other counties at a cost to that county. Recently, however, I was informed that it is going the other way and Fillmore County is paying. We should consider doing something about this. It should be done when finances are available. The existing jail is well maintained. The state will have a large influence on this decision.

Journal: Given an estimated $3 billion state shortfall, the potential loss of Local Government Aid could affect the countys budget. How do you see dealing with a cut in governmental aid?

Boyum: The state budget shortfall is very important to the Fillmore County budget. A large portion of the countys budget comes from the state, part also comes from federal sources. The goal of the county should be to not operate in the red. We will have to balance the county budget with the money we have been allotted from the state and use county funds for the rest. We need to use some of our reserves if there is any to use. The county board should now work with the Association of Minnesota Counties to lobby the state and federal government to get more money to operate. The last resort should be to ask the local taxpayers to be responsible to pay more taxes. We cannot operated in the red.

Dahl: The role of representative government is to provide the services that people want as a whole that they cannot provide themselves individually. It is my job as your commissioner to provide these services as fairly and as efficiently as possible and to serve the public at as high a level as possible. The county tax levy for 2003 will be less than .03% higher than last year. I feel this shows that we have done a good job in dealing with state cuts.

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