As the fastest growing county in the state, it's time for a fresh perspective to address the changing needs of our community. It's time to:
* Enhance mental health services, by collaborating with public and private mental health providers to find solutions that increase mental wellness, offer comprehensive services for those struggling with mental illness and provide support for their loved ones.
* Expand the tax base to reduce reliance on property taxes, as well as plan for economic development, workforce housing, and infrastructure needs
* Ensure Covid Relief Funds are invested as they were intended by implementing a comprehensive community process to identify opportunities to address community needs.
As a board member for the largest employer in the county, we need housing options for first time teachers, bus drivers and food service workers as well as affordable options for empty nesters and retirees to downsize, and everything in between. I would like to partner with our cities and townships to conduct a comprehensive housing study to better understand the supply and demand for housing, then work together along with the CDA to identify solutions to close these gaps.
A critical element of ensuring election integrity is to increase our pool of properly trained non-partisan election judges, and this pool is shrinking. I would propose a campaign to recruit and train non-partisan election judges to ensure that each voting location is properly staffed. I would also like to explore the possibility of retaining some judges following the election to provide support to resolve any issues that may arise.
We all need to lean in, to better understand how to improve overall mental health, provide opportunities for mental wellness and expand services for those suffering from mental illness. I would advocate to better understand the mental health needs of our community and seek ways to expand county services for children, youth, families and adults. I would also like to explore educational opportunities to identify potential mental illness and how to support families.
I want to ensure that our taxpayer dollars have a high return on investment. If budget cuts were needed, I would request a cost benefit analysis to ensure that county services that have the greatest impact are preserved. I would also advocate preserving services to audiences that are the unique responsibility of the county, those individuals not being served by other entities, and budget items that proactively seek to solve future issues, which will ultimately save taxpayer dollars.
Budget-I have championed the wise use of your tax dollar. State added unfunded mandates, coupled with inflation, and higher energy costs highlight the need for fiscal responsibility.
Transportation-As Bd Chair we opened 212 from EP to Carver, now 4 lanes to Cologne with secured funding to NYA. We built the 101 River Crossing and Bluff Section, widened Audubon, upgraded Pioneer, Engler and made improvements to State Highway 41 all within my District.
Quality of Life-Carver County is the Healthiest and Happiest in the state. Our libraries, parks and trails are second to none. The River Bluff and Arboretum Trails highlight years of planning. Waconia, Baylor and Minnewashta Parks showcase the County to the Metro area.
Being the fastest growing County in the state has put undo pressure on available housing units. We must continue the successful partnerships we have fostered especially with the CDA (Community Development Agency). The County has committed 6 million dollars to support 219 incremental housing units through the CDA. Working with our cities, we create an economic climate that supports jobs and encourages reinvestment in our community. Keeping taxes low helps make home ownership more attainable.
Continuing to have equal balanced election judges who are trained before the primary and general election make the election process safe and secure. Our elections have proven to be 100% accurate on every post election canvasing board including recounts. Our election officials take pride in not only being accurate, but also one of the first in the state complying results. To eliminate barriers we are adding a drop slot in the Courthouse for early absentee voters to reduce long voting lines.
The County recognized the need to help people who struggle with life’s challenges. The First Street Center provides mental health services, chemical health assessments, outpatient therapy and psychiatry case management. We repurposed the Steiner-Kelting Hospice to a Mental Wellness Facility that provides individuals a place to heal. The County has a Mental Health Crisis Team that addresses sadness, depression or anxiety. We connect those needing support to the resources that they need.
I do not foresee any cuts. In a growing County like ours, we cannot afford to cut our budget. We will control spending as we prioritize services. Public safety, social services, transportation, libraries and parks and trails are just a few of the areas that will expand as the community grows. With expanding population the need for more services follows. It is our job to provide these services in a cost efficient matter.