Work to address the transportation issues of the county to improve your daily commute while helping businesses attract and retain employees. The next few years will be focusing on Highway 65 through Blaine, new accesses to Highway 610 from East River Road in Coon Rapids and the completion of the Highway 10 project through the cities of Anoka and Ramsey. I am determined to continue building strong relationships between the County Board and our local Mayors and Council Members across Anoka County. Protecting your personal data, the County collects, by advancing new updated information technology. Continue working to make our county park system the best in the state.
In Anoka County, each city has control over the planning and zoning of residential neighborhoods within their cities so from the County’s standpoint the best thing we can do is control our costs that may increase the levy and the property taxes we all pay. Over the last two years we have had no increase in our overall levy and the 2023 preliminary levy will be set in September and the final levy is approved in December. My goal is to be at no levy increase.
I have taken an oath to uphold the constitution of the United States ten times as a public servant. It is an oath that I do not take lightly and have proudly upheld. Election integrity is woven into the fabric of the constitution and has always been a priority. Our committed, highly experienced staff ensures that the voting process in Anoka County is honest and secure. As Commissioner I have participated in and approved the certification of elections and I can honestly say I trust the process.
The most recent Minnesota Legislative Session produced legislation that will begin to address mental health issues including more beds for persons in need. Recently, the County partnered with Stepping Stone Emergency Housing for expansion of their facility to allow for better social distancing. Partnering with the these organizations in the county doing the important work of meeting the needs of our most vulnerable neighbors is integral for safe and harmonious communities.
As Mayor during the housing crash, I have been through the process of making tough budget decisions. County budgets differ from cities because many county programs are mandated by the State and Federal Government. Public safety is a top priority. Finding cuts to budgets cannot be taken lightly as they will affect people’s lives. The County Board is ready to set our levy for 2023 and there have been no discussions regarding budget cuts that would cause essential services to be impacted.
As a County Commissioner, my priorities include public safety, mental health services, and county parks. Every resident relies on our public safety network to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies, carry out the justice of the court system, and provide 24-hour operation of the emergency communication system. Mental health services need to match the community's needs as part of a more robust public safety program. Parks and trails build strong families and communities, attract economic development and growth, and preserve and protect our natural resources in their environments.
The county government does not directly impact affordable housing through development, zoning, and codes like cities. The county makes Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding available to local non-profits to provide housing and assist local housing rehabilitation. I support this effort at the county level to revitalize available housing stock. Anoka County offers a variety of housing options, including apartments, condominiums, and single-family homes throughout its cities.
As an experienced head election judge at the city and county level, I am familiar with the election process and have actively worked to ensure safe and secure elections at the polls. State law governs the election process, and counties follow those laws. I believe in election integrity to defeat voter fraud. If the state should pass photo ID requirements, I support fee waivers to remove affordability obstacles to obtaining the ID without cost.
I support using Anoka County's Mobile Crisis Response Teams through Canvas Health. However, we need to do more to evaluate if the incoming patient count matches available resources for the appropriate level of care. As cases rise in the community, so should the resources available. My priorities include providing suitable safe housing and facilitating access to mental health services during pre-trial incarceration to manage inmate health better.
Budget cuts vary based on the causation. Funding may shift from different departments during situations like the pandemic to provide adequate resources in an emerging crisis. My priorities include preserving funding for life safety, emergency services, communications, transportation, and behavioral health. Reducing costs may include cutting back on non-essential maintenance or delaying non-essential capital equipment and projects until the financial climate improves.