Incumbent Seifert running for County BoardSept. 26, 2012.
Name: Ted Seifert
Address: 533 Ninth St., Red Wing
Family: Four adult children
Occupation: Employed at Hiawatha HomeCare
Education: Bachelor of Science in history with economics minor from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 1969
Civic involvement: American Legion, Chamber of Commerce, Elks, Noontime Kiwanis, Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance, VFW Ceremonial Rifle Team
If re-elected, what will be your top priorities for 2013?
I will continue my efforts to foster a social and economic climate that offers maximum opportunity to all county residents as well as a county government that provides community safety and emergency preparedness.
I support appropriate regulation and limiting taxation to encourage job creation and an expanded tax base. My goal is to make Red Wing a destination city for business and tourism.
I bring to the board a wide variety of work and life experience coupled with a vision of what our community can achieve. If re-elected, I will vote to keep local property taxes low in order to maintain a high quality of life for current residents and to encourage economic development.
I have established a record on most major issues. If re-elected, the voters can expect that I will continue to lead consistent with my past record.
Highway safety has been a big concern for citizens. How do you think Goodhue County should go about addressing problem intersections and bridges?
Some of the most dangerous intersections in the state are where U.S. Highway 52 runs through Goodhue County. Construction of the overpass on the south side of Cannon Falls should begin next year.
The design also includes a County Highway 25 crossing north of the new interchange. An overpass at County Highway 68 on the north side of Zumbrota will follow.
The county has done official mapping in preparation for safety improvements along U.S. 52 and is ready for site selection. Final design of combined County 1 and 9 overpasses of U.S. 52 will follow.
The big question is: “Will MnDOT and Federal Transportation contribute their share of the money?”
The county is moving ahead with highway design safety improvements. I support and encourage our local law enforcement to vigorously enforce use of seat belts and use of child safety seats as well as discouraging distracted driving.
How will you handle the issue of silica sand mines in Goodhue County?
I have supported the mining moratorium twice. It allows time to learn about mining’s effect on communities, both positive and negative.
I motioned to add an environmentalist to the mining subcommittee.
I support adopting stronger language in the mining ordinance, review of A-3 urban buffer zones, adequate setbacks, rational permitting, or prohibiting where mining does not fit.
A countywide ban lacks justification and balance. A total ban is too extreme to be upheld in court. Our county attorney is concerned with the legal sustainability of a ban.
If an ordinance incorporating a ban were struck down by the court, then the court could order county permits to be issued. Current county ordinances are inadequate to control silica mining operations. A countywide ban is more likely to lead to Goodhue County looking like the moonscape that now covers parts of Wisconsin.
Be careful what you wish for. The unintended consequences could be devastating.
What area(s) of the county’s budget do you feel can withstand cuts, and what areas need more money?
There are savings to be realized by combining similar operations between/among local governments.
Turf issues have stalled these efforts for years, but the budget squeeze due to reduction in grants, state aid and federal aid is likely to breathe new life into local cooperative efforts.
The administrative and operational communications advances currently available open the door to a world of possibilities. The economies of scale will reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Since every county government and many cities deal with delivering the same services using the same back office support, every department is a candidate to be merged with its counterpart in another jurisdiction.
Departments where the county will likely need to deliver more services in the future are Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, law enforcement, Court Services and a bigger cost share of local road and bridge maintenance.
Do you feel that wind turbines have a place in Goodhue County? Why or why not?
Individual turbines dedicated to powering a selection operation is more likely than the large wind farm supplying the electric grid. If the current wind farm subsidies dry up, then the industry will need some significant introspection with cost benefit analysis.
If a large scale storage system were perfected so electricity could be stored and delivered at times of peak demand there could be new life in wind generation. But there would still be resistance in populated areas like Goodhue.