Drotos vying for County Board District 5 seatSept. 26, 2012.
Name: Paul Drotos
Address: 1825 Twin Bluff Road, Red Wing
Family: Wife, Debra, and son, Joe
Occupation: Environmental officer for the city of Red Wing
Education: Bachelor of Science degree in business management
Civic involvement: United Way, Red Wing Sesquicentennial Committee, Red Wing Lions Club, Red Wing Elks Club, Red Wing Arts Association, Boy Scouts, math tutor for Twin Bluff Middle School, Habitat for Humanity, Izaac Walton League, Philip S. Duff Jr. Endowment Board
If elected, what will be your top priorities for 2013?
1) To make sure the frac sand mining moratorium is not rescinded before the allotted one-year period and to use that time to create a strategy for a ban of frac sand mining in Goodhue County.
2) Revitalize the Goodhue County Economic Development Authority to help create jobs.
3) Long-term budget planning to ensure the best possible use of tax revenues.
4) Create new non-tax revenue streams. For example, Goodhue County owns a capped landfill. In other areas, these are being covered with solar panels, thereby producing new revenues for local governments from land once considered useless.
5) To establish a better relationship between the city of Red Wing and Goodhue County in order to approach our common concerns and save money on solid waste, public safety and sustainability.
Highway safety has been a big concern for citizens. How do you think Goodhue County should go about addressing problem intersections and bridges?
Some situations, such as the Highway 52 and County Road 9 intersection, can really only be made safe with an overpass, which requires federal money. Olmsted and Dakota counties received money from Congress for the U.S. Highway 52 corridor. Goodhue County needs to push harder for our fair share of that money.
We must make up for years of deferred maintenance on Goodhue County-owned roads and bridges at a time when the challenge of getting state funding for county roads and bridges is greater than ever. I will work hard to bring home the state grants we need.
We can find some of the money needed to restore our transportation infrastructure by combining new, non-tax revenue streams with money saved by eliminating duplicate services offered by other local governments.
How will you handle the issue of silica sand mines in Goodhue County?
The proposed financial rewards have been dubious and unverifiable, but no economic benefit is worth the public health risks and environmental devastation associated with the frac sand mining process.
Citizens have come together in associations and at public meetings to voice their opposition to silica sand mining in Goodhue County. As I go door to door through Red Wing neighborhoods and meet with voters in their homes, the overwhelming majority are strongly against frac sand mining. I got the message and I plan to bring their voices to the Goodhue County Board.
My opponent is willing to allow frac sand mining. I need the votes of everyone who wants to protect the health of our families and preserve our precious natural resources in order to win this election and keep frac sand mining out of Goodhue County.
What area(s) of the county’s budget do you feel can withstand cuts, and what areas need more money?
We can start by cutting county commissioner pay. They make about $20,000 a year plus per diems, while Red Wing City Council members receive $7,550 annually.
Bringing salaries in line with other local governments will save tax money and attract leaders who are passionate about transforming government and eager to serve the people.
Chronic budget shortfalls require a complete restructuring of county government. My plan to restore Goodhue County to fiscal health includes keeping property taxes low in order to make home ownership more affordable and attract new business, which will strengthen the tax base over time.
We also need innovation like we have never seen before. Short-term budget fixes, like deferring maintenance on roads and bridges, are less viable and less available, so we must plan ahead and focus on fundamental changes in the way we provide services to residents.
Do you feel that wind turbines have a place in Goodhue County? Why or why not?
Electricity is the economic engine of our prosperity, but it is also dirty and hard to make because of its huge carbon footprint and its heavy equipment demands.
Like most modern commodities, a mixture of sources is recommended to overcome supply problems and windmills are a good addition to any energy mix. Wind energy is clean, efficient and much cheaper to produce than in the past.
Major engineering developments in windmills for reliability and output are being enhanced by the distribution from a “smart” electrical grid.
I believe wind turbines have a place in Goodhue County if citizens want the economic advantages of multiple land uses, but only in locations where the average wind speed is sufficient to make power economically.
Of course, they have to be subject to thoughtful zoning laws that preserve the rights of neighbors.