Nesseth vying for District 3 seatSept. 29, 2012.
Name: Barney Nesseth
Address: 41595 County 8 Blvd., Zumbrota
Family: Wife Laura, Alex (age 11) and daughter Rachel (age 8)
Occupation: Owner and operator of Buckstop Grocery/Hometown Wine & Spirits in Wanamingo; farmer in rural Wanamingo; designer for semiconductor company
Education: Graduated in 1987 with degree in integrated circuit/printed circuit design
Civic involvement: Kenyon Sunset Home Board member, Holden Lutheran Church member, former Kenyon-Wanamingo School Board member, former Cub Scout den leader, former Cub master
If elected, what will be your top priorities for 2013?
My top priority is bringing jobs into Goodhue County.
The county government needs to be more proactive in growing existing businesses and attracting new businesses. The county needs to work with all cities to help fill vacant buildings with thriving businesses that provide good jobs.
The county has to promote itself, its schools, cities and rural enterprises. At the same time, we have to show businesses this is an attractive county to locate to by showing a downward trend of taxation. We need a strong partnership with cities, schools and townships to accomplish this.
If we can get businesses to expand and locate in the county it expands our tax base, which lowers our taxes, which attracts more new businesses and lowers our taxes more. We also get more jobs in our local economy.
We need to ensure that money spent by the county is spent at businesses located in Goodhue County. I am a firm believer that money taken from local taxpayers should be spent within the county as much as possible, to support local jobs and our families.
Highway safety has been a big concern for citizens. How do you think Goodhue County should go about addressing problem intersections and bridges?
The U.S. Highway 52 corridor running through Goodhue County has long been a problem at our county road intersections. We have had far too many collisions and fatalities.
We can sit and wait for federal and state money, but that doesn’t fix the problem. I do not want to hear from some state bureaucrat that there haven’t been enough deaths to fix the problem.
The county government needs to be very proactive and turn up the pressure on the state and in some cases just fix the problem ourselves.
All these intersection problems have existed for decades, yet nothing gets done.
Mr. Rechtzigel has been working on these problems for eight years and we have had no progress except for our share of the overpass to nowhere south of Pine Island. I will get this work done.
How will you handle the issue of silica sand mines in Goodhue County?
To be honest I struggle some with this issue. We want the jobs and the growth, but yet we do not want our landscape looking like it does in some areas of Wisconsin.
I believe that limited mining should be allowed. Each new mine should go through public hearings to discuss all the issues and concerns. The locations and sizes of the mines need to be regulated intensely so that everyone’s concerns are heard and addressed if possible.
A slow, thoughtful process on each new mine application needs to happen. What I will tell you is that I will always listen to your concerns and address them if possible.
Everything that happens with this issue needs to be in full public view.
What area(s) of the county’s budget do you feel can withstand cuts, and what areas need more money?
The only area of the county budget that needs more money is the Economic Development Authority. In the 2013 budget, the county slated $23,000 for new business development. This is nothing compared to the millions in spending growth across almost all county departments.
Just from 2010 to the 2013 proposed budget, the planning and zoning department costs have grown 21 percent, auditor/treasurer 20 percent, county attorney 14 percent, Human Services 31 percent; the list goes on.
After eight years of large growth in almost all departments, there is ample opportunity to find smart budget reductions. So that begs a question, if county departments have grown so much, why has not our property tax levy went up the same amount?
The extra money comes from fees, fines and other charges that departments charge for services rendered to the taxpayer and also from reductions in services to the taxpayers.
I will work to ensure that county government is as efficient as possible and to re-prioritize spending more toward the core functions of government.
Do you feel that wind turbines have a place in Goodhue County? Why or why not?
I am not in support of any industry that requires massive tax subsidies to be viable.
Just open your ever-increasing electric bill to see the effects of wind energy. The subsidies don’t end at the state and federal levels of government.
The County Board agreed to give large local tax breaks to Goodhue Wind on their property taxes. With the Goodhue Wind project valued at $180 million, their property tax would be $1.46 million. Instead, the County Board agreed to a reduced property tax for the windmills of $200,000.
The project is a commercial enterprise and should be taxed the same as all other commercial business properties.
Also, the County Board should not undermine their decisions. When Mr. Rechtzigel and two others wrote to the Public Utilities Commission trying to undermine an earlier board vote of a 10-rotor setback, he destroyed all credibility of the county with the PUC.
It is OK to support green energy, but it should not cloud your judgment when voting on issues that greatly affect Goodhue County residents.