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Candidate Q&A: Goodhue County Board District 3

In the fall general election this November, Goodhue County Board candidates Byron "Barney" Nesseth and Todd Angelstad will go against each other for the county's 3rd District.

The winning candidate will represent townships of Warsaw, Holden, Wanamingo, Kenyon, Cherry Grove, Roscoe, Pine Island and the cities of Dennison, Wanamingo, Kenyon and Pine Island.

County Board candidates were asked to elaborate on their goals and what they will bring to the table as the next commissioner.

Byron "Barney" Nesseth

Age: 51

Address: 41595 Cty 8 Blvd Zumbrota MN 55992

Occupation: Small Business Owner/Farmer

Education: Graduate of Dakota County Technical College and Wanamingo High School

Family: Wife: Laura, Children: Alec and Rachel

Civic involvement: I have been and am currently involved in many organizations in the area. These include Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Holden Lutheran Church, Kenyon Sunset Home board, Kenyon Wanamingo School board, Wanamingo Commercial Club, Wanamingo Lions Club

  • What is the biggest challenge facing Goodhue County and how would you address it as a commissioner?

I think the biggest challenge for the county is keeping up with maintenance and repairs of roads and bridges and finding the money to do so.

As commissioner I would work with our state and federal representatives to be sure we are getting as much state and federal dollar s as we can. And I would work to ensure that any road projects do not destroy property values and tax base. Also I would like to see our county focus more of our existing financial resources on this issue.

  • What are some specific needs and issues in your district and how would you address them?

In District 3 we need business growth and jobs. In every town in District 3 there are empty buildings and storefronts. I would like to see the county get it tax rates down and work with existing businesses and local EDA's to foster more growth.

Since district 3 is agriculture centric I think the One watershed One plan being pushed by the state is cause for concern. It seems we may be forced to give up local control thru our SWCD. The idea makes good sense by managing each drainage basin as a unit. But with anything the state pushes, the devil is in the details.

In the 3rd District the county wide trash ordinance will affect us more than other districts.

We are the furthest from Red Wing so our trash costs will be higher than other areas of the county. I would like to see the dump rates adjusted depending on the distance from red wing to make it equal for all residents of Goodhue County.

  • With the uncertainty of state funding for roads and bridges, what role should the county — through property tax levy, bonding, transportation sales tax option or other means — have in maintaining local infrastructure?

I think we should work with existing financial resources and re-dedicate them more to roads and infrastructure. We already charge the wheelage tax to our residents. I am not in favor of new taxes on existing residents. I think the new taxes should come from growth and prosperity in our county. I am not a proponent of bonding. It locks in spending from the past to be paid for by future taxes.

  • What life experiences would you bring to County Board and how would they affect your decision making?

As a small business owner and farmer I always want a good value with any money spent. I have a eye on the long term and how to plan for it.

I have experience serving on the Kenyon-Wanamingo School Board and the Kenyon Sunset Home Board, in both instances there were financial issues that had to be worked thru and also future growth planning to assist our way out of the financial issues.

I have experience working with public employee unions and employees in general.

I have spent 25 years working in technology also, so I have experience in many areas of networks, computers and equipment.

I have experience building businesses in Goodhue County and have expanded them. That experience will be helpful in helping the county grow its businesses, jobs and prosperity.

  • What will be your top priority if you are elected and why?

My top priority is roads and bridges. It is one of the core functions of our county government and should have a high financial priority. To help with this we also need growth in jobs and tax base in the county. As the tax base grows it is easier to fund roads and bridges. You can not just tax the same people more all the time to meet the needs. You have to grow.

  • What sets you apart from your opponent?

I think my experience on the Kenyon-Wanmingo school board dealing with public employees and negotiating with public employee unions is a plus. I have went thru and helped resolve financial issues in a public setting and been successful. Whether that sets me apart form my opponent or not, I do not know. He is a good man also. I will let the voter decide that one.

Todd Angelstad

Age: 52

Address: Nerstrand, MN

Occupation: District 3 Small Business owner; Kenyon Motor Mart, Angelstad Construction and heavy equipment sales rep for Rossco Equipment

Education: 2 year degree from Anoka Technical College, Golf Course and Turf Management

Family: Wife Brenda and son Tanner, 8th grader at Kenyon Wanamingo

Civic involvement: Past City of Kenyon Fire Chief and 28 years as active volunteer fireman and first responder; previously served on Building and Grounds Committee at First Lutheran Church and Board of Directors at Kenyon Country Club

  • What is the biggest challenge facing Goodhue County and how would you address it as a commissioner?

I see 2 major challenges. First, maintaining and improving our system of services, while at the same time addressing our property tax burdens. The County has to prioritize the most important services; public safety, roads and bridges and social services. We cannot increase property tax burdens on homeowners, farmers and small businesses. That means making difficult decisions on the spending side and being efficient on the delivery side. Second, maintaining Goodhue County as a rural county. Maintaining our quality of life means the need to plan well and keep urban pressures (like the zip rail line) out of our area.

  • What are some specific needs and issues in your district and how would you address them?

The first need is to keep the zip rail from becoming a reality. The quality of life for residents of our district would be greatly diminished and affected. Secondly, the focus needs to be on the most important services the county needs to provide to its citizens. We need safe transportation and that includes overpasses at Hwy 57 and 52 and in Pine Island at Hwy 52. The third issue is that the county serves as the safety net in providing needed social services and must do so without creating dependency or entitlement attitudes amongst its clients.

  • With the uncertainty of state funding for roads and bridges, what role should the county — through property tax levy, bonding, transportation sales tax option or other means — have in maintaining local infrastructure?

Roads and bridges...that's what it's all about. While the State of Minnesota deliberates enhanced transportation funding we need to focus on getting the job done locally. Property taxes cannot increase...any increased revenue should come from user related dollars. I will look at the entire county budget and work with the other commissioners to ensure that the south and west sides of Goodhue County are not short changed in the dollars and the transportation projects that move forward.

  • What life experiences would you bring to County Board and how would they affect your decision making?

As past Fire Chief and present Small Business Owner, experience has taught me the importance of fiscal responsibility and balancing a budget, while also providing quality service to your customers. Seeking out feedback from District 3 residents to understand concerns will inform my decision making process, allowing me to make sure a quality product is delivered, resources are allocated to the highest priorities in the most efficient and effective manner possible, all with a focus of not increasing the tax burden and balancing the budget.

  • What will be your top priority if you are elected and why?

My top priority will be to provide county services to Goodhue County residents in the most efficient manner possible while holding down property taxes; ensuring that District 3 receives an equitable share of the resources and ensuring that the zip rail does not become a reality.

  • What sets you apart from your opponent?

I don't think everything is as straightforward or simple as "no more status quo." Every issue has many factors to consider, like how does "this" affect "that"? I will strive to understand each issue in depth, seek opinions from both sides and make an informed decision based on all the considerations to determine how best to represent the interests of District 3.

Kit Murray

Kit Murray joined Red Wing Republican Eagle in Aug. 2016, covering government, transportation and public safety. She is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead with a degree in photojournalism and philosophy. 

(651) 301-7874
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