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Paynesville Press - Oct. 31, 2012

Stearns County District 3
Jeff Mergen

Jeff Mergen

Jeff Mergen, 64, of Richmond has served two years on the Stearns County Board of Commissioners. He taught math at Rocori High School for 30 years, as well as coaching wrestling, before retiring. He also served 21 years in the Army Reserves.

Why are you interested in serving on the county board of commissioners?
I originally ran for the office in 2010 because of concerns with the large yearly increases in property taxes and the increased burden of more and more regulations placed upon people and their personal property.

What makes you the best candidate for this office?
During my less than two years in office, I have been instrumental in passing the first two property tax levy reductions in Stearns County history: the 2012 budget saw a 0.92 percent reduction and the 2013 reduction will be 1.0 percent. I have also made constituent service a top priorty. I am willing to meet at their site if requested and on several occasions have accompanied them in meeting with county officials.

What would be your primary goals if elected?
If elected, I will continue to work on county efficiency and work toward continued fiscal responsibility. I will also remain accessible to the public and represent their concerns at the county level.

What is your long-range vision for Kandiyohi County?
Some of the long-range plans include bringing the county agencies with overlapping responsibilities together to achieve agreement as to which agency is responsible for each issue. The different departments could then be streamlined to further save the taxpayer's money. In streamlining the different departments that are primarily regulatory in nature, it would provide an opportunity to shift a greater share of the levy to repairing more of the county roads that are currently in poor shape. The county board as a whole is currently working with several state legislators to remove some of the state mandates which have beome a large financial burden on county budgets. Over the next four years, this process will continue to be pursued.

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