Return to Election Page | Home | Marketplace | Community

Paynesville Press - Oct. 27, 2010

Stearns County District 3
Jeff Mergen

Jeff Mergen, 62, of Rich-mond, is challenging incumbent Vince Schaefer to represent District 3 on the Stearns County Commissioners. Mergen has taught math at Rocori High School for 30 years, as well as coaching wrestling for the Spartans.

Why are you running for county commissioner? Real estate taxes have gotten too high. My goals as county commissioner will be to: 1) Reduce the size and cost of county government; 2) Reduce property taxes.

What fresh ideas would you bring to the county commissioners? (1) Try to make the county website more transparent. Will attempt to have the county employeeÕs contracts and salaries on the website. Just as the farmerÕs subsidies are on the ag website and teacherÕs salaries are on the state education website. (2) I would attempt to introduce term limits for commissioners. (3) Attempt to address how county contracts are negotiated. The current method is not working, since a greater percent of the budget is consistently consumed by salaries and benefits (45.75 percent in 2002 vs. 56.5 percent in 2010). (4) Work to reduce the number of committees (currently over 100).

How are you better qualified for this position than your opponent? I believe that my extensive background in mathematics and statistics will be a tremendous asset. I believe I am a creative person and able to analyze overall big picture situations in order to create a situation where the whole county workforce can become more efficient.

What is your vision for Stearns County? My vision is that taxes be reduce to tolerable levels. To a point where people on fixed income (Social Security) do not need to worry about being taxed out of their home. I would work to have a major portion of the budget transferred to the highway department and away from some of the regulatory agencies. Help to aleviate some of the business regulations that are unique to Stearns County and cause businesses to locate just over the line in neighboring counties.

Contact the editor at  •  Return to Election Page

Home | Marketplace | Community