BROWN COUNTY — Three Brown County Commissioners, all running unopposed in the Nov. 3 general election, weighed in on what they consider the biggest issues they and residents face these days.
District 1 Commissioner Dave Borchert, who also serves as the New Ulm Police Chief, said the COVID-19 challenge is the most important issue Brown County needs to address.
“Emergency response and management of COVID involves four phases: preparation, response, recovery, and mitigation,” Borchert said. “Similar to other agencies, the four phases frequently overlap, allowing the unit of government to address each phase independently and simultaneously.”
Borchert said response involves county public health and emergency management staff doing a wonderful job managing a complex event.
“In the near future, the same staff will need to lead the coordination of mass vaccine distribution which is also a very complex response level,” Borchert said. “We will be in the recovery phase for years. It will involve securing reimbursement through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and other resources like the CARES Act.”
Borchert said mitigation is the final and extremely important phase that equips the county to become more resilient in attempting to find options to better deal with future similar events.
Borchert said he isn’t sure why he’s running unopposed.
“The county board is very time consuming and it’s probably challenging for many individuals during various stages of life,” said Borchert. “I don’t believe I would have been able to do this ten years ago, because I had a child at home. Currently, I’m at a different stage in life, have more available time and am fully committed to devote the necessary weekly hours to get the job done properly.”
Borchert talked about serving on the board.
“It’s very very rewarding to serve as a Brown County Commissioner. I am very thankful for this opportunity to serve,” he said. “Representing the 1st District of New Ulm is my priority. I am grateful that the community has entrusted me with this responsibility. I appreciate the support and want to continue to serve this wonderful community.”
District 2 Commissioner Tony Berg said dealing with COVID health issues, preparing for immunizations, allocating CARES Act funds for businesses weathering COVID mandates and dealing with less state funding including highway funds due to cover are the biggest challenges.
“I think I’ve been tackling the issues well and no tough or divisive issues stood out,” said Berg.
“It’s an honor to serve District 2 and all of Brown County. Please vote and be counted,” he added.
District 3 Commission Scott Windschitl said an immediate need is to maintain service to all Brown County residents with new delivery methods and do all we can do help those in need, including those affected by COVID-19.
“With the help of CARES Act dollars from the federal government, we have delivered grants to many businesses and are working on more grants for non-profits,” said Windschitl.”
“Longer term, we need to keep taxes as low as possible but continue to upgrade our roads and transportation needs,” said Windschitl. “We need to continue to work on landfill problems, especially leachate, the liquid that comes from garbage.”
He said dealing with a labor shortage is something that has not been dealt with before but will be an issue for the next 10 to 20 years.
“It may be an opportunity for new processes and growth. Time will tell,” said Windschitl.
He said out-of-home placements of children is another concern regarding keeping families together, but there are times when, for a wide range of problems, it is necessary for child safety.
“I hope I am running unopposed because I am doing the job that is expected of me,” he said. “Brown County has had very low tax rates in the 10 years I’ve been on the board. I like to let people spend their own money wherever they want and not have someone spend the money for them with tax dollars.”
Windschitl thanked all Brown County constituents for having the best interest for all in mind and for their support and engagement.
“I will do my best to continue to represent you for the next four years,” he said.
(Fritz Busch can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org).