District 5 County Commissioner: Dick Mattson

I am a lifelong resident of Marysville Township and the fourth generation of my family to reside here. My background of dairy, beef and crop farming gives me the knowledge and experience of the farming community.

Our family was in the school bus and charter business for 47 years and the last 16 years I managed the business, which gives me the knowledge and experience necessary to work with people in all types of business situations. I also was a township supervisor on the Marysville Township Board for three years.

Why am I running for the county board?   My years as a Commissioner have been the best years of my life. I feel that good communication with people and trying to get the work done the same day is the way people want government to work. I try to be at the courthouse at 7:30 a.m. the first three days of the week. People can contact my office and we can get problems solved early in the day. You have to dedicate yourself to this position.

It is very important to the people of our county and you are really on-call 24 hours a day and I have no problem with that as this was the way I ran my business all the time.

What are the county’s budget priorities?   I want our county board to be as conservative as we can and still provide the best service to our citizens of Wright County. In December last year, I told the board we should look at a hiring freeze and we now are in our budget process and I am working very hard at that.

With the private sector laying people off, government should not operate any differently. I would sooner give better wages than hire more people. We cannot have both. We have to look at essential needs, not the wants of our departments.

Three other areas of concerns and my plans to address them:

1) At this time water is a problem throughout the county and I don’t believe any of our systems were designed to handle the rain we’ve had since June. I have been pushing to have a complete study of our lakes, dams, culverts, roads, drainage systems to make sure everything is the best we can do. There is some funding to work with BWSR. This study will include townships, cities and our county system. We handed out the maps to the townships on Oct. 3rd to fill out and be returned to the courthouse by December 1st.

2) Growth is a problem and trying to keep up with and still treat everyone equally throughout the county. Roads and the way they have been designed were fine when we had a population of 50- to 60,000 people in the county, but we are close to 90,000 people and roads are not built to handle all that added traffic. Our roads in the western part of the county are not too bad, but need upgrading such as paved shoulders so people can walk or bike along the roads, and overlays are needed. Because of the heavy rains, stress on the township and county roads have taken a toll on our transportation dollars and hopefully we will have money from our county being declared a disaster county to help townships, cities and the county apply and receive some help on this tremendous cost.

3) Plans for the future of Wright County have to be looked at carefully and not jump into a change just for change. At this time we house prisoners at different counties because we are over capacity. We could look at a new jail, but maybe a joint effort between two or three counties is something to look at. There is not an easy fix, but we cannot jump into a cost we cannot afford and added strain to the taxpayers of our county.

You can contact me at my office or home. Office: 763-682-7685; DickMattson@co.wright.mn.us (e-mail address); 1-800-362-3667, hours 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Home: 763-682-3163; Mttsnbowl@cs.com (e-mail address).