To the editor:
Campaign season seems to invite a good deal of inaccurate and misleading statements designed to confuse the voters. Such is the case with a number of Letters to the Editor in last week’s Monticello Times from Rose Thelen’s supporters. As the letters suggest, Rose has stated that the county’s “budget process is flawed” and she has talked of “phantom” positions. However, that is where truth ends and fiction begins.
If you want to know what happened at the county commissioners’ meeting Sept. 11 go to: www.thedrummer.com/Archive/FrontPage/September14.htm.
View the report that was in the Wright County Journal-Press and decide for yourself. What you will find is Commissioner Thelen wanted to hire more new staff and spend more money than the other commissioners (myself included). Now her supporters are trying to change history and confuse people with talk of “phantom” positions. There are no phantom positions. There are positions that have become vacant due to attrition that the county board has chosen not to fill. We have used the overwhelming majority of these savings to keep the levy stable at zero percent for 2013. The $466,600.00 saved from these non-filled positions has been subtracted directly out of the 2013 tax levy. The substantially smaller portion that remains in the budget will be available in case we need to fill a couple of these positions at some point during the next year. I am proud of my work on the budget during my tenure on the county board. Wright County is a model for other counties as it relates to efficient delivery of public services. According to the Minnesota State Auditor, Wright County spends less per capita than 84 of 87 counties in the state; in addition, the 2012 Wright County per capita tax levy is 19.4 percent lower than the average county levy statewide. The economy is tough and many taxpayers are having a difficult time making ends meet. Like the private sector, government must also tighten its belt during these challenging economic times. Now is not the time to go on a hiring (spending) spree.
Editor’s Note: Sawatzke is a District 2 Wright County Commissioner candidate and current county commissioner.