Candidate profile: Pulkrabek seeks low taxes for countyBill Pulkrabek believes Washington County is a top-flight organization and he wants to keep it that way.
By: Mike Longaecker, Woodbury Bulletin
Bill Pulkrabek believes Washington County is a top-flight organization and he wants to keep it that way.
He just wants taxpayers to be shielded from as much impact the county delivers as possible.
“I see my role as the advocate for the average taxpayer,” said Pulkrabek, the incumbent District 2 commissioner who was first elected to the board in 1998.
He goes up against Oakdale resident Ted Bearth in the race for District 2, which includes eastern Woodbury, Lake Elmo and Oakdale. The race represents something of a rematch dating back to 1994, when both men squared off in the race for Oakdale mayor; Pulkrabek, then 24 years old, defeated the incumbent Bearth.
He was elected to County Board after serving one term as Oakdale mayor.
Pulkrabek sees himself as the tax watchdog on the board. The main focus, Pulkrabek said, is to keep property taxes low and government out of people’s lives.
He said he doesn’t represent unions, special interests, county programs or departments as a commissioner. Other elected officials find themselves beholden to those interests after years in their roles, he said.
“I will not do that,” Pulkrabek said, describing himself as a fiscal conservative.
He said one thing he hopes to accomplish if re-elected is to end the county’s partnership with the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB). He showed county figures indicating Washington County has paid in $18.1 million to the board and received $8.8 million in return.
Others who claim that access to CTIB funding means Washington County will benefit the county down the road is “a fairy tale argument,” Pulkrabek said, noting that he called a 2011 decision to re-sign an agreement with CTIB the worst decision the board had ever made.
“I still stand by that,” he said.
Pulkrabek said he would also like to see the county phase out its association with the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, arguing Washington County doesn’t belong in the housing market.
He said he would also like to end a system of incentive payments to garbage haulers who take their waste to a Newport facility rather than dumping it in landfills. The program costs the county millions annually.
“After eight years of having the same song and dance, it might be time to pull the plug,” Pulkrabek said.