Q&A: Lisa WeikThe Bulletin asked Washington County Board candidates the following questions:
The Bulletin asked Washington County Board candidates the following questions:
Q: Why are you running for a seat on the Washington County Board of Commissioners?
A: I am committed to keeping Washington County a safe and pleasant place to live and work while maintaining our low county tax rate and AAA bond ratings that reflect long-term planning and the strong fiscal discipline of the county board. I pledge to continue an active dialog with state lawmakers to give counties more flexibility in delivery of state-imposed mandates to gain greater budget control by county commissioners. I’m also prepared to lead the Gateway Commission for a third year to increase mobility options for citizens and drive economic development to bring jobs and community stability to my district.
Q: What are the most pertinent issues the county is facing today and how do you plan to tackle them?
A: The real challenge will be covering the cost of state mandates with demand increasing and county program aid decreasing. A vibrant Washington County will require new efforts to meet the challenge of recent economic and demographic events that have changed our outlook. The “New Normal” may mean slower economic growth, increasing numbers of retirees, less consumption, a more diverse population and increased spending for the care and support of the aging. To prepare for this I’ll continue to lead efforts to improve government services through collaborative reform to reduce costs and help meet the changing needs of our citizens.
Q: What is the best option, in your opinion, for solving projected traffic problems along the Gateway Corridor?
A: Under my leadership the Gateway Corridor Commission has delivered initial transportation study results incorporating extensive public feedback and business support, while keeping state lawmakers apprised of our progress. Project goals include a cost-effective solution for fixed-transit in the vital Interstate-94 corridor to grow the regional economy and increase mobility choices for citizens. My constituents have indicated majority support for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in a dedicated lane as offering the most flexibility at less than half the cost to build and operate when compared to Light Rail Trains. A strong focus on outcomes will enhance service and reduce costs.
Q: Woodbury is a growing community. What will you do as a board member to manage growth in a fiscally responsible manner?
A: Woodbury is the largest city in the county and the 10th largest city in Minnesota. By 2030 county population forecasts show 128,842 more people will live here. I will address today’s needs and plan for the future. I support expanded long term and strategic planning and pledge an open door policy to consider new matters on a case-by-case basis. The county’s increasing population could have a positive impact on aid received under the state formula, while expanded regional delivery of programs with counties that match our low tax rate may help serve more people while keeping property taxes affordable.
Q: What do you consider to be the county’s core services and how would you preserve them – by raising the levy, cutting other services or a combination of the two?
A: County government is both local and non-partisan; our core function is to provide safety net services to our most vulnerable and destitute citizens with a focus on public safety.
I pledge to continue an active dialog with state lawmakers to give counties more flexibility in delivery of state-imposed mandates to gain greater budget control by county commissioners so tax increases or program cuts aren’t the only ways to balance the budget. I’m part of the effort to drive strategic reform of state and local government systems to cut unnecessary mandates and streamlines processes, but there is more to do.