Key races could change makeup, direction of Winona County Board – Post Bulletin

Key races could change makeup, direction of Winona County Board – Post Bulletin

WINONA — With Election Day approaching, Minnesota voters have heard from congressional, gubernatorial and different statewide candidates on points like inflation, crime and abortion. At the Winona County stage, these working for the Board of Commissioners are attuned to the world’s extra particular issues, equivalent to funding the county’s new jail, addressing the animal unit cap debate and discovering methods to alleviate the county’s youngster care want.

The board’s make-up is assured to change as District 2 Commissioner Marie Kovecsi retires; Jerry Obieglo and Dwayne Voegeli are working to fill that seat. However, upsets could occur in Districts 1 and 5 as incumbents Chris Meyer and Marcia Ward face Ken Fritz and Bob Redig, respectively, on the poll. And although his District 3 seat isn’t up for election this yr, Commissioner Steve Jacob should vacate his spot on the board if elected to signify Minnesota House District 20B.The quantity of adjustments could result in a change within the dynamic to the board, which at the moment sees many 3-2 votes with Kovecsi, Meyer and Commissioner Greg Olson at odds with Jacob and Ward.

“There’s rather a lot of issues I would not agree along with her (Kovecsi) on,” stated Obieglo. “If Dwayne Voegeli will get elected, it will be the identical. So I’d change the dynamics if I acquired on.””I believe it’s attainable for individuals, for leaders, to unite individuals and to hunt widespread floor,” Voegeli stated of the board’s voting divide.Whichever manner the District 2 race seems, Ward stated she hopes the brand new board will have the ability to have extra intriguing discussions.”That’s been one of the most important irritating issues of the three-2 is that the three, there’s points that they only do not need to focus on,” Ward stated. “And that is unlucky, as a result of I believe there’s rather a lot of constituents that would love us to debate and are available to some rational determination making.”

However, Meyer known as the board’s 3-2 break up a “false narrative,” saying that the board votes unanimously or 4-1 on many issues.”The majority of these 3 to 2 votes — at the very least via July of 2022 — have been over property rights or the constructing of our substitute jail,” Meyer stated. “It is extra right to say that there are a couple of concern areas the place we’ve got completely different viewpoints on what the priorities for the county ought to be.”

One of the problem areas: the county’s animal unit cap. In 2021, a

Winona County dairy farmer moved his operation

to Colorado in order that he could develop his operation, one thing he could not do underneath Winona County’s 1,500 animal items per feedlot cap.

Over the previous few years, the board and the Winona County Board of Adjustments have gone backwards and forwards with

Lewiston-based Daley Farms’ requests to waive the cap

so its dairy operation could develop. While some residents have voiced issues about

impacts on water high quality

if the farm’s dairy herd grew, each township within the county signed letters of help for the venture.

While Ward and Meyer could not converse particularly to Daley Farms’ state of affairs because of pending litigation between the farm and the county, Ward stated the present animal unit cap, to her understanding, is not based mostly on scientific components.”It was principally an arbitrary quantity that was negotiated,” she stated. “So, I believe what we have to do is assessment that and put in fashionable-day agriculture practices, greatest administration practices, assessment what the state’s guidelines and federal guidelines for protections, together with water and land use and all these issues.”Fritz additionally known as the cap “an arbitrary quantity.””There are methods that you would be able to carve out and meet environmental issues, meet different issues which were voiced,” he stated, “when you’re keen to take the time and undergo the method of determining, you realize, what’s greatest at a extra detailed stage.”To Voegeli, the Daley Farms variance case is a closed deal. He stated his emphasis as a commissioner can be on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the county’s Soil and Water Conservation District.

“The water conservation districts and the MPCA want much more funding, much more enamel (to) really implement the principles,” Voegeli stated. “When on the county board the primary time, I really voted for some massive feedlot operation proposals with the understanding that there would make sure protections and sure monitoring happening in place. Unfortunately, that doesn’t occur most of the time.”

Another animal-centric concern the board is at the moment engaged on is residents’ issues about canine breeding services, sometimes called pet mills. During the board’s Aug. 23 assembly, a number of county residents spoke to animal welfare issues throughout public remark, and later, the board voted 3-2 to contemplate adopting an interim ordinance for a moratorium on new facility permits.

Ward and Jacob voted towards the measure.”The course of is to make adjustments within the zoning ordinances to ship it again to the Planning Commission,” Ward stated. “We do have an ordinance that regulates and provides steerage to canine breeding services, after which the Planning Commission is advisory, so then they’d make any suggestions for change or to not the total county board.”Meyer stated defending canines at these breeding services is commonly introduced up by constituents when she is out door-knocking.”I wish to see us do extra, at a minimal ensuring that canine breeding services which have county land use permits have additionally gotten their state and federal licenses,” Meyer stated. “Our workers tells us that, based mostly on case legislation, the county isn’t required to contemplate animal welfare. My query is that if we will, and to what extent? In addition, if we have been to contemplate animal welfare, then what can be the fee and the necessities?”Fritz stated he agrees with a moratorium so the board can take into account the problem, whereas Voegeli stated he does not have a set opinion on the matter and would be taught extra about it.Obieglo stated if he’s elected, he desires to go to the services to see what is going on on for himself.”I believe if the pet mills need to hold individuals from protesting and giving them a tough time, let individuals in,” Obieglo stated.

Child care and jail funding

Other key points for the county embody

increasing youngster care entry

and creating a funding plan for the brand new jail. Here’s what candidates needed to say:Meyer: “This isn’t just a Winona County concern however occurring throughout the area and in all of Minnesota, so I believe we’d like state assist for the repair. … That stated, we’ve got made small efforts in Winona County to raised help the suppliers we’ve got. For instance, funding in the course of the pandemic with grants, ensuring native fingerprinting is accessible for background checks, and partnering with teams to supply coaching to assist suppliers keep in compliance.”Fritz: “I believe one of the issues the county must do is have a look at what are the limitations to opening new youngster care services. And is there a manner the county, then, can take part or play a job in facilitating extra of these?”

Voegeli: “This is a vital concern. … America lags manner behind each different fashionable, industrialized nation, and it is, frankly, embarrassing. So, that is one thing that we could do small issues on the county stage, however it is a downside that actually must be solved on the state stage and federal stage.”Ward: “We have to determine find out how to exchange these retiring youngster care suppliers. I do know some communities have funded services — that is an enormous factor, having the proper facility and observe all of the state pointers. So, there is a potential, perhaps, to fund some sort of facility. … We simply need to see how we will make it occur extra, and it is acquired to be equitable. It’s acquired to be a residing wage kind of factor the place individuals could make a residing doing this, too.”Discussing the problem of the brand new jail facility, candidate stated:Voegeli: “I do know that after I was on the county board earlier than, I used to be not supportive of constructing a brand new jail as a result of of the monetary issues. But it has been determined, so now we’ve got to discover a solution to pay for it. If in any respect attainable, it shouldn’t be paid for via property tax {dollars}. There’s different kinds of taxes that aren’t as regressive on taxpayers.”Obieglo: “When they determined to go forward and construct (the jail), all alongside, they’re telling the jail workers themselves, ‘We’re gonna want you.’ … Up till the final minute, they have been all instructed they’d have a job all through the course of the transition. Well, that did not occur. They took all the road workers and stated, ‘OK, we’re gonna let everyone go.’ … That’s gonna be a troublesome one, there. I actually suppose our personnel division could have carried out higher, could have been doing rather a lot higher.”

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