1. On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most
agreement, what is your view on whether sparsely-populated counties in
Minnesota should be merged.
2. On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most
agreement, what is your view that the Legislature, in solving a $4.8
billion budget shortfall, should concentrate mainly on how funds are
distributed to agencies and units of government, because that's where
the vast majority of state dollars are spent, not on state government
Broden (0) (8)
no need to merge the counties but there is a need to merge the
functions of the counties. If merging the counties becomes
a theme--there will be resistance to protect the identity--if function
are merged that issue will not be present and the results will be the
same. Local people are identity focused and appropriately so--there is
no need for "big Brother" to tell them that they really no longer
exist --lets help each area retain their pride and have them join in
creative ways to save dollars.
Government operations must share in the update and budget tightening.
How the state operates although perhaps a smaller percentage is one
way for all of government to share the pain and it is a good way to
sell the overall plan to the public. Also there is not often a chance
to relook at how the state employees are organized and what they
do--the so called civil service system need a good hard long term
look including pensions etc.
Jungbauer (3) (8)
I enjoyed reading
the recent remarks and input from Terry Stone. I do have to comment on
a couple of things.
"State government should respond to the choices we makeónot
endeavor to make those choices for us, he said. He doesn't like the
idea of social planners getting into the game of guiding development."
I decided that I liked this person as soon as I read this. Too often
government is trying to make decisions for us and I think this is
wrong. I have witnessed attempts at social engineering within my own
city government. Our officials are elected to represent us, not rule
over us and pass laws designed for what they deem to be for our own
good. They are elected to represent us. Period.
I agree totally with lifting the ban on nuclear power plants.
Beside the facts stated by Mr. Stone, fast neutron reaction does not
require the long term storage of spent fuel rods. This is reduced to
as little as several hundred years rather than thousands of years.
Hauge (8.5) (8)
Donald H. Anderson (6) (6)
Robert J. Brown (1) (9)
Question 1: If some counties want to merge let them, but
services can be delivered by joint powers agreements if some counties
canít efficiently deliver some services.
Question 2: While
this is where most of the money goes there should also be concern for
making the state agencies more efficient, too.
Mr. Stone was very
interesting and thoughtful. He had better insights than some of the
politicians you have met with.
William Kuisle (3) (8)
Question 1: We
have proven that big government is not better government. These
counties are and should be encouraged to work together through joint
powers. State functions such as courts and social services should be
Bishop (1) (5)
Dennis L. Johnson (0) (10)
Good interview, Stone makes a lot of sense. Mergers of counties should
only be with the consent of both counties.
Question 1: 5.
except at the request of the smaller county I would call this forced
annexation of the wrong kind and vote 0. This would only further
reduce voice, input, identity, and opportunity for local control. I
wish to see greater not less opportunities for my neighbors to
participate. We live in a time when it is all to easy to let someone
else do it for us, we need to promote and increase public involvement
through real local decision making, pushing back against continuing
Carolyn Ring (8) (9)
Question 1: With
modern transportation we no longer need a county seat within a day
trip by horse for everyone. Many counties already are sharing
services, but more savings could be accomplished by combining counties
as they have school districts.
Question 2: Every board, commission, agency and unit of government
should be analyzed for need and cost. There probably would be a great
cry if some of the boards and commissions were eliminated or scaled
down, but the cumulative savings could be very effective in cutting
Frenzel (10) (5)
I seem to
recall that the Legislature does fully control all the flow-thru
spending. The Legislature should concentrate on discretionary
spending of all kinds. This is a splendid opportunity to get rid of
unnecessary programs, functions and employees.
Eugene Piccolo (8) (7)
Charles Lutz (10) (8)
Mansky (8) (10)
Question 1: The option of merging political subdivisions
should at least be an option for legislative consideration, even
though the costs to be saved long-term is likely to be pretty small.
Yes, the transfer payments, whether to individuals or to the political
subdivisions, is where the money is. The operation of the state
government is essentially an irrelevant part of the budget.
Jackie Underferth (10) (2)
Abeles (10) (_)
and the discussion on transportation are of particular interest.
First, it should be noted that throughout history, population growth
has followed transportation routes. That is why exchanges on
interstates became a hot political topic or the number of stops for
the LRT and whether or not there is a local airport. Most of these
trends have been seen in models of historic data. The issue came home
in MN with the collapse of the 35W bridge and the statewide response
even in the short term around the replacement as well as inspection of
other bridges and the problems with the crosstown/35 construction.
As many others have noted, just with the change in transport from
horse trails to corduroy roads, to canals, railroads and interstates.
Many towns are really only transitional but seemingly permanent in the
eyes of residents- towns have come and gone as resources have been
discovered and then disappeared, factories thrived and then faded,
etc Birth and death are as natural for humans and their artifacts.
Shelly's poem, Ozymandias speaks well to this. Consolidation is a
natural phenomenon and to try to "sustain" a community may be a costly
proposition like keeping a person, indefinitely, on life support-
government, schools, infrastructure, etc
Malcolm McLean (8) (5)
Question 1: I am
sure we have more governmental entities, including counties, than we
need. That is a rational idea. However, I believe there is an
emotional commitment to counties like a commitment to
schools. Eliminating the existence of a county might seem like a death
knell to some of the citizens who live there. I think Stone's idea of
having the affected counties help determine mergers is well taken.
not sure I understand this question. Does this mean, for example,
that the Department of Education is a state operation and would not be
affected while funds for U of MN and MNSCU, as we have just seen, are
to cut a lot? I should think that all state expenditures, whether
state operations or hand-offs to other government levels or the U,
etc, should be reviewed and prioritized.
Clarence Shallbetter (5) (8)
Quie (0) (9.5)
Tambornino (5) (0)
As a resident of
one of the largest counties in MN, I'm not prepared to comment on
whether others should merge. The smaller counties need to decide
that. Are there ways state should facilitate this? Are there
additional ways in which state can facilitate cooperation? I think
talk with Assn of Counties is a good suggestion.
Concentrating on state government operations will not yield enough
savings, but it too has to be examined for possible efficiencies. I
have not been impressed with public sector ability to reinvent the way
they do things. Probably some of this because of ignorance.
enough about fast neutron reactors to think we should re-examine
possibilities of nuclear power and
consider permitting fast neutron reactors. Not yet ready
to allow permits, only to consider possibility. Latest information
I've seen was that some proponents think US is ready for a pilot
project - that's not enough to allow additional plants yet.
Robert P. Mairs (10) (5)
Halstead (5) )(5)
Question 1: I
think there could be greater savings in merging small communities in
the metro area. The northern suburbs have numerous cities with small
populations and small geographic areas. They have little bargaining
power in the metro area food fights.
Question 2: We
need to address the many problems with medical care in this country.
We have the worst system that money will buy.
Nowicki (10) (7)
and Ann Schluter (0) (0)
Question 1: If the word merged is taken literally, the likelihood of
counties doing that is very remote. Counties are not going to give up
governing their own county. However, if the idea is shared services,
there is great opportunity for dollar savings and well as effective
and efficient delivery of services.
Question 2: This statement is very confusing. I am assuming that it
is understood that funding for state government agencies and related
councils and boards is a very small part of the total budget. That
being a given, it is unclear to me what is meant by "how funds are
distributed." Is the focus on a process or on policy, i.e. how do you
go about getting the funds distributed vs. the policies that govern
goals and measures related to the purpose and the constituencies the
funds are to serve? The Legislature's job is program policy and
appropriating the funds for those programs that effectively implement
their policy. And if that is the question, I agree.
Driscoll (4) (_)
Question 1: Unless it can be shown that citizens will receive the
same level of services in a merged county and that any merger will
consider citizen needs Ė including the same number of hospitals,
health agencies and community correctional facilities - and not make
it more difficult to access those services after a merger, I suppose
it could be worse. Some counties are wards of the state as is:
unincorporated. Merging them with incorporated counties could probably
help them receive county services as well.
Question 2: I'd like to know the difference between "agencies and
units of government" and "state government operations." I don't
believe there are any, unless he means cities and counties. I also
think someone doesn't understand governance structures very well.
Swain (10) (5)
sparsely-populated counties requires a thorough understanding of why
the boundaries were drawn the way they were in the first place.
Schwarzkopf (9) (10)
Scherer (6) (3)