2020 Elections – Questions for Candidates

Purpose: Suggest criteria for selecting candidates. Keep track of major decisions and alignment with the non-partisan political platform. 

BCLN.   The Brown County Leader Network has developed a guide to support assessments, decision-making, and planning.

The short version of the non-partisan platform:

  1. Support for a Common Vision –  The community working together to make things better where actions result in outcomes where everyone gains, or at least, are not any worse off.
  2. Say what you are going to do, and why, and do what you say
  3. Plans and Planning – Fail to plan – plan to fail – Ben Franklin
    • A “plan”  is a written account of the intended future course of action (scheme) aimed at achieving the specific goal (s) or objective (s) within a specific timeframe. It explains in detail what needs to be done, when, how, and by whom.
  4. Be open, honest, and communicate  (transparency)
  5. Apply collaborative problem solving and decision-making processes

Transparency

  • Are commissioners and council meetings made available via webcasts?  In addition to audio, are webcasts (video) saved and available?
  • Have county offices, boards and commissions posted mission and function statements? Do they also post all agendas and minutes?
  • Are annual performance (strategic) plans posted? Are the annual results from these plans also posted?

Major Changes and Impacts

  • Are policy changes respective to higher taxes, spending, development, wastewater treatment (septics, sewers), water infrastructure, etc, increasing the cost of living and leading to gentrification?
    • Gentrification defined as demand in an area that attracts wealthier residents and investors that lead to changes that increase the cost of living to the extent that previous residents can no longer afford to live in the area.
  • Will higher taxes on fewer people accelerate a population decline?
  • Covid-19.  Is the county providing the right level of resources in responding to this crisis?

Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD) – For the Record

  • County Council approved $270K of funding for the Bean Blossom Sewer Project:
    • Was/Is the project supported by the customers?
    • Was a successful partnership with the Helmsburg RSD established?
    • Did the regionalization study lead to a further assessment that identified the best options for the county in the near, mid, and long-term?
    • Are/were major decision postponed until a countywide wastewater assessment and strategy was completed? 
      • Did/does this strategy have community support?

Health Board – Proposed New Septic Ordinance

  • Was the update to the 1997 ordinance supported by citizens?
  • Were citizens provided written responses to their concerns?

Economic Development Strategic Plan 

  • Was the plan approved and supported by the citizens?
  • Did the county update the County Comprehensive Plan?   (The county was/is eligible to apply for a 50K grant to update the plan).

Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) – Planning Grants – 2018-2021

  • In addition to the 2018 Economic Development Strategic Planning Grant ($40K), how many other grants were applied for and received?
  • Grants – Can have five total outstanding – Can have three in the county, two in the Nashville.

Note: In 2017 and based on the income survey where it was identified that 53.1% of the population fell within the low to moderate-income (LMI) level, the county became eligible to apply for planning grants.  Eligibility lasts for four years.

Proposal for a New Justice Center and Renovations of old Courthouse

  • Did the input from the public lead to adjustments in the plan to include cancellation?
  • Did the courthouse and prosecutors’ office receive the required maintenance and renovations?

Brown County Music Center (Maple Leaf) 

  • Operations.  Were taxpayers asked for funding support – loans or subsidies or has it been self-supporting?
  • Admin Agreement – Distribution of Profits – Were any changes made to the Admin Agreement – 75% to BCCF or 100% to the county?

Clearcutting –  Bean Blossom Overlook

  • Were the issues successfully resolved?
  • Were changes made to the policy (s) that will prevent a re-occurrence?
  • Was the communication tower installed?

Salt Creek Trail.

  • Were there any unexpected expenses passed on to county taxpayers?
  • Does the public think that the steel truss highway bridges are contributing to the aesthetics of the county? 

Finance and Operations – County Comprehensive Financial Plan (2016-21)

  • Has the plan been continually improved? 
  • Did the council increase taxes?
  • Did the county publish a 5, 10, or longer capital improvement plan and budget?
    • Was a road and bridge plan developed and posted?
  • Did the county publish the results from an annual review of internal controls?   
  • Did the county publish an annual report of performance?
  • What are the trends in taxes and spending?
  • Has a needed change been made in health insurance coverage?

Oversight of County Boards and Commissions

  • Were the roles and responsibilities of all boards and commissions published on the county website?  Is a directory available?
  • Were strategic plans (goals and objectives for the year) for each office developed and posted?
  • Were annual reports of accomplishments published?

Decision Making