Dallas County Supervisor
What are the county’s greatest infrastructure needs? Are there sufficient funds to address these needs, and if not, how would you prioritize the needs and why?
The space needs of the county have improved with the renovation of the courthouse, which added 30% more space. We completed the new Human Services Campus, a complex located at the former site of the county care facility, a cost-effective renovation of an existing resource. I supported the $5 million investment to upgrade emergency dispatch communication equipment, software and signal towers for emergency E911 operations. This improvement allows Dallas County to connect with the statewide system for response teams, providing added safety and emergency response capabilities.Supervisors work with our county engineer to budget and set priorities for transportation improvements. I continue to advocate for upgrading road and bridge infrastructure - rural roads and bridges should be a priority. There is a need to expand space for the jail/law enforcement center. We are working with the sheriff, consultants and a citizen group, to determine a plan that residents can support.
Is the county’s current budget meeting all the needs of the county? What changes would you make?
Dallas County remains the fastest growing in the state and among the fastest in the nation – the population increased by 169% since 1990. Despite the demands of this growth, Dallas County’s budget is well-managed and continues to meet the needs of our growing county. I am proud of our elected officials, department heads and county employees. Working together, we found solutions to automate, change and improve the delivery of quality county services to citizens, without raising the tax rate. We will continue to collaborate, engage and expand the use of technology and strategic ideas to reduce costs and enhance county services to residents from all corners of Dallas County.As County Supervisor, I have worked to reduce the tax levy from 9.71 in 2008 to 7.94 today, among the lowest tax rates in Iowa. With my leadership, we made smart decisions that improved Dallas County’s bond rating, receiving an upgraded Aa1 bond rating from Moody’s, saving taxpayers thousands of dollars.
What is the role the county should play in Iowa's water quality problem?
Counties should be involved in the public education process with landowners about stewardship of the land. We support organizations that work to improve water quality in Iowa to ensure that water resources are protected for citizens today and future generations. Dallas County’s leaders worked together to establish the Dallas County Wetland Bank near the Voas Nature Area. Wetland restoration is a promising strategy at key points within the drainage networks for reducing surface water contamination. Buffer strips, grass waterways, understanding slope and effects of weather are all additional factors to consider as we try to reduce nutrients in Iowa surface waters.I am committed to making smart land use choices while building a healthy rural and urban economy. I will also continue to support the work and funding of the Dallas County Conservation Board to protect, preserve, and enhance the county’s natural resources.
What do you believe is the county's greatest strength? Weakness?
Dallas County greatest strength is its quality of life with rural and urban living options. I am proud that Dallas County is financially healthy and a place people want to call home. Dallas County boasts excellent trails, efficient city/county leadership, committed conservation/public health boards, agricultural heritage, a strong economy and respected educational systems. Today, Dallas County is stronger than ever - one of the best places in Iowa to live, work and play. As a result, we have seen tremendous growth. Our strengths creates new challenges as the demands upon the county for services intensifies. The growth in residents brings new issues such as roads, crime, environment and the need for more schools and services. The current challenge is the need to improve the public safety/jail facility. I understand the issues and will create solutions to provide quality services to a growing population. I will ensure tax dollars are spent wisely while preserving our quality of life.