NEW ULM - Incumbent County Commissioners Jim Berg and Dick Seeboth have both filed for re-election to the county board. Seeboth represents the First Commissioner's District, and Berg represents the Second District.
Along with Third District Commissioner Scott Windschitl, all three commissioners up for re-election have filed.
Berg and Seeboth are two veteran members of the commission. Seeboth, a representative for Mid America Brokerage in New Ulm, was first elected in 1996. Berg, who lives in rural New Ulm, was first elected in 1998. Both have served as commission chair, and Berg is currently the chair.
Seeboth, completing his 16th year on the board, said he is comfortable supervising the 15 different departments that make up county government, "with the exception of calculating individual property tax mill rates," he said. "There aren't too many people in the county who can do that."
Seeboth said the focus of the county board the past couple of years has been searching for money-saving opportunities.
"When the interest rates broke a few years ago, we took the opportunity to retire the county's debt. The county is now debt free. We conducted energy audits of county buildings and are starting to reap the benefits of that."
Seeboth said he is happy the county board was able to deal with the impact of taxing decisions made at the state level without raising the local tax levy.
"We could have raised the taxes a little to be a little more comfortable and build our reserves, but with the impact the Homestead Credit changes had on local businesses, we went with a zero tax increase, and I made the motion on that."
Berg said he enjoys his time on the board.
"We have a pretty good board. We work together to get things done and don't waste a lot of taxpayer money. We managed to get a zero percent budget increase this year."
The big challenge in the last couple of years has been dealing with cuts in state funding. Berg said the county has met the challenge, focusing on what the county really has to do, not filling empty positions unless really necessary and changing a few things in the what the county does do.
Berg said budgeting is a focus of his, and he has a couple of things he wants to see through, most notabl the switch to the 800 radio system that all law enforcement and emergency agencies are required to adopt.
"That should be coming up in July."