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Commissioners stress budget

Trio runs unopposed

October 21, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - Brown County voters in Districts 1, 2 and 3 will find the names of three incumbent commissioners running unopposed on their Tuesday, Nov. 6 ballots.

Richard "Dick" Seeboth, James "Jim" Berg and Scott Windschitl are running in Districts 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

Seeboth said the biggest challenge for the county board is to continue to provide a satisfactory level of services despite declining state funding to counties.

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"We've had major state aid cuts in recent years, but I think we've maintained reasonable levels of service," Seeboth added. "We have to continue to find ways to make up the difference. I'm sure there will be no state aid funding increases in my time (on the board). We just want to be able to provide an appropriate level of service without raising costs."

Seeboth said labor costs take the biggest bite out of the county budget.

He has 16 years of experience on the Brown County Board and is unaware of any write-in challenger for his county board seat this year.

A Milwaukee native, Seeboth moved to New Ulm in 1978 to work for a commodities brokerage. He started his own company, Mid-American Brokerage Company, in 1995.

Seeboth is a member of New Ulm's Concord Singers and formerly served on the Heritagefest board of directors.

Berg was elected to the county board District 2 seat two years ago but he's running again after county district boundaries were recently re-drawn.

"We felt it was time to improve boundaries, so we re-drew some of them," said Berg. "I was the odd man out."

A 1968 Cathedral High School graduate who attended Mankato State University for two years, Berg is also a Vietnam War Veteran who came back home to farm in Sigel Township.

Berg served as a Sigel Township Board Supervisor for 10 years and served on the Associated MIlk Producers Inc. (AMPI) board before he was elected to the county board.

He sees the county budget, roads and family services as some of the most challenging issues.

"Road maintenance costs have gone up dramatically lately," Berg said. "We may be falling behind a little bit on our county roads. We have to maintain general road maintenance while gas tax funding remains about the same."

Berg said Brown County Family Services programs were able to reduce out-of-home placement costs from more than $1 million a couple years ago to a little more than $700,000 last year.

"We've always been concerned with placement costs," Berg added. "We've been fortunate enough to be able to avoid extreme costs in some of our programs."

Berg said he would have preferred a neutral county budget for 2013, but due to the loss of state aid and higher road maintenance and road construction costs, the preliminary budget calls for a 1.89 percent increase.

"We try to avoid budget increases, or keep them as low as we can," Berg added. "So far, it appears we are forced to tax a little more next year."

District 3 Commissioner Scott Windschitl was not available to comment. His story will appear in a later edition of The Journal.

Brown County sample ballots can be viewed at

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at



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