Sections

Weather Forecast

Close
Advertisement
Christy Jo Fogarty and Mike Slavik are on the ballot to fill the Dakota County Commissioner seat vacated by a retiring Joe Harris.

Candidate questions 2012: Dakota County Commissioner

Email News Alerts
news Farmington, 55024
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

In the interest of helping Farmington voters make more informed decisions when they go to the polls Nov. 6, the Independent has reached out to the candidates to find out where they stand. We asked Dakota County Commissioner candidates Christy Jo Fogarty and Mike Slavik the same questions and we're providing their answers to you here.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Christy Jo Fogarty

City of residence Farmington

How long in the district 13 years

Immediate family Husband, Steve; daughter, Ashley; sons Jack and Thomas

Occupation Dental therapist

Financial issues are ongoing, and are likely to remain so in the foreseeable future. Is the county taking the right approach to setting its budget and levy each year?

I think with the high quality of life and the lowest taxes of any county in the state, there is a lot that Dakota County is doing right. However, within every organization there is room for improvement and a need to continually examine the county's requirements in a constantly changing world.

With the increase in technology we can always ask ourselves how we can utilize technology to increase efficiency and decrease costs. Using technology like LIDAR, a topographic mapping of the land in Dakota County, has saved time and money in creating necessary environmental and platting information as well as helping to define flood plains more accurately, saving residents money. Another simple but easy way technology has been utilized is going paperless, as we did in the city of Farmington. Even this small change has saved the city thousands of dollars in staff time and paper.

The number of senior citizens living in Dakota County is among the fastest growing in the area. What should be Dakota County's role, if any, in meeting possible needs of that age group?

Dakota County already has a great foundation to build on as our population continues to mature. While it is true that the number of people over 60 will likely triple in the next 15 to 20 years, the capabilities and health of our populations are vastly different than generations past, meaning costs will not increase at the same rate. However, new innovative ideas need to be incorporated to ensure financial stability of the county while giving support to those seniors that are in need.

Creating and working with existing programs, like the CDA, to utilize the talents and high education level we have in our community to help each other are some of the programs I would look to expand and create.

Transportation -- how people get around the country and through it -- is a challenge. As the roads continue to get more congested, how should Dakota County address the need? Are we doing it right already?

One of the basic functions of government is to ensure a good transportation system, as it affects every aspect of our lives. For the residents of District 1 this primarily means roads and bridges. Good transportation systems start with good planning and working with townships and cities to determine what and where improvements need to occur. I have worked on many projects where we have worked with the townships, the city, the county and the state. Coordination is often needed to make a project successful and improve transportation in the county.

There also is the issue of public transportation in Dakota County. Here is where I have done my homework. When examining studies on public transportation, Rapid Bus Transit has been shown to be an effective means of transportation and can have an impact on congestion in addition to providing transportation to those who cannot or do not drive. Buses, in general, offer flexibility and can accommodate the changes that inevitably come to every community. On the other hand, light rail and heavy rail for commuters have been shown to do little to decrease congestion, nor do they spur long lasting economic development, so I do not support these expensive and non-flexible types of transit for Dakota County.

Mike Slavik

City of residence Hastings

How long in the district 30 years

Immediate family Wife, Maria

Occupation Realtor, co-owner and president of Hometown Laundry LLC

Financial issues are ongoing, and are likely to remain so in the foreseeable future. Is the county taking the right approach to setting its budget and levy each year?

Yes, Dakota County has a history of being a well-run county, and that is a tradition that must continue as we face these ongoing challenges. I believe the right approach is a balance of good management and budgeting while also seeking out innovative ways to do county business and provide services. I have a strong record of being a good steward of taxpayer dollars and asking the important questions when tax dollars are being spent.

The number of senior citizens living in Dakota County is among the fastest growing in the area. What should be Dakota County's role, if any, in meeting possible needs of that age group?

As someone with 15 years experience working in senior care, I know firsthand how necessary it will be to seek innovative, flexible, and more effective ways of providing services as the population ages. There are ways the county can utilize technology wisely to streamline service delivery and remove unnecessary administrative complexity. Additionally, the work of the Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) has made providing income based senior housing like Mississippi Terrace and Rivertown Court in Hastings and Vermillion River Crossing in Farmington a priority. With a growing senior population, these efforts must continue.

Transportation - how people get around the county and through it - is a challenge. As the roads continue to get more congested, how should Dakota County address the need? Are we doing it right already?

District 1 has a diverse set of transportation needs that are unique compared to other districts in the county. In order to provide the accessibility necessary for good economic development for all areas of the district (townships, small towns, and growing cities), a balanced approach to transportation is necessary. In decisions regarding transportation, whether it be rural county roads or mass transit, the County must engage in careful planning to make sound, forward-thinking decisions about transportation infrastructure to keep Dakota County competitive both regionally and globally. Given the financial realities, Dakota County has done a good job developing a transportation plan that focuses on getting residents to and from work, businesses and fields safely and efficiently.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
randomness