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Morrison County Board District 1: Chuck Forss

Name: Sharon Ballou

Age: 61

Residence: Randall

Current employment: “Currently I sit on Region Five Development Board and the Little Falls District School Board (currently vice chair, previously two years clerk),

Public office experience: Camp Ripley Citizen Advisory Board, Mid State Education District Board, Little Falls Community Services Advisory Board, treasurer of the Randall VFW Auxiliary 9073; over 40 years of involvement with community groups including past board member of Morrison County Agricultural/County Fair Board and the Initiative Foundation, Blandin County Leadership Alumni, and Regional Director for Camp Fire USA.

What are your county’s biggest challenges and what will you do to meet those challenges?

We can not strengthen the county until we strengthen each community within. Employment is needed with a living wage, whether it is manufacturing, agri-business or retail. We need to encourage all business owners, to venture into the strengthening of our local economy, encouraging and then assisting new business to relocate here to connect with our communities, strengthen home ownership and create a stronger tax base in Morrison County. It is also important, to maintain support after a business is established. It’s sad to see family owned and operated business places closing because they have not been appreciated and valued in some communities, while new ventures are given extra incentives to start up.

How would you balance conflicts between encouraging businesses and preserving the county’s natural resources?

Morrison County has over 1,125 square miles to be proud of. Conflicts are a part of life, compromise does not mean someone will lose. Rather that both sides are more aware of the needs that the other requires to move forward. As a Commissioner, I need to be extra vigilant to fully involve the citizens in the development of growth related policies. These are the policies which affect the very fabric of a county. All of the commissioners must work together with how to pay for adequate infrastructure to meet increased demand, and how to preserve natural resources and quality of life.

Are there any specific programs you would cut or eliminate?

Until I am privy to the full disclosure of each department I will not recommend any elimination. I am confident that financial savings will follow a review/revision of many current programs. To often a program is developed because of a need or a state mandate. Then reviewing and updating of the program is not kept up. The need may have changed or been eliminated, but the program remains and funds are not being used to the best advantage for the county.

Name: Chuck Forss

Age: 61

Residence: Little Falls

Current employment: Morrison County

Public office experience: I have not been elected to any public office but acted in the following roles dealing with county and city issues: Co-chairman Morrison County Healthy Community Partnership, Morrison County land use planner, Morrison County local water manager, chairman Little Falls Planning Commission, project manager Morrison County Land Record Modernization, lead Morrison County Land Use Plan Re-Write, Lead Morrison County Comprehensive Trails Plan, Lead Morrison County Lake Improvement Districts.

What are your county’s biggest challenges and what will you do to meet those challenges?

My experience in government and my desire to act as a public servant will provide citizens of the district and the county a leader they can count on. We need to maintain the excellent roads and infrastructure in the county, provide needed services to the residents and continue to maintain well-balanced budgets in a very difficult economic time. I look forward to working with the residents and the state to bring about fair, accurate and equitable property values.

How would you balance conflicts between encouraging businesses and preserving the county’s natural resources?

Maintaining a close partnership with the Morrison County Soil and Water Conservation District and their management of the Wetland Conservation Act for the county has and will continue to provide the expertise and leadership to preserve the environment and provide much needed growth in the county’s Ag Industry. Job growth in Morrison County clearly lies with Camp Ripley, its environmental balance with the Army Compatible Use Program (ACUB) and the many opportunities in agriculture and its related industries. Morrison County should strive to promote and support growth in both these areas. Local communities need the support of the county and the state to leverage funds for sustainable economic growth and living wage jobs.

Are there any specific programs you would cut or eliminate?

Morrison County is fortunate to have department heads that clearly understand the direction provided by the county board at budget time. Many programs are proposed and cut during the county’s budget preparation cycle meeting the goals set by the county board. A review of older and less effective programs would be the first to go if it came to cuts, but traditionally the department heads understand and know the difference between need and want programs and budget dollars. Consolidation of responsibilities among departments for cost savings would be a good start.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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