Dissatisfaction with the state of the county is what led Brett Hajek, 35, Lost Springs, to run for commission.
“The nasty, disastrous mess that we call home has gotten worse,” he said. “If I want it to be here for the sustainability of a future for my children, someone needs to do something.”
Hajek and his wife, Michelle, have two young children. He operates Hajek Enterprises, a custom feed chopping and manure spreading business, with two brothers.
Hajek listened as he gathered signatures to file by petition for his first run at public office.
“There’s a lot of unease out in the community for the infrastructure of our transportation system,” he said. “We’re aggravated.”
Citing increased repair costs and problems his equipment has had getting places, Hajek tabbed roads as his top priority.
“Right now I think the road and bridge department is so far behind, the amount of money that would have to be put into the system after years of neglect would be unfathomable,” he said. “The community understands it can’t be done overnight, but they want to see actual progress.”
Grader operators shouldn’t be pulled from their sections except for something major, and should be used more efficiently, Hajek said. He would let the road and bridge superintendent direct department activities within budget and legal parameters set by commissioners.
If the cost of fixing the erosion along 190th Rd. is a “ridiculous number,” Hajek said he would talk with constituents to determine what steps to take.
Rather than hire a county administrator, which he called “counterproductive,” Hajek said he would like to expand the commission to five members.
“It’s way too easy for somebody who’s buddy-buddy with someone to get what they want and leave what the community wants on the back burner,” he said.
Pay raises for county employees should be determined by performance.
“The best way to take care of your employees is to make sure the ones that do their jobs are appreciated,” he said.
As a volunteer firefighter, Hajek said that increasing EMS on-call pay would help to retain and lure additional staff, and would be more cost-effective than hiring full-timers.
Good jobs are needed to bring people to the county, Hajek said. Businesses should come to Marion County because they want to be here, he said; however, the county should avoid recruiting businesses that would compete with existing ones.
“I don’t want to go bankrupting the businesses that have been the staples of these communities,” he said.
Hajek spoke favorably about the property tax lid and getting the approval of voters to go above it.
“Our tax burden is already horrible; why do we need to make it worse without consulting them?” he said.
Hajek said he has adequate time and flexibility to do the job.