Seeking a fourth term as commissioner, Randy Dallke, 63, Peabody, served four years on Peabody council, two as mayor, before being elected to commission in 2004. He also worked as a reserve Peabody police officer for 24 years.
The property tax lid to become effective next year motivated Dallke to run.
“Is it fair for some new commissioners to ge involved right now?” he said. “I thnk a little experience at this time will help us to grow and make decisions.”
Chief among Dallke’s priorities is stemming population loss by growing existing businesses and bringing in new ones.
“We’re losing population in all our towns,” he said. “Businesses grow towns.”
Emphasizing the quality of country life and the receptiveness of residents are reasons businesses should locate here.
“They’ll find no better people — good people, hard working people,” Dallke said. “I would hope they give us a chance to put our best foot forward.”
Another priority for Dallke would be to follow through on plans for more appropriate storage for a emergency mobile dispatch center, truck, and power trailer, as well as “tons and tons of paper” stored upstairs in the courthouse.
Dallke wants to have an objective evaluation of the road system to determine what roads are essential, so that repair efforts can be more focused.
Conversations Dallke had with people in Goessel changed his mind about the importance of fixing 190th Rd., he said. He’s sold on keeping the road open.
“If it’s a million to fix it and we don’t find that, I may make that motion to put it to a vote,” he said.
That $1 million mark also would guide Dallke in making decisions about what kinds of projects would warrant a vote to raise property taxes above the cost-of-living cap.
“We don’t know all the rules to the tax lid yet, but if there’s something in our county that’s more than a million up, I think you need to put it out there,” he said. “If the voters say no, we drop it.”
Hiring a qualified, experienced EMS director is a signal things are changing with EMS, Dallke said, and “thinking out of the box” to ensure adequate staffing and quality services will cost taxpayers more.
“It’s the commission’s duty to the state to have one ambulance available, not five,” he said. “Not that I want to raise taxes, but I’ve had more than a half dozen constituents say they’d rather have us raise taxes for ambulance service than for anything else.”
Dallke said he views county operations as a business, pointing to changes in zoning regulations that loosened land restrictions on building homes as an example of working with people “to make things happen.” The state hasn’t done the same with counties, he said, making the commission’s job more difficult.
A county administrator could be beneficial, but having seen counties unsuccessful ones in other counties, Dallke said such a person should have high qualifications and be knowledgeable of and involved with each department.
When the county gets additional revenue from increases in property valuation, employee pay raises could be considered, Dallke said.
“The first year I see that it does not raise, no more raises.”
Dallke and his wife of 45 years, Cindy, have had two children, one of whom is still living.