Supervisors voice priorities as November election approaches
One of the most anticipated local races this November features three incumbent Union County supervisors all vying for two, four-year supervisor terms.
Those three candidates are Democrat Bob Brown, Republican Dennis Brown and Republican Lois Monday.
The reason for such an incumbent-laden race stems from an action passed in November 2010, which changes the number of supervisors in the board room from five to three starting Jan. 1, 2013. The action passed overwhelming as more than 70 percent of county citizens voted in favor of the change.
The third supervisor term will likely be filled by Ron Riley, who will be running unopposed on the ballot in November. Meanwhile, Bob Brown, Dennis Brown and Monday will all vie for two, four-year terms.
The Creston News Advertiser spoke with these three candidates Tuesday about several county issues some of which included the county's debt and how they plan to reduce it, their priorities if they're elected and why you should vote for them this November.
Bob Brown has been a county supervisor for almost 28 years. Brown is not retired, he still actively farms 2,000 acres in Union County with his son Matt. The Browns farm beans, corn, hay, oats and raise cattle.
Dennis Brown has been a county supervisor for the past two years. Brown has lived in Union County since 1974, and in Shannon City for the past 29 years. Dennis and his brother Doug purchased Charlie Brown Auto Salvage from their father in 1992 and have run the business together since then.
Lois Monday has been a county supervisors for the past two years. She has lived in Creston her entire live and owned her income tax business since 1970 and real estate business since 1993.
What have you and the board accomplished over the past two years?
Bob Brown: Over the past two years, the biggest accomplishments were getting everyone on the same page and moving forward with our health insurance. We've also had a good budget over the past two years, and conducted ourselves in a very professional manner with respect, kindness and humor.
Dennis Brown: In the past two years, this new board had helped change the entire courthouse. When we came on board there were a lot of frayed relationships. This new board has hopefully changed public opinion of our board, and hopefully they have more confidence in the board of supervisors than they did two years ago.
Lois Monday: We've had a tremendous amount of change over the past two years. We have stopped irresponsible spending, changed health-insurance providers, hired a new human resource person and paid our bonds down and will continue to pay bonds down.
We've had a tremendous year. We have had a great working board. There is no friction. No one person has done all this work alone. There is a working air not just in the board room, but in the entire courthouse right now.
Will moving from five to three supevisors benefit Union County?
Bob Brown: It will be a wait-and-see experience to see if this change benefits the county. We have an awful lot of boards to sit on and that's one of the main reasons I'm excited about being on this next board and getting re-elected because I feel like my leadership will be vital.
Personally though, I believe a five-man board is better because five heads are better than three.
Dennis Brown: I really think the change will be a benefit to the county. It will be more work for each supervisor, but not a whole lot more work. I think the thing that could hurt us in we have two less minds to bounce ideas off of. There have been many times the last person who spoke about an issue came up with a good idea and we acted on it. But, the public wanted this and voted for it overwhelmingly.
So, we will make it work.
Lois Monday: The benefit of this change will be saving more than $23,000 per person in salary each year, and will also save on the benefits that would have been expended for those two extra supervisors.
If it doesn't work, it doesn't work, but we're going to give it our best shot.
If elected, what will be your priorities in the next four years?
Bob Brown: I would say lowering our debt level is the No. 1 priority. Also, improving infrastructure by building better roads, bridges, utilities and facilities, and using of our tax dollars in the most efficient way possible are important to me.
Dennis Brown: I want to continue to be conservative and pay down our indebtedness. If we stay out of bonding, we will pay that down more quickly. We do have needs in secondary roads and you can only Band-aid roads so long, so I would never say I'm completely against bonding because it's one way we can barrow money.
But, reducing our indebtedness is very important right now because it's one of the main reasons we are one of the top taxed counties in Iowa.
Lois Monday: Get the bonding paid down, and getting the roads and bridges back in shape using the money we have. We have to take care of the people in Union County, that's what we're elected to do and that's what I think about every time I make a decision in that board room.
How does Union County reduce its current debt service estimated at about $10 million?
Bob Brown: Wise spending. I'm a taxpayer, too, and I feel if we continue to make wise decisions we will reduce that debt over time.
Dennis Brown: We will be paying bond payments for a long time, but if we stay on track in the board room and reduce our barrowing we will pay off our debt eventually.
Lois Monday: I will watch that budget. We are going to try not to barrow. You will have to really convince me why we have to bond. We got rid of the lawsuits and litigations. We wiped those slates cleaned. We are now taking care of every penny and if we do that the dollars will come.
Why should Union County citizens vote for you?
Bob Brown: I believe I've been good for the county. I bring a good work ethic, common sense, respect and little humor. My knowledge of conservation and road construction is valuable for county roads and repair projects. My years on the board have given me experience in handling many problems and situations. I think my knowledge of ongoing processes and challenges will be valuable as we move toward a three-member board of supervisors.
Dennis Brown: I've been a supervisor for two years, so I have a record. I urge voters to look at that record, take it into account and either vote for me or throw me out.
Lois Monday: I'm not going to do any dirt slinging (against my opponents), but if my record doesn't stand for itself over the past two years and I haven't been a betterment for the county, then don't for me.