Bruce M. Anderson, Sherburne County Board of Commissioners District 1
Bruce M. Anderson
Family: Lifelong resident of Sherburne County. Married to Kathryn 26 years.
Occupation: 36 years of law enforcement. Retired Sherburne County Sheriff (14 years), Consultant to Sherburne County (2 years).
Previous civic and community involvement:
My civic involvements throughout Sherburne County are numerous. Some acknowledgements are House of Representative Service Award, MN Governor’s Office Certificate of Recognition, Elk River Police Department Notorious Meritorious Service Award, Elk River Hall of Fame, Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship Award, Townships of Sherburne County Appreciation for Service, US Immigration and US Customs Support Award, Special Olympics Torch Run Appreciation, Elk River Boys and Girls Club Excellence Award, Veterans of Foreign Wars Certificate of Appreciation, Mothers Against Drunk Driving Award, US Department of ICE and US Department of Justice/US Marshals Awards, MN Attorney General’s Office Certificate of Recognition, President Bush Volunteer Service Award, 35W Bridge Collapse Service Award, Optimist International Distinguished and Dedicated Service, Elk River High School Mentoring.
1.What prompted you to run for the Sherburne County Board of Commissioners?
I was approached by many Elk River citizens and businesses who had issues with current representation. As a life-long resident of Sherburne County and former Sheriff, I have the local, Statewide, and Federal connections to facilitate commercial and industrial economic growth in a sluggish economy. My record proves this and Sherburne County residents continue to benefit.
2. What makes you qualified to be a member of the County Board?
I know the people of this county and they trust me. I have personally worked hard as your Sheriff to PROTECT the citizens and ENHANCE county services during my tenure. Our vision and direction, practical solutions, and thinking “outside the box,” provided services, plus a surplus of revenue for future use. I have a proven record of being an effective and strong leader.
3. What are the top issues facing Sherburne County?
Foremost, the lack of long-term strategic planning to help ensure economic stability now and capitalize on future commercial/industrial growth. We need to reach out to citizens and distinguish “wants” from “needs” and prioritize our services. Our children are our future; we need to ensure a safe and stable community for them to grow up to be active and involved citizens.
4. What distinguishes you from your opponent and makes you a better choice for the position?
A hard worker with determination and VISION, I not only talk about economy and development, I have actually done the job successfully. A Federal contract with the Sherburne County Jail has brought in $120 million to date, besides creating jobs at no tax payer expense. I was instrumental in bringing the Target Data Center, YMCA, and a health care facility to Elk River.
5. What will your top goals as a Sherburne County Commissioner be?
Balanced Budget – The county board has to find ways not to utilize their reserves and jail enterprise to balance their budget to hold the levy at zero.
Keep Levy Flat – Find ways to keep the levy flat without exhausting our reserves so we have money for job creation, transportation, and economic development.
6. Is it important for the county to continue supporting Northstar Commuter Rail as a transportation option for residents’ business and recreational use? Do you support the extension of the Northstar Commuter Rail Line to St. Cloud?
Regardless of whether we agree with NorthStar, it’s here now and Sherburne County and other counties are legally obligated to financially support it. As Commissioner, I will try to find ways to make it more than just a commuter rail; we need to capitalize on this resource. Once that is accomplished, look into expansion to St. Cloud. That is the public’s choice — not mine.
7. What initiatives would you support to improve government for Sherburne County residents?
As part of my strategic plan, I would have county residents sit on a panel to look at all county services and help make recommendations as to what is essential and should be funded. We will look for ways to lower expenses by sharing resources, eliminating waste, and duplication of services. We will decide as a community how and where to spend our tax dollars.
8. If the board continues to keep the county levy from growing through the coming years, where should commissioners place priorities when costs are certain to grow?
Identifying essential services that the community decides we should fund; Police, Fire, Public Works are obvious. However, I would again say that I would have a panel of citizens who would review all county services that are not State mandated. We would decide which to keep and which to stop subsidizing as we can no longer sustain everything and keep the levy at zero.
9. What are the biggest threats facing Sherburne County? What can be done about them?
Home foreclosures and lack of economic development are the biggest threats. Finding ways to work together and ensure solvency for the next generation, we can strengthen and broaden our tax base through increased business and economic development. I will provide the leadership necessary to initiate the growth we need. I have created jobs before and I will do it again.
10. What decisions of the county board have liked. What decisions of the county board have you not liked?
I like that the county has held the levy at zero; I dislike the way they went about it. This was done without considering all the services that Sherburne County provides which are not State mandated. They did not look at which programs could be eliminated to lower the budget without using reserve dollars.
Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce Questions
Should Sherburne County change how it funds its share of Northstar operations?
When Sherburne County decided to participate in NorthStar, it was established many years ago how we would contribute our share. As much as everyone would like to see the funding formula change, until we have more business growth and tax base, we do not have the ability to change. I support the use of sales tax revenue over property tax.
What steps would you consider to reduce the property tax burden to local businesses?
We need to find ways to grow our economy and broaden our tax base through increased business and economic development to bring the tax rate down for everyone. I will provide the leadership necessary to initiate the growth we need. As Commissioner, I will also have a strong voice at the State level and lobby for our tax dollars to return to our community. We need to reduce or eliminate the over-burdensome and costly regulations currently placed on local businesses.
Does the County need greater flexibility and control over how it spends its own budget and if yes, how would you work to affect that type of change?
I would have a panel of citizens who would review all county services that are not State mandated. We would decide which to keep and which to stop subsidizing as we can no longer sustain everything and keep the levy at zero. We would review the State mandated programs and determine which ones actually apply to our community and lobby to have those that do not apply to us removed. I believe that our citizens should decide which programs we need, not State government. As your Sheriff, I did change mandates. This resulted in huge savings to tax payers.