John Riebel Sr.*
Family: Daughter, Kim Hudson
Son, John Riebel Jr.
Occupation: Hardware store owner.
Previous civic and community involvement: Becker Township Board, County Planning & Zoning Board, County Fair Board, County Historical Society Volunteer, Becker American Legion Post Officer, 6th District, past Sherburne County Board Chair, American Legion various offices, past Chair of Tri County Solid Waste Board, help start Becker Freedom Days Celebration, part time Santa.
1.What prompted you to run for the Sherburne County Board of Commissioners?
It is the same reason I serve on many other boards and that is a commitment I have made to try and insure the quality of life in our county does not become a casualty of our past fast growth or the current slow growth, also to work harder with state legislatures & state senators to see if some of the state mandates can be revised or eliminated.
2. What makes you qualified to be a member of the County Board?
My ability to work with the other 4 members of the county board as I have for the past 6 years. With the department heads we seem to work together, to come up with solutions that are beneficial to almost everyone.
3. What are the top issues facing Sherburne County?
The #1 would be economic development, #2 would be coming up with a balanced budget, as we have for the past 3 years. #3 would be trying to better explain to residents what specific services really cost and why they are provided from mandates (state or federal).
4. What distinguishes you from your opponent and makes you a better choice for the position?
My experience as a County Commissioner for the past 6 years representing the residents of District 3. Through my business as a True Value Hardware Store owner, it has kept me in constant touch with the tax payers and am always willing to listen to their concerns and bring them to a positive conclusion. I am constantly keeping that in mind.
5. What will your top goals as a Sherburne County Commissioner be?
Revise the county transportation plan, continue working on economic development for the county as well as city and township levels, continue to move Sherburne County Government more into the digital age.
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?
At this time we need to look what we can do to get ridership up before we do anything. There needs to be better involvement with partners to get chambers of commerce and other groups to help bring in private businesses willing to work with the commuter rail group.
7. What initiatives would you support to improve government for Sherburne County residents?
Somehow make it so residents can contact he government center after 4:30 p.m. and still get some information they need. Technology!
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?
Transportation, energy saving building improvements and safety.
9. What are the biggest threats facing Sherburne County? What can be done about them?
Bad changes to the property tax laws by the Department of Revenue or state legislature. Lobby both for relief.
10. What decisions of the county board have liked. What decisions of the county board have you not liked?
A new public works building in Becker. It has not only saved the county money but it has improved employee morale & safety. The same can be said of the Zimmerman building. It was a good use of the Enterprise fund.
Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce Questions
Should Sherburne County change how it funds its share of Northstar operations?
The State legislature did not give our county the power to use part of a sales tax to share the cost of Northstar operations. As they did for our neighboring counties such as Anoka. This would have lowered the property tax burden and gotten sale tax monies from residents of other counties. Instead we received no help from our representatives at the capital.
What steps would you consider to reduce the property tax burden to local businesses?
Try to get help from our representatives at the capital to decrease the number of mandates or change property taxes so we can attract more business to the county. Find a better balance between, AG land, businesses, residential & wastelands.
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?
Yes. We have already combined two departments. Work with the department head this supervisors who work dailey with all the paperwork & rules. A good example was at our last county board meeting when the department head Ken Ebel suggested we look at more women’s safe shelter.