Wendy Kowalski, Sherburne County Board of Commissioners District 5

Wendy Kowalski
Age: 52
Family: Husband Rodney Kowalski, 19 years
Occupation: I am a licensed Master Barber and barbershop owner. I have practiced 32+ years.
Previous civic and community involvement: Zimmerman City Council Member nearly 8 years.
1. What prompted you to run for the Sherburne County Board of Commissioners?
I want to see things done right in this county. If you check your estimated tax statement from last fall you will see the unidentified 2012 tax proposal on line 10A. No meeting was required. It resulted in a second general levy upon all taxpayers’ property in the county. $1,948,000.00 was taken beyond the one general levy allowed by law.
2. What makes you qualified to be a member of the County Board?
I respect our laws. Lives have been lost for us to be free citizens. I want to help preserve government for its good and rightful cause. I have experience in city governing and have self-educated myself in Municipal Corporations, Real and Personal Property Law, Bonds, Enterprise Funds and other Local Governmental Activity to serve you.
3. What are the top issues facing Sherburne County?
a. Light Rail organization activity, looking to the legislature for answers.
b. Attempts of land acquisitions for trails?
c. Loss of Federal Contract for county jail?
d. Public Meetings and are the morning hours just hard for taxpayers to make?
e. Public Meetings and need for public televised taxpayer involvement?
4. What distinguishes you from your opponent and makes you a better choice for the position?
My drive for compliance with the laws to protect taxpayers’ rights equally. Due process for all taxes and enforcement must be provided. The people cannot effectively protect their rights or their money if they are not notified beforehand to prevent it. I expect all requirements to be met, like one annual general levy a year. My opponent did two.
5. What will your top goals as a Sherburne County Commissioner be?
a. Safeguarding the Taxpayers’ property rights,
b. Watch on unfair regulation and venture activities,
c. Move toward Citizen Taxpayer involvement and enlightenment and
d. Meeting governmental county requirements of our state.
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?
Not without authority. If the Minnesota Statutes Chapter 398A would have been fully performed accordingly and the consent of its citizens granted, it may then be important for all of its municipalities (including Sherburne) to participate in more than name only no matter where it may be extended.
7. What initiatives would you support to improve government for Sherburne County residents?
“Initiative is a form of direct legislation by the people consisting of two parts: petition and election. An initiative does not become effective until passed by voters and its availability does not remedy the denial of the right to referendum.” See Barons’ 4th Edition Dictionary of Legal Terms. I support finding this missing link.
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?
Core governmental functions. Public health, public safety, and public welfare.
9. What are the biggest threats facing Sherburne County? What can be done about them?
a. Property value loss and its negative effect on tax revenue
b. Careful use of resources, maintain responsibilities and focus on the core functions while we weather the storm, but also plan the future recovery now.
10. What decisions of the county board have liked. What decisions of the county board have you not liked?
a. The County Road 4 project, Zimmerman. Well done.
b. I disliked the county board decision to knowingly without right, power or consent of the Taxpayers taxed extra tax on line 10A of each taxable real property tax statement in the county, when only one general annual levy was authorized by Minnesota State law, after objection had been made.

Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce Questions

Should Sherburne County change how it funds its share of Northstar operations?

Yes. There appears to be some disconnect. Unless and until Minnesota Statutes Chapter 398A is properly made an organization within this state as in itself a political subdivision of the state (not the county by itself.) Nothing can really be said to be conceded without proper notices. Yet tax was imposed by the second general tax levy. So in 2012 there was collected in the additional amount of $1,948,000.00 involuntarily from all taxpayers in the county. I ask you, the Business owners, what share you think we would owe to an organization not established accordingly?

What steps would you consider to reduce the property tax burden to local businesses?

All steps reasonable and just according to state law where some of your rights are. Like reduction in local regulation and revenue raising mechanisms which can be saddled on the backs of businesses by fees and charges, in addition to your lawful taxes already paid, based on valuation of your property. Elimination of any unwarranted local licensure for privileges to compete in your trades or professions allowed by Minnesota state law. Less use of financial tax incentives to lure businesses because it makes the taxes unequal and it is really the regulation by money (fees) that kills bona fide business opportunities. Cleanup and create an environment of healthy and fair competition practices for business without interference of local legislation to help entice more business. Eliminate any activity used to generate residual income revenue from businesses from their prof its not related to real public health and safety in truth. Grow jobs in reliable companies that are not reliant on subsidized participation by taxes from other businesses and can succeed on their own merits. Help stabilize the values of the real property and businesses by all yearly taxes determined generally once a year and if the fees and charges are not included in the disclosure you could not possibly owe them. The ultimate goal is increase the tax base by prosperity.

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?

Changes necessary to the Health and Human Services Department regarding State of Minnesota mandates rests with the Minnesota Legislature. The current laws control all the counties as a whole. Any changes desired in spending would be statewide in its application to all Governmental benefits.