The County plays a key role in building and maintaining our County’s public works services, transportation networks, and our critical infrastructure. The County should be working closer with the state government to ensure we receive a larger share of transportation, bonding dollars, and other infrastructure grants. Developing a long-term capital investment plan, and prioritizing those projects is key to bringing more of our taxpayer dollars back here.
The County can be the biggest asset to our community in attracting businesses, supporting family-sustaining jobs, and growing our commercial property tax base (in order to keep residential property taxes low). The County should be working more to develop long-term development plans with requests for proposals for private companies to develop unique businesses here. This starts by benchmarking our progress as a County compared to other counties in Minnesota, and even nearby Wisconsin counties. By understanding how Dakota County’s incentive dollars are working compared to other counties, we can adjust as needed and make our County more attractive and more competitive. Additionally, the County Board should determine a priority of sectors and target specific companies within those sectors. When we think holistically, companies from across supply chains will gravitate to our communities. We’ve seen this approach work in Minnesota’s “Medical Alley.” I want Dakota County to be the next smart place for investors to come together and hire locally.
Our private sector grows when our County provides public sector amenities that attract workers, families, and businesses. Dakota County offers unmatched regional parks and trails. Thousands of acres and miles of parks and trails requires a lot of County funding to maintain. The County should be leveraging as much state funding as possible by coordinating with the Department of Natural Resources, the Association of Minnesota Counties, and the Metropolitan Council to guarantee that Dakota County receives its fair share of parks and trail money. Maintaining our County’s environment goes hand-in-hand with our County’s energy plan. To date, Dakota County has no long-term clean energy plan. Equipping public buildings with solar, energy storage, and updated energy efficiency technologies cuts energy costs and saves taxpayers money. Even our County’s largest employer, Flint Hills Resources, has invested in the nation’s largest on-site solar installation. This was an economic decision. Companies have realized they can cut costs by investing in sustainable energy consumption plans for the long-term. The County should follow suit.