Fewer counties in state not a plan of simplicity
I'm writing in response to the Aug. 27 letter from Concerned Minnesotans for Simplicity. I would like to ask a few questions.
How would moving from 87 counties to 11 really save money?
How would reworking county seats be paid for?
How would some of these "New" county seats be able to handle such influx?
Let's be honest here, this group apparently does not know much about northern Minnesota if they honestly believe that Big Falls, a town of just over 200 people, would be able to act as a county seat for more than 200,000 people. The logistics of such a move would far out-cost any potential savings. Big Falls, for instance, sits on Highway 71 and has one main street into town. A town which last I checked only had one gas station, a restaurant, liquor store, bar and a hardware store. New buildings and roads would need to be built.
Furthermore data is very important to government services, there is no real high-speed Internet access, no paging towers, and only one cell tower. The needed upgrades to just the IT infrastructure would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
Certainly private companies would not be willing to spend that to move into a town of less than 1,000 people. So where would that money come from? It would have to come from somewhere. Ah, right, tax dollars! Then you have to think of the cost of the new roads, the cost of either relocating or terminating county workers.
Next what about judges? If we reduce the number of judges, wouldn't that mean the courts would be backed up? How about prisoners at the jail on work release? Would they have to drive over an hour for work and how would you keep track of them with less officers?
What about emergency response? If I live outside of a town, but two hours away from the county seat, how long would I have to wait for response? It seems to me that the two guys from the metro and the guy from Florida didn't think this though very well, and don't know much about the part of the state I am from.
From what I have heard Tom Emmer doesn't either. I think I will be voting for Dayton. I know he doesn't have all the answers, but he has better ones than these guys.