Filing statement by Ben Montzka
I look forward to serving another term as county commissioner from Stacy and Wyoming. I was elected in 1998, ran unopposed in 2002, re-elected in 2006, and ran unopposed in 2010 – making me the senior member on the board.
I plan to continue as the experienced voice for our district. I grew up in Wyoming Township and practice law in Wyoming. My wife, Emily, and our three children have a hobby farm on the south edge of Stacy. We are active in our church, where I am the choir director, as well as volunteering for music in several area churches. Besides my law degree, I hold bachelor’s degrees in music education and piano performance and was a music teacher at the Music Connection in Forest Lake. While in office I completed a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
TAXES, SPENDING AND FISCAL MANAGEMENT: In 2009, while I was chair, the county board passed a zero percent tax increase for 2010. That is the first time in anyone’s remembrance that the county tax levy did not increase. Since then, the board has been stalwart in not raising the county tax levy. By working together with the board and departments heads, we have been able to accomplish this without any appreciable decrease in county services to residents.
As an indication of the fiscal responsibility that Chisago County has accomplished during these tough years, we have been assigned an Aa2 bond rating by Moody’s Investors Service, a national company that analyzes the credit standing of government entities. That is the highest credit rating that a county of our size can attain. The Moody’s report on Chisago County stated, in part: “Strong financial operations characterized by healthy reserves. We believe that the county’s financial operations will likely remain strong based on a history of prudent budgeting and maintenance of healthy reserve levels.”
TRANSPORTATION: My tenure has seen improvements completed on County 22 and 23, the Viking/I-35 interchange, County 30 and Highway 61, County 84, Kettle River Boulevard and County 23/Highway 8 intersection. I represent our area on the Rush Line Task Force and the Area Transportation Partnership, where I lobbied for and received approval for millions of dollars to complete various local road projects.
LIBRARIES: I have been applauded for my leadership that advanced better libraries for our county, including the Miles Giese Memorial Library in Wyoming. Now, a number of years later, these libraries are seeing greater use than ever before and have become hubs for education and culture in our community.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT: I support commercial and industrial development that provides measurable benefits for our community. I will continue to push for environmental protections as our county explores additional commercial growth.
I can be contacted at 651-462-4200 or [email protected] My website is www.benmontzka.com.