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A great year to live in Winona County (01/12/2014)
From: County Commissioner

Steve Jacob

2013 has been a great year to live in Winona County!

Citizens of our county continue to face many challenges during this tough economy; however, the attitude and resilience of our citizens is to be commended! It seems every time our community faces a new challenge, the citizens draw together and use the challenge as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share some of the work done at the county level over the past year. As a community, we worked through many public hearings and meetings to update and amend our countywide zoning ordinance. Through the process of public input, we successfully “grandfathered” the rights of existing farmsteads and homesteads in our county. This accomplishment will significantly reduce the cost and time needed to obtain permits to expand existing farms and homes, bringing much needed relief from regulatory red tape while stimulating our economy and retaining our environmental protections.

Another accomplishment we have achieved at the county level is to once again hold the line on taxes.

For 2014, the county has adopted a .2 percent decrease on the tax levy, making Winona county one of lowest taxed counties in the state on a per capita basis.

A couple of other items the county worked on in the past year was to resolve the overcharges for the recycling service in the city of St. Charles by issuing refund checks to citizens that had been paying for services twice. The county board also regained authority in the hiring of high-level county positions, thereby returning power back to the citizens through the democratic process of hiring and firing at the voting booth.

Looking forward to 2014, there are many opportunities to get involved and move your government in the direction you want it to go. Please plan on attending one of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan meetings coming to your area. This is your opportunity to shape regulations on issues such as silica sand mining, conditional use permits, and rural land uses in general.

I want to give a heartfelt thank- you to all of the Winona county employees and the citizens of our county for working together to make this such a great county to live and work in! If you are struggling with an issue that the county can be of assistance with, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

I may be reached at sjacob@co.winona.mn.us or by phone at 507-534-2554.



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