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Pulkrabek: Washington County Is In 'Stellar Financial Shape'

While some government entities might be in financial straits, Washington County upholds disciplined fiscal responsibility, says Washington County Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek.

You can’t read a newspaper or watch a news program now without seeing a story about the imminent financial collapse of a government entity.  Whether the City of Detroit, the State of California or the European Union, the fiscal forecasts are bleak.

Common threads emerge amongst government entities in dire financial straits:  A lack of political fortitude and long-term strategies to modernize health care, pension and retirement plans for employees.  An over-reaching bureaucracy that stymies business and private sector job growth with higher taxation and unnecessary regulation.  Lastly, the bonding – borrowing of money – for unnecessary and expensive public projects. 

Not on our watch.  I am honored and proud to represent Washington County.  Due to decisive, long-term actions by past and current county commissioners and a top-notch staff, Washington County is in stellar financial shape, and will continue to be for years to come.   

The county’s total expenditures dropped 4.6% from 2011 to 2012 ($181.7 million to $173.4 million).  Total expenditures for 2012 are less than they were in 2008.  Even though from 2008 to 2011 the county lost $11.6 million in general state aid, we still finished each year under budget due to careful management of resources. 

Washington County spends the lowest amount per capita administrative cost in the entire state for total human services costs (all programs combined).  Moreover, Washington County has the lowest per capita budget of the seven county metro area for 2012. In addition, Washington County has fewer full-time employees in 2012 (1,065) than it did in 2002 (1,093), despite a rapidly growing population. 

We have led by example in these challenging economic times.  The county board has not voted for a salary increase in four years. 

What does this mean for you?  Washington County has the second lowest property tax rate of all 87 counties.  Only Dakota County is slightly lower.  Meaning, if your home or business was located in any other county other than Dakota, you would pay more in property taxes (county portion).  Ramsey county residents pay about 80 percent more.  Yes, 80 percent more. 

Our efforts have been both recognized and praised.  Standard and Poor’s has given Washington County their highest bond rating of AAA.  Only 88 of 3,068 counties nationwide share this distinction.  The county’s bond rating is currently higher than that of our United States Federal Government.

Washington County has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for 14 consecutive years.  Furthermore, the county has also received the Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for 26 consecutive years. 

Washington County has made a strong commitment to all of our residents and business owners.  We stick to providing core and essential services.  We provide them well, while continuing to be good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars.  We exercise disciplined fiscal responsibility and accountability.  We spend your hard-earned dollars and cents as carefully as if they were our own. 

Peter Pan July 13, 2012 at 04:43 AM
Funny. We don't hear a word from you for months. No updates at board meetings. Nothing written, no interviews. Nothing. But now that you're facing an enormous up-hill battle for re-election, we hear a glowing self portrait of how financially astute you are? C'mon!
Jill July 13, 2012 at 04:15 PM
I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE with Peter Pan!! Having grown up in Washington County myself I know that it's always been conservative and fiscally responsible - you can take no credit for that. You cannot even be bothered to attend the workshops as all the other commissioners do. Perhaps some were missed due to your incarceration after your arrest and/or the many court appearances you had to attend for the Domestic Assault you committed but were lucky enough to only have to plead to Disorderly Conduct. Not someone I want representing Washington County - not even close.
ronda July 13, 2012 at 08:27 PM
I also agree, with both Peter and Jill Bill is making a play now, because he knows he is in trouble. He doesn't show up for workshops. Has been slated to speak at foster care apprecation events and doesn't show. That and the incident that happened last year with his girlfriend, brings up questions if he has a problem with alcohol and anger. Overall, he is unreliable.
Concern Citizen July 19, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I agree with Jill and Peter Pan. Commissioner Pulkrabek has missed alot of board meetings and never atttends any of the groups meeting he has been assigned. Never has updates because not attending anything why would he. Maybe we need to look for different representation.

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