Stronger Together: Becker County is here to serve you
You can rely on us, especially in times that matter most.
As chairman of the Becker County Board of Commissioners, I’ve been offered a platform to discuss “the good your organization does, as well as your outlook for the future.”
Hi, I’m Ben Grimsley, and I’m serving in my third term as a Becker County Commissioner. I also own Anchor Financial Services LLC, a small Detroit Lakes business, and my profession is an investment and insurance broker.
My message to the residents and people connected to Becker County is that we are here to serve you, and you can rely on Becker County employees, specifically in these times that matter most. That is what you should expect from the professionally-run, local government organization you pay for.
We have leveraged technology and adapted new cleaning and distancing policies, broadened our interdepartmental communications and tightened our budgets, but the services you rely on have not changed. The courthouse has never been closed this year, and all of our employees continue to fulfill their obligation to their employer, the taxpayer.
Allow me to remind you, in a very brief summary, what local government does on a daily basis. We keep a record of documents like births, deaths, real estate, road and construction documents, etc.
We issue permits for construction and improvements, driving and towing. We meet the financial
obligations we’ve committed to and keep roadways free and clear and don’t miss a construction season.
Our sheriff, deputies, jailers and dispatchers protect the county and provide help in dire situations. The attorney’s office labors for equal justice. The disabled, elderly, dependent and financially disadvantaged obtain counsel and guidance on how to obtain help, access services and gain independence.
Nurses in our public health staff are busy working in the community, educating us on best practices and safety protocols. Veterans have dedicated professionals to provide them with help and support.
Transportation options are provided Monday through Saturday for recreation, a grocery
run or trip to the clinic. The county sorts, recycles and transfers your unwanted and used materials. We keep parks and trails open and add amenities to recreational spaces. The employees and elected officials react to legislation and create policies to implement new laws and requirements, and the county presides over elections of every office year by year.
Finally, all of these roles are supported by human resources employees and information technology employees, office support staff and clerical workers.
These services are delivered locally from an organization that will outlive us all.
Every day, the County strives to deliver services in the most up to date and efficient manner while requesting a fair and reasonable obligation from the taxpayer that offers good value.
In that light, we have benefitted from the recent economic growth because the extension rate we levy for a specific dollar amount of real property in the county has decreased 6 times out of the last 7 years. We also continue to boast a lower extension tax rate than all of our adjacent counties and are in the top 1/5th of all 87 counties in the state.
My expectation for the future is that the outlook will brighten because our geography supports a diverse economy and our community continues to produce small business owners, which are our economic backbone.
The county recently received $4.2 million dollars in federal Cares money from the state and, while Minnesota guidelines suggested we set aside $420,000 for grants, Becker County budgeted $1 million worth of funds to support local small businesses and nonprofits, and is committed to getting it out on the street.
I believe there are some businesses that will close or did not reopen their doors after the forced closure of our retail centers, salons, restaurants and bars. I do not believe the magnitude of restraint was warranted, particularly in greater Minnesota. County representatives worked hard to communicate our concerns with our legislators and the governor, and I am hopeful they considered our intimate knowledge of the communities we serve.
We’ve requested that the federal Cares money allocated to the county through the state could be retained longer than December 1 in case retail and food and beverage industries see an abnormal slowdown this winter. This would allow us to set aside some grant relief dollars for after the tourism season. Unfortunately, the normal legislative representative process
has been bypassed and such ideas do not have a good platform to be considered.
In summation, Becker County employees are here to serve you. We proudly kept our doors open and services uninterrupted throughout the many interferences we’ve faced this year. The last thing I want to suggest is that you please complete the census because it gives us better representation at all levels of government and can bring in roughly $28,000 per person over the next decade.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as a Becker County Commissioner. May God bless our country and guide us through this election season.