Commissioners face off at town hall debates |

Commissioners face off at town hall debates

Kurt HildebrandA monitor shows all four commission candidates as Monday night's Town Hall debates wrap up in Minden.

About 100 residents watched as candidates for Douglas County commission districts 3 and 5 faced off on Monday night in Minden’s CVIC Hall.

The Town Hall Debate sponsored by the Business Council of Douglas County, the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and The Record-Courier celebrated its 10th anniversary by asking questions of commissioners Doug Johnson and Mike Olson, and their adversaries Frank Godecke and Barry Penzel.

“I think the most important issue facing the county is infrastructure, including sewer, water and roads,” Penzel said. “In order to eliminate stagnation and encourage growth you have to build infrastructure.”

He said that work would be paid for by examining what the county’s spending money it collects in taxes.

Olson said the only way to improve the county’s infrastructure and its budgets is to improve the county’s economy.

“We haven’t received the money we need to do our jobs,” he said. “We lost 7,000 construction jobs when the recession hit.”

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Johnson said he felt there was no single most important issue, but there was a common denominator and that was the budget.

“We have a structural deficit of $3 million going in,” he said. “We’re a service industry and there really is only 20 percent of the budget to play off of.”

Johnson said the Legislature is filling with new members next session and there are bills such as Assembly Bill 71 that revise how the state collects taxes.

“We have to have more than a strong defense, we also need a strong offense,” he said.

Godecke said investing in good roads and water systems will bring business.

“There’s no way you’re going to get business to come here if they can’t rely on the roads,” he said.

Godecke said he wouldn’t sign an anti-tax pledge because no one has signed a no unfunded mandate pledge.

“We’re at the bottom rung of the ladder here,” he said.

The Town Hall debate was videotaped by Douglas County cable access’s Lloyd Higuera and will be aired in the near future.

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