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The County Commissioner's Impact on Lancaster: A Closer Look

What is a County Commissioner? 

There is a saying that all politics is local, there is much truth to that. Local politics often affects your life in immediate and direct ways. One of the most influential local positions is that of county commissioner, which has a significant impact on the daily life of every citizen and the community as a whole. In Lancaster County, Nebraska, the county commissioner's role is particularly pivotal, given the county's significant population and economic position. As I have been out talking to people I am often asked “what does a county commissioner do?” I wanted to explain the multifaceted responsibilities and the importance of this role in keeping Lancaster County a great place to live today and shaping our county's future. 

Core Responsibilities of a Lancaster County Commissioner 

1. Financial Stewardship and Budget Management 

  • Finance: One of the most important duties of a county commissioner is to manage the county's finances. This requires a nuanced understanding of fiscal policy and strategic allocation of resources. This involves preparing and approving the annual budget, which determines how much money is allocated to various county departments and services. Commissioners also oversee the collection and distribution of taxes, fees, and grants, and ensure that the county operates within its means and follows sound fiscal practices. As a county commissioner I will work to have the county operate within its means and not be a burden to the taxpayer because of lack of planning and unwillingness to curb spending. 

2. Policy Formulation and Legislative Functions 

  • Legislative Authority: As part of the county's governing board, commissioners enact local laws and policies that affect the county's residents and businesses. Commissioners have the authority to pass ordinances and resolutions on a wide range of issues: zoning, land use, environmental protection, public health, emergency management, and human services. Commissioners hold public hearings to solicit feedback from the community and make informed decisions that reflect the public interest. The current board on multiple occasions has either prevented the public from speaking and voted to not extend public comment for even a few minutes to give everyone the opportunity to be heard.  

3. Infrastructure and Public Works Supervision 

  • Maintenance and Development: Commissioners oversee the county's infrastructure and public works. This includes budgeting for, maintaining and overseeing improvements to county's roads, bridges, buildings, and other facilities. Commissioners need to balance the immediate needs of maintenance with visionary long-term planning working hand in hand with the County Engineering. Commissioners need to work to incorporate community input to align projects with public expectations. Through this multifaceted approach, commissioners ensure that the county’s physical framework not only meets current demands but also paves the way for future growth.

4. Social Services Administration 

  • Health and Human Services: ensure that essential services such as healthcare, mental health, welfare, and emergency management are provided effectively and efficiently. They also support and oversee various programs that aim to improve the well-being of the community, especially for vulnerable populations such as children, seniors, and people with disabilities. In managing social services, we must strike a delicate balance between providing essential services and maintaining fiscal responsibility. This involves ensuring cost-effective healthcare delivery, including mental health and welfare programs, while prioritizing high-impact initiatives that offer long-term benefits. By carefully assessing these services, we can effectively address community needs embodying compassionate yet fiscally responsible governance. 

The role of a County Commissioner in Lancaster County is a dynamic and integral position. As a candidate for this position, I am committed to bringing a balanced approach to each of these areas, ensuring that our county not only thrives in the present but also forges a sustainable and prosperous future. By prioritizing fiscal responsibility, engaging with the community, maintaining and improving essential infrastructure, and delivering vital services, I aim to contribute positively to the lives of all residents. The position of County Commissioner is more than a title; it's a responsibility to serve and lead our community with integrity, vision, and dedication. Together, we can continue to make Lancaster County a place where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. 

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