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Op-ed: Watts discusses county government

This news story was published on May 30, 2013.
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Chris Watts of Mason City

Chris Watts of Mason City

by Chris Watts of Mason City –

Good Day to you all.

I’ve contemplated writing this for some time now. Some will say I’m writing this because I’m the sore loser. You are entitled to your thoughts. To others, maybe they’ll better understand me. Either way-here goes.

For those that don’t recall, I ran unsuccessfully against Phil Dougherty for District 3 County Supervisor in Cerro Gordo. I ran as a Republican and Phil as a Democrat.

Now I ask you, what does it matter in County business whether you’re Democrat, Republican, or an Independant voter?

In particular, I think the Auditor and Sheriff do an exceptional job. Does it matter what party they belong to?

Just like City politics, does it matter what party the Mayor or Council people belong to?

Something to think about. All in all, I’m for what’s best for the people.

Anyway, it was one long summer with my wife & I walking every night and weekend. The commitment was there. We met so many great people and shared many stories together.

Either way, we never look at it as a loss. We gained so much in just the visiting with you and the different areas of the county. Thanks for sharing with us.
If you ever ran, you’d know what I’m referring to. A real eye opener!! Good exercise that’s for sure.

I’m still concerned about the direction Cerro Gordo is headed compared to other areas around the state. With our proximity to the interstate and other roadways as well as our location between Des Moines and The Cities, I find it sad that we have lost so much for industry and the good paying jobs that go with. Granted, some will say they went to Mexico–and some did, but you look at other areas around that are thriving and ask yourselves, “why not here?”

I travel the roadways DAILY with my job, and ours need great attention. I proposed pursuing WIND ENERGY and the TIF-tax increment financing, that comes with a properly planned Wind Farm. This is how neighboring counties took the burden off the local taxpayer and are putting in new roads and bridges by utilizing funding and technology from the Wind Farms.

Why not us? It has been 14 years since we put the wind farm in south of Ventura. Nothing since. To the residents that live within the city limits in the county, most don’t care or think about this. However, our country roads are in rougher shape than some. There are bridges that should be replaced. Costly right? Not utilizing the plan other forward-thinking counties around us are using. We need GOOD INFRASTUCTURE in the whole county and cities to help attract good industry, jobs, and living conditions.

Sadly, many we spoke with aren’t aware of what or who the County Supervisors are. Many said they watched on TV on Tuesday’s–confusing with the City Council. This is because the Supervisors have been under the radar for to many years. Generally, there are very few from the public that show up. The media plays their existence down. This itself is very sad. The public relies on the media to report and report fairly.

A few examples would be Vision Iowa and Diamond Jo Casino. The county participated in these two ventures. How much did you read about the Supervisor’s stance on the issues? Pretty much all about what the City Council was or wasn’t doing. Poorly reported on.
I’ve approached the different medias in the area about doing a better job in the future. I’d encourage each and every one of you to ask questions.

Anyway, back to our roads & bridges. The headline in the Globe-Gazette on May 9th was “MidAmerican adding 656 more wind turbines”. This project has Governor Branstad’s blessing because it represents the largest economic development in state history.

According to the article written, in addition to economic development, it’ll provide over $360 million in extra property tax revenues over the next 3 decades. Land owners will benefit $3.2 million PER YEAR as a result. This project alone is estimated to create 460 construction jobs over two years with 48 permanent positions.

Mitchell County has put in over 30 miles of new roads, Worth County has approximately 50 more miles of new roads, and Winnebago County will have spent around 28 million over the past three years on new roads and bridges. Franklin County is massing a large Wind Farm project currently. Granted, you just can’t place these Windmills anywhere one wants, but I believe it’s past time we here in Cerro Gordo entered the “Green Energy” age and start utilizing the benefits wind has to advance our position in improving our infrastructure and bringing good paying jobs to Cerro Gordo County.


Chris Watts

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12 Responses to Op-ed: Watts discusses county government

  1. carnie's loaded gun Reply Report comment

    May 30, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    I just wish the 3 to 5 idea would have passed. We need 5 supervsiors like we need a hole in the head.

    • Retired NIACC Reply Report comment

      May 30, 2013 at 11:33 pm

      If you’re so against having 5 supervisors, then why do you wish it would have passed? Wasn’t this proposed increase in supervisors what Watts was pushing, and Blodgett opposed?

  2. Comment King Reply Report comment

    May 30, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    If Watts thinks the Sheriff does a great job I’d say horse pucky! Here’s a perfect example, if you and your doctor determine that cannabis may be of benefit, too bad, because Pals has a high school degree and that degree trumps your doctors medical degree.

    Pals doesn’t think you need cannabis even without diagnosing you. He knows more than your doctor. He certainly believes he does and all his self serving public statements says so. What we don’t need are philandering Sheriffs playing doctor with high school diplomas.

    • B. Fife Reply Report comment

      May 30, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      Pals hates weed because it is illegal drug and impairs the mind. It’s his job to hate illegal drugs.

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      May 30, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      @Comment King-what is wrong with you? Pals is the Sheriff and as such it is his job to enforce the laws. He doesn’t make them, he just enforces them, get it. If you don’t like the laws then change them but don’t blame law enforcement for doing their job. You damn dopers are all alike.

  3. MCHS '68 Reply Report comment

    May 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I never liked Gary Blodgett till I read this thing by Mr. Watts. Now I am glad old doc helped Dougherty beat him.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    I have windmills on farm property in Franklin County. I can tell you Chris, if I am approached for wind farm development on my farmland in Cerro Gordo county, the answer will be no.
    If you want to know if wind energy will ever be a legitimate energy source, take away all the government subsidies and tax breaks. I think you will see many companies disappear, similar to Solyndra.

  5. LVS Reply Report comment

    May 30, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Chris-I agree with you that we need infastructure improvements. It is something you must plan for each and every year and keep up with and our current county administration has not done their jobs for years. However, I disagree with your comments about wind energy being the savior of our county. Yes, it brings in a lot of short term jobs (most of those workers are from out of state) however, they do spend money in the resturants and motels and bars. $8 permanent jobs are nothing when you consider the amount of money being spent and I doubt it would happen anyway because they already have staff in the area. The rap on wind is taxes WILL go up and electricity will go up. That is evidently a fact. Wind is a very unreliable, expensive way to produce electricity. On top of that you have the damage they do to the enviroment.

  6. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 30, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Chris – hate to be the bearer of negitive news – but as a homeowner in worth county – since the casino opened and the wind farms came in — my property taxes have gone up 40% and that is without any major improvements – also my electric bill has increased 18% – so get off the TIF BS . That just costs private citizens and rewards the rich.

  7. I HATE WINDFARMS Reply Report comment

    May 30, 2013 at 7:23 am

    I for sure wouldn’t have voted for you with that platform. They ruin the landscape and the basically once again the main ones who benefit are the landowners.

  8. Hacker Reply Report comment

    May 30, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Good observations. We need to be more visionary . way too many people are stuck in the old manufacturing complex mode. we need to constantly adjust our sights. look at new opportunities, try new ideas, encourage more local entrepreneurial efforts.
    Let’s find solutions instead of finding who to blame. Quit whining and post constructive suggestions like Chris has done.
    Each of us can do something to make our town better but it won’t happen sitting on your ass or bashing people or having that coffee shop bull shit session.