Brent Roggow and Kent Weems are running for the District 2 county commission seat. Dist. 2 includes the east and north parts of Lincoln County.
Duane Deterding is currently the Dist. 2 commissioner. He is not running for re-election.
The winner will face Democrat Randy Stubbs of Maxwell in the November general election.
In anticipation of the May 15 primary election, we asked both Weems and Roggow for their backgrounds and comments on important issues.
Here is what they said:
BRENT ROGGOW, 55. 3745 E. General Dodge Rd. Insurance Agent
I’ve been on various boards within the community over the years and being a business owner I understand what it takes to run things on a budget.
I served a term on the Nebraskaland Days board form 2010-14 as president (2014) and treasurer (2013). That experience was very valuable in a number of ways.
To be successful with an event like that every year requires a total team effort at every level, from budgets to manpower, which also relates to how we need to approach running the county.
I have also served on a church board as well as Habitat for Humanity committees and the board of the North Platte Ambassadors.
I feel that I have a good pulse for the community and can use that as an asset at the county level.
I do not have an agenda by running for this position. I just want to be a servant leader and do what’s best for the citizens of Lincoln County.
I would like to see the county tax base expand, which will in turn help to keep taxes in check. We are a livestock friendly county and with the corn, water and transportation services we have here, we need to use that to our advantage.
Whether it is on the housing end or the business end, whether it is agricultural or industrial, we need to find a way to make Lincoln County attractive to those types of businesses.
Other counties are doing this and I feel that we need to find out what it will take to get us headed in that direction. I will do what I can on the county level to try to make this happen.
How to address property taxes
By being a good steward of the monies that are paid by our people in Lincoln County.
I plan on meeting with each department head and finding out what is actually needed in their specific department. My intention is not to micro-manage, but sit down with them and go through what is the most efficient way to run their department and understand how all the departments work together.
We need to be prepared to have to spend some money to keep things going, it’s true, but keep in mind if there are places that we can cut expenses, let’s cut them.
I commend the prior commissioners for doing their best to accomplish this goal. I just want to come in with a fresh set of eyes and possibly a couple different ideas if needed to help keep things under control.
I also feel that we need to find avenues to expand the tax base to help ease the tax burden. For example, with livestock/ag being such a vital role in our county, we need to find ways to bring in more business/industries that complement what we have to offer here, and in turn bring in more families that will help to spread the tax burden out.
For growth to happen in Lincoln County, I feel that we as a county, including the cities, towns and rural areas as a whole, have to work together to make this happen.
We need to all come together with a common goal of helping Lincoln County grow. It has to be a group effort to make it successful. That’s the only way. There will have to be give and take on all sides, but if we look at what is best for Lincoln County it will pay dividends in the long run.
We need to find out specifically what other counties are doing to accomplish this growth.
Brent’s wife is Shannon Roggow, the owner of Trends Hair Studio and Spa. The Roggows have three grown children and six grandchildren.
KENT WEEMS, 58. 15891 E. Weems Rd. Manager, Ag-Valley CoOp
Originally from Stapleton, I have lived in northern Lincoln County for 37 years on a farm and ranch operation, in which I am still active.
I’ve been a branch manager for Ag Valley Co-op for 23 years.
I was raised in retail agriculture and involved in a family grain, feed and fertilizer dealership until 1986. I have a series 7 securities license and worked as an investment broker/financial planner for approximately six years. I served as Weed Superintendent for Lincoln County for about 4 years before returning to retail agriculture.
I simultaneously operated our farm and ranch in rural Lincoln County during these years. I served on the local school board in the mid 80s.I was a Bank Board Director for approximately 4 years and I’m currently serving on the local Emergency Planning Committee.
I have a unique blend of both public and private sector experience. I believe that provides me with a fairly comprehensive understanding of the challenges we face, including limited financial resources, as well as acquiring and retaining quality employees.
I would like to see a more thorough training regimen in place for equipment operators in our road department. As in any business, some employees are simply better skilled at certain tasks while others are challenged to learn the process.
I understand the challenge to train and retain good staff. It has been my experience that the more skilled crew members can often serve as mentors/trainers to those who need help. It would be a priority to encourage such an approach.
The Sutherland bridge project and South River Road reconstruction are certainly on my A list of projects that need to be completed. Overall, a somewhat different approach to the choice of road aggregate for problem areas is in need of review, throughout the county.
It is not a major hot button issue, but it is still important to the overall improvement of road conditions and certainly important to anyone who lives in rural areas.
How to address property taxes
Property tax relief doesn’t appear to be on the horizon and the only way to combat the expense for property owners is to operate as efficiently as possible at all levels of government.
I support the idea of sales tax for interstate/online commerce to help offset property tax to some extent.
With the issue currently before the Supreme Court, it doesn’t sound promising that a South Dakota lawsuit will be upheld. In the interim, seeking out and maximizing efficiencies is even more important.
Interlocal agreements are a great asset when it comes to minimizing costs between governmental entities that should be pursued further.