10/21/2012 4:03:00 PM Jim Bier, Gil Sirek eye county commissioner's seat in District 5
By David Richards
Incumbent Jim Bier and challenger Gil Sirek are in the final weeks of the race for District 5 Olmsted County Commissioner.
The election is Nov. 6.
Bier, a farmer who lives between Byron and Douglas, has held the post since 2002 and is running for his fourth term.
He has lived in the area since 1979.
"The most pressing issue we face right now is maintaining services while trying to keep taxes at a reasonable level," he said.
Bier also said that if re-elected, he will work with the state legislature to repeal the mandate where the county pays 25 percent of housing and treatment costs for local sex offenders that are housed in the Moose Lake and St. Peter facilities.
For long term, Bier said, the focus should still be on keeping taxes down, while maintaining county roads and bridges and as well as public safety.
Sirek has lived in Byron for 25 years and is a retired carpenter and retired job superintendent for general contractor Alvin E. Benike.
"I want to be a watch dog if nothing else," Sirek said this past summer. "I watch every dollar I spend, and I don't spend money I don't have."
Sirek said that if elected, there are two immediate issues he and the other commissioners will face. One is the proposed levy increase that Sirek expects to be at least 2% and the other is the proposed addition to the Olmsted County Courthouse.
Sirek said he's prepared to deal with both, especially the latter item, as he worked in construction for 35 years.
"We have to deal with the folks who need the facility, and determine if it's a need or if it's a want," he said.