As the 2014 chairperson for the Houston County Board, I want the citizens of Houston County to know that I will continue to do my best to serve and protect the health, welfare and safety of all residents of Houston County. After serving in township grassroots government for 20 years and with over three years of county government experience, I understand the importance of doing the proper research, as well as listening to and taking into consideration the concerns and comments of the citizens before making decisions.

Houston County currently has a moratorium on industrial mining in effect until March 2015. This gives us one year to establish a solid ordinance to regulate silica sand mining while not affecting our construction sand, gravel and dairy sand businesses. If we do not implement a new ordinance by that time, our existing construction sand ordinance will govern. While that is a good ordinance, it was adopted prior to silica sand becoming an issue and it does not address things such as regulations for air quality, truck traffic effects on road, soil and water protection in large scale industrial sand mining, etc. Therefore it is imperative that we work cooperatively to implement a solid ordinance that will protect the county and stand up if challenged.

Most of us agree that the existing Highway Department building/shop needs to be replaced, and the County Board is looking into options for a new building. While this has been a lengthy process, it is imperative that we have all of the facts and figures for each and every option researched in detail, so that we can make a wise decision that in the long-run is cost-effective, is not extravagant, but results is an efficient facility that meets our needs.

Citizens are welcome to attend our county board meetings, which are held the first four Tuesdays of each month at 9 a.m. in the commissioner's room that is located on the second floor of the Historic Courthouse. Also, feel free to contact either myself or any other county commissioner if you have any questions or concerns. Our contact information is located on our website: www.co.houston.mn.us

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the honor and privilege of serving the citizens of this county as a member of the County Board.

Sincerely,

Teresa Walter

Commissioner, District 4 & Houston County Board Chairperson