Election 101 Voters Guide: County Board: Rick Goutermont
Hometown: Silver Bay
Years in office: 18
Family: Wife Keri; children Jenny and Matt Cook, Dustin and Tina Goutermont, Kelly, Natalie; grandchildren Tucker, Levi and one on the way.
Profession: Control room operator for Northshore Mining.
Favorite spot on North Shore: Anywhere outdoors but I truly love being out on Lake Superior.
Q What are some accomplishments in your life that would lend well for the county board position?
A The fact that the public has chosen and supported me to represent them in office for the past 18 years is my personal success story. I believe my consistent common sense approach to the daily operation of the county is the reason for their continued support.
I have certainly been the voice behind many county successes, but by no means could any of these achievements been made solely by my efforts. It takes the entire county board, various departments, and other governmental agencies working together to accomplish any of the goals set by the board.
Q Broadband is likely coming. What are the next steps to make best use of the technological advances in the county?
A The fiber-to-the-home project is the largest single initiative ever taken on by Lake County. When completed, Lake County will be provided with the most advance video, audio, and data infrastructure in the world.
Outside of the legalities of setting up the business plan and construction of the system, I believe the largest hurdle we have to address is informing the public on exactly what will be available to them. We are in the process of putting together a team that will be responsible for getting endless amounts of information out to the public.
Q What are the most critical issues facing the county today and how do you plan to take them on?
A The most critical issue facing the county is certainly to maintain a balanced budget. Lake County is not unlike any other governmental entity or most households where revenues are shrinking and the demand on the dollars left is increasing. All expenditures need to be prioritized and justified.
All levels of government need to work together to reduce overlap of services and to share resources. State and federal governments need to be held accountable for the public land within Lake County and those revenue streams need to be maintained and improved.
With all our local government aid and then some being cut by the state, we have managed to tighten our belts enough to hold a zero-percent levy increase for 2010 and 2011.