Current initiative — Water governance in Hennepin County
Water governance in Hennepin County includes at least six state agencies, eleven watershed organizations, 44 municipalities, the Metropolitan Council, a Soil and Water Conservation District, two park districts and county environmental services. Our laws and policies are piecemeal and siloed; our governance is fragmented and our programs are disjointed across agencies and political subdivisions that often have conflicting statutory mandates. While the system we have in Hennepin County has seen some success in the past decade, many of us believe we can do better.
We have the opportunity to coordinate our approach to prioritize and focus on the improvement of the quality of our waters and better treat water as a system. We can design an improved system and we have started to evaluate the potential for change. Below are resources for your review. One is a report completed for Hennepin County by the Center for Science, Technology and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota that identifies potential opportunities. Based on this study, I have drafted a proposal, a starting point for discussion moving forward. I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.
Jeff Johnson Draft Proposal (PDF)
U of M Water Governance Study (PDF)
There is no more important role of government than public safety. The county funds and operates a very large corrections department (which includes the Adult Corrections Facility in Plymouth and the Juvenile Detention Center in Minneapolis) and funds the County Sheriff’s Office, the County Attorney’s Office, and part of the Public Defender’s Office.
County roads and bridges are crucial to the citizens of northwest Hennepin County. We should make certain those roads and bridges are in good repair and able to meet the capacity needs of commuters before spending on expensive transit projects that will only be used by a tiny percentage of citizens.
Safety net for the most vulnerable
Generally, counties are the governmental entities in Minnesota that deliver human service programs. We should focus those programs on the most vulnerable in our county (for example, physically or developmentally disabled citizens, elderly citizens or mentally ill citizens) and, where possible, focus programs on promoting self-reliance.
Curious about the services county government provides? Want to learn more about what happens to your tax dollars? The Hennepin County Citizens Academy has a spring and fall session. Learn more about the curriculum or sign up for the Fall 2013 waiting list at Citizen's Academy.