• Incumbent wants to serve second term on county commission
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of four profiles of candidates for Brookings County Commission. Alan Gregg is seeking the post for the second time, as a Republican candidate. Also running for one of two open spots on the commission are Republican Ryan Krogman and Independents Larry Jensen and Tom Yseth.
BROOKINGS – Having settled into his work on the Brookings County Commission, Alan Gregg believes he can serve voters even better the second time around.
“I think I can make a difference, and I think I have made a difference. And, I don’t think the citizens of Brookings County get a bang for their buck on a one-term commissioner,” Gregg said.
“You kind of learn as you go, and I think you can be a lot better commissioner on a second term, just because it’s somewhat overwhelming when you first start out, because you’re immediately on 10 boards that, most of them, meet monthly. And there’s a lot of meetings you have to attend that, before I ran, I probably never put a lot of thought into that.
“It’s very time consuming, and I wouldn’t be able to occupy this office if it wasn’t for my wife and staff,” he said.
As a commissioner, Gregg serves this year on the oversight boards of Brookings Area Transit Authority, Brookings Board of Health, Inter-Lakes Community Action and Joint Powers Board. He is also liaison to the Brookings County Highway Department and is a Brookings County Department of Transportation committee member.
Some of these appointments are a natural selection for Gregg, who owns Brookings-based Dakota Service & Repair with his wife, Carol. He is currently president of the National Towing and Recovery Association of America and a board member of the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame & Museum.
Gregg, 64, was raised on a farm about 10 miles north of Pierre. He has lived in Brookings for 30 years now; he and Carol have three children and seven grandchildren.
Gregg joined the commission in 2008 after earning more votes than incumbent Emil Klavetter. He served as commission chair during the 2010-2011 year.
Asked which issues will be important to the commission moving forward, Gregg said the board is in the middle of several big decisions.
“The issues that I’d like to handle – and I’d like to handle them, preferably, tomorrow – is dealing with the issue that the townships have with us on the maintenance of the roads and figuring out how we’re going to handle 4-H and the Resource Center,” he said.
Gregg has attended meetings of the Brookings City Council lately to stay informed about the city’s interest in building a hotel and conference center next to the Swiftel Center. If the city pursues this, it will almost certainly ask to buy the county-owned Resource Center, which is attached to Swiftel.
“This (development) company is not one to sit on property that isn’t theirs, I don’t think, and that Resource Center would be right in the middle of what they want to do,” Gregg said.
The commission voted to approve its final 2013 budget Tuesday. In that budget it set aside money that could be used to fund a new home for 4-H, which is now housed in the Resource Center, if commissioners decide to sell that property.
Gregg said he’d also like to set aside money for townships to use on large projects. Several Brookings County townships have said they are being treated unfairly when it comes to revenue from wind towers. They are responsible for upkeep and clearing of roads leading to wind towers within their borders but are not receiving enough tax revenue from those towers to pay for the work.
“There’s been discussion about setting some money aside for the townships, for not just normal maintenance, but if they have a culvert that’s washed out and we could help them with some culverts or something like that,” Gregg said.
The commission is also trying to stretch its money for bridge repair as federal money is short right now, he added. Meanwhile, it is feeding money into some large road projects. Brookings County will help to reconstruct Highway 14 next year, Gregg said, and is trying to get a grant to help oil the county’s two-mile portion of 34th Avenue South (also known as 473rd Avenue), which sits east of Brookings in the industrial area near where the Bel Brands USA cheese plant will be built.
“All the people in manufacturing – you know, from Daktronics to all of them over there – are really concerned about how their employees are going to get in and out of there safely,” he said. “So, we’re not lacking for important issues.”
Gregg said during his first term, he’s appreciated the help of commissioners who have been around a while to supply background information about the various issues.
“It’s been interesting, and it’s been enjoyable this first term,” he said. “It’s been a learning experience and I think I’ve done good in this first term but, I think I can do a lot better in the second term.”
Contact Charis Prunty at cprunty@-brookingsregister.com.