Sivarajah re-elected county board chairperson

Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah was re-elected chairperson of the Anoka County Board this morning (Tuesday, Jan. 7).

Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah has been re-elected chairperson of the county board.
Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah has been re-elected chairperson of the county board.

Sivarajah represents District 6 on the county board. The district comprises the cities of Columbus, Lino Lakes, Centerville, Circle Pines, Lexington, a portion of southeast Blaine and Linwood Township.

Re-elected by a unanimous vote of the county board at its first meeting of 2014, Sivarajah has served as chairperson the past three years.

Sivarajah was first elected to the county board in 2002 and re-elected in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

The board also unanimously elected County Commissioner Scott Schulte as vice chairperson.

Schulte is in his first term on the board, having been elected in 2012. He represents District 7, which includes the western part of Coon Rapids, most of Anoka and two precincts in southern Andover.

In remarks following her re-election as county board chairperson, Sivarajah thanked her fellow board members for their confidence in her.

“We have a wonderful team, not only on the county board, but with staff as well,” she said.

The board has “accomplished amazing things the past two years,” according to Sivarajah.

These include reducing the property tax levy three straight years, two straight years of “not borrowing a dime” and reducing the county’s debt from $220 million to $175 million by the end of 2014, Sivarajah said.

The board has focused on efficiency, transparency and “making sure we serve our customers in the best way possible,” she said.

The county has a great opportunity this year to continue to increase efficiency, transparency and customer service with the launch of a “digital campus,” a revamped county website that will meet the needs of people and provide convenient service, according to Sivarajah.

The county board has a great staff to implement its policies and “we look forward to a wonderful year,” Sivarajah said.

Few changes were made by Sivarajah to the county board committee structure, but Schulte and County Commissioner Julie Braastad, who was also elected to the board in 2012, were named chairpersons for the first time.

Braastad will chair the Intergovernmental and Community Relations Committee, while Schulte was named chairperson of the Transportation Committee.

In addition, the board approved Sivarajah’s recommendation that Braastad replace her as the county’s representative on the Association of Minnesota Counties’ Board of Directors.

That will dovetail with Braastad’s role as chairperson of the Intergovernmental and Community Relations Committee, Sivarajah said.

Braastad represents District 2 on the county board. The district includes Ham Lake and East Bethel as well as portions of Andover and Blaine.

Organizational meetings for the Anoka County Regional Rail Authority and the Anoka County Housing and Redevelopment Authority also took place Tuesday morning.

The rail authority unanimously re-elected County Commissioner Matt Look as chairperson, then elected Schulte as vice chairperson, replacing Sivarajah.

Schulte will also replace Sivarajah as one of two Anoka County representatives to the Northstar Corridor Development Authority.

Look is the other county representative, while Sivarajah will be the alternate.

Braastad was sworn in as a new member of the housing and redevelopment authority for District 2.

Bill Nelson retired from the authority at the end of 2013 after many years representing District 2.

Schulte, who was named to the authority as well as its chairperson last year following the death of longtime chairperson and authority member Paul McCarron, was unanimously re-elected chairperson.

County Commissioner Robyn West was re-elected vice chairperson, while Braastad was elected secretary/treasurer and chairperson pro tem.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]