By Sarah Pridgeon
Otto Schlosser will join the race to win a seat on the County Commission at the upcoming elections. Wishing to update the county’s approach to budgeting and stay ahead of economic development, Schlosser believes in maintaining the small and intimate feel of the community.
“My primary concern is looking at how we can keep the county focused on the legitimate and necessary functions that we all depend on and to avoid delving off into areas where we don’t necessarily need the county to be involved as much,” Schlosser says.
“I would also like to make sure that the services that we need are provided as efficiently as possible.”
“I can run all of the equipment that they use on the road and bridge crew. I may not be the very best operator but I’m very proficient with all the equipment,” he says.
“I understand cost structures and building roads. I’ve actually built roads, we have ten miles of private road that we maintain before we even get to the county road.”
Schlosser also feels that he will work well as part of the team that makes up the county’s government.
“I feel that I’ve got the ability to take everyone’s ideas and opinions into consideration and synthesize those to come up with the best plan and to be very open-minded in that regard and not stuck on my own ideas,” he says.
“I think, in a position like this, I could work together with people and take everyone’s positions and come up with the best ideas.”
Schlosser grew up right outside Hulett and has lived in the same quarter-mile circle for almost his entire life, except for his time away at college.
“I graduated from Hulett and then attended the University of Dallas in Texas, where I earned two degrees in four years in business and economics. That’s where I met my wife, Demarest, and we got married and moved back here,” he says.
“We have some bentonite on our ranch and I’ve been working the last several years developing that. We have four kids together and I enjoy living in the county and like that it’s rural and that there’s not a lot of government intrusion into our lives here.”
One of Schlosser’s primary focuses should he be elected to the County Commission is, he says, to switch away from the “archaic accounting model that the government has used forever.”
“What I say is that they’re doing the budget by the sundial. We need to switch to zero-based budgeting, in which every department will start with a clean slate,” he explains.
“They need to define the services that they are entrusted to provide, evaluate the alternative options to deliver those services and then prioritize the services according to necessity.”
Schlosser would like to see this then used to build new budgets. He does not necessarily believe this should be done every year, but on a regular basis.
“At least every two to four years so that we can build a real budget that’s accountable and empower the people in each department to make decisions about their budgets,” he says.
“More so than just adding inflation and new costs to last year’s budget, which was based on the budget before that and the budget before that.”
Schlosser would also like to ensure that the small feel of the courthouse as it currently runs is maintained.
“It’s nice to go over there where you know everybody and it’s not like you’re walking into downtown New York,” he says.
“I would like to keep the county with that small feeling and not get into the area where we’re telling everyone what they can and can’t do with their own property and their own business around the county.”
Schlosser would also like to see the county focus on the growth that is likely to happen in the years ahead.
“Aside from ensuring that our money is used efficiently, we’re having a lot more economic activity in the area with pipelines going through and potential new mining operations, the uranium and the rare earth. I think it’s important to stay ahead of that,” he says.
“Not necessarily the county butting into everybody’s business, but making sure the county and the companies that are using the roads have understandings.”
Schlosser would like to see the county and companies work together to make sure not only that the county roads can be maintained, but to create a situation where the roads can be improved.
“That would ensure that the companies have a road they can depend on for their business and that the local residents get an improved road at a lower cost to the county, so that everybody can win,” he says.
To contact Schlosser with questions or to discuss his candidacy further, he encourages members of the community to call him at 307-878-4497 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org