Incumbent has more goals yet to accomplish

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: October 22. 2006 5:00AM PST

PRINEVILLE – Mike Mohan has been a commissioner on the Crook County Court for the last four years. But he has been an accountant for 30 years and that has a big influence on how he approaches his political role.

“I question decisions about lease versus buy, I question decisions about, ‘Do we need to buy this piece of equipment?'” Mohan said. “I’m pretty frugal in trying to oversee the public’s money as best I can.”

Mohan, a Democrat, is seeking a second term on the Crook County Court, running against former state representative Lynn Lundquist, a Republican. The part-time commissioner position pays $30,507 a year.

Mohan said his connections in the community and experiences as a small-business owner have been valuable in dealing with growth in the Prineville area and stress on the county infrastructure.

“I’m probably a lot more involved with this community (than my opponent), I think Mr. Lundquist has been working out of town for the last six years so I’ve got a lot more connection with Prineville, Powell Butte,” Mohan said. “I don’t bring a specific agenda to the court, I’m there trying to solve problems and make things work.”

His involvement with many local organizations – including the Kiwanis Club of Prineville, Crooked River Roundup, Crook County Little League and Pioneer Memorial Hospital – offer him valuable connections throughout the community, Mohan said.

One of the major issues facing the county, he said, is to continue to maintain the roads as the population increases. The county is facing budgetary problems in the next couple of years as the federal funding that compensates for timber revenues may disappear. Mohan said that funding accounts for 40 percent of the county’s budget for 600 miles of roads.

“(We are) trying to address these needs and provide those services to properly plan for those results,” he said. “It is a real challenge to continue to provide good service.”

Mohan said that currently no funding for roads comes from property taxes, and the county can not use money from the general fund for maintenance. If budget cutbacks occur, residents could see less staff and some roads not being plowed in the winter, he added.

Mohan is proud of his efforts to have more information available online for citizens. Next year, he said, Crook County residents may be able to begin paying their taxes online.

“My priorities have principally been to help to oversee how we operate as a government, to make sure that we’re doing things as efficiently as possible … and to make as much information available to the public in a manner as transparent as possible,” he said.

He added that archiving documents online improves government efficiency by reducing the number of calls made to the county clerk’s office.

For Mohan, serving as Crook County commissioner is a way to give back to the community.

“I’ve done a lot of things in my community over the years, and I see this as a continuation,” he said. “I see that I’ve got some skills that are useful to the county, and I’m very grounded in this county. I think I’ve got something to give.”

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