QUESTION: What life experiences or personal qualities prepare you to be an effective county commissioner?
While growing up in Marion County, I’ve learned it takes friendship and hard work with others to accomplish a project so that everyone may enjoy it—whatever the project may be.
Serving as council member and mayor in Peabody and Marion County Commissioner, you learn that you can solve someone’s complaint by listening and giving reasons as to why things are being done the way they are.
For the past 22 years, my job has allowed me to cover about 80 percent of Marion County every day. I see what is happening from the south end to the north end, and what needs to happen.
I believe we all know we cannot stay the same as it has been, which means we must step out of the box and find new ways. This does not mean we forget, or not help, what we already have established in the county. I am willing to help the many different needs of our county.
QUESTION: Tell us why you favor, or don’t favor, the community corrections center project as it is currently proposed by the Board of Commissioners.
I do support the proposed community corrections center that the commission is trying to get on the November ballot.
The goal of this project is to update and, at the same time, provide a chance for this to pay for itself instead of us, the taxpayers, funding it.
This past year, we have hired more employees to meet the state fire marshall’s expectations, costing us around $100,000 per year. The sad part of that is this money did not improve our conditions or safety for our employees.
The 1983 jail expansion added three small holding cells and some office space. The question for this project is not only to look at today’s needs, but this could take care of our needs 50 to 75 years in the future for Marion County.
QUESTION: What are your three best ideas for responding to the budget pressures facing the county in the current economic climate?
It’s not only the commissioners, but every elected official, department heads and every county employee needs to be frugal in spending the tax dollars that determine our budget each year.
Over 30 days ago, the commission met with department heads and asked for them to reply with any ideas or thoughts on ways to hold the existing budget. A few have responded, but not all.
As a taxpayer myself, I don’t like large increases in the mill levy without whoever is raising the levy to completely evaluate, possibly leading to cuts in labor or positions that are not needed, or programs that are not producing positive results.
I have a voting history of small mill increases or holding the line.
Since you have asked about increasing the mill levy, I would hope that my opponent in the primary would tell you that he voted yes to a 14-mill levy increase for the 2008 budget the city of Peabody is operating on this year.
In my opinion, he and other council members did not evaluate because they continued to hire new staff in a couple of departments that could have waited until the budget supported more staff.
As commissioners, we have to support new ideas to help economic development and ways to draw young people to our county to put kids in our schools.
QUESTION: What is one thing the Board of Commissioners could do in the next term that would make the most positive impact on the economic and/or population growth of Marion County?
Always listen to any ideas presented, continue to try turning around large items of expense into positive cash flow (trash and recycling), formulate the best possible county road plan, and promote Marion County as the No. 1 place to raise a family in Kansas.
I have pursued these ideas in my present term, and will continue to do so if elected for a second term.