Marion County Commission Candidate— Dan Holub

Dan Holub
Dan Holub
Editor’s Note: Dan Holub is a write-in candidate which as late into the race. We had the other commission candidates in last week. Look online to get all of them.

Dan Holub is running as a write-in Marion County commission candidate running for the newly created District 4 position. The newly created District 4 includes the townships of Gale (Canada), Centre (Marion City North and Marion County Park and Lake), Wilson (Aulne), Fairplay (West part of Florence) and Doyle (East part of Florence)

Holub was asked the same questions as the other three candidates and did not look at their responses before completing his own. Here are the answers submitted by the Republican candidate.

Q. What one part of County Government would receive more attention if you were elected?

A. Road and Bridge is the Department struggling the most and affects all county residents. They have 1600 miles of roads to maintain (200 miles of asphalt, 800 miles of gravel, 600 miles of minimum maintenance, and 285 bridges.). There are also countless culverts and concrete structures that do not meet the definition of bridges.

Budget restraints that limit personnel, equipment, and material coupled with weather such as this year’s rains all contribute to a difficult situation. What needs to be done is not in doubt, the question that is hard to answer is “how do we pay for it”.

Q. What do you see as the most pressing needs for infrastructure or capital projects in the County?

A. The Road and Bridge Shop area needs to be upgraded and relocated. As equipment gets bigger it barely fits into the shop anymore. They are close to having to work under shade trees. Also, all the operations taking place there and the size of the equipment has no business in a residential neighborhood and next to an Elementary School.

-The Court House has some serious structural issues that need to be addressed. Also, due to the times we live in Court security is going to have to be addressed in the near future. A visit to the third floor on Court Day will demonstrate the issues that need to be addressed.

Q. Should the County be encouraging building and development?

A. Absolutely. A county or a city for that matter is like a ‘living creature”, when it stops growing it starts dying. We should always be searching for possibilities that will enhance our community. Growth is essential!

Q. What is your experience with preparing or authorizing budgets?

A. I was involved with the County budgets during my previous 12 years on the Commission. I also had experience with school budgets while serving on the USD 408 BOE.

Q. If new resources were available, what one area of county services would you feel most needs additional resources?

A. This would go back to the first question. Road and Bridge would be my first concern, but not excluding other areas. One would have to take a hard look at everything and then prioritize.

Q. Are County Taxes too high, about right or pleasantly low? Explain.

This question requires a two part answer;

In some instances the taxes are surprisingly low. The County values property for tax purposes (assessed value) and mails the assessed value to property owners. This assessed value is used not only by the county but by all taxing entities in the county. Then all the taxing entities turn their tax levies over to the County who compiles the tax bill and sends it to tax payers. Once the taxes are paid to the county, the county then forwards each taxing entity their share. It is done this way for efficiency. The downside is the county many times gets credited for the entire tax bill, when in fact the county share is usually around half depending on location.

Having said that, this year some people complained they were not getting the gravel their taxes paid for. The following scenario is accurate with rounding of numbers used only for one location:

$150,000 home- Total tax-$2395 County share- $1235 Road and Bridge share of county share- $405 Total Gravel Department share of $405- $99 Maintenance Gravel line item- $50 Rebuild gravel line item- $13 The actual amount of tax from the $2395 tax bill devoted to gravel is $63. The cost for a mile of gravel at 500 tons per mile is $5000-$6000 depending on cost of gravel (varies $11-$12 a ton). Having your road graveled for $63 is a bargain.

The second part of the answer is taxes are way too high and it is because of the State of Kansas! In the 1930s Kansas instituted {(Local Ad Valorem Tax Reduction (LAVTR}”. It was established by statute and was designed to help keep property tax levels down. A various percentage of certain taxes (sales, tobacco, liquor etc.) was set aside for cities and counties. At the end of the year the revenue was divided among counties and cities state wide based on population. Starting in 2004 the State has kept it all, and since 2004 thru 2018 has withheld about $2.6 Billion from counties and cities statewide. Marion County has lost probably over $15 million.

Q. Would citizens get more effective services at a better rate if some county functions were handled by private providers?

Those decisions would have to be made on a case by case basis. Private providers have been used in some instances with success.

Q. What are some of our county’s biggest issues and challenges?

A. Economic Development has always been a hot topic item in this County and for good reason. The county had an Economic Development group in the past and recently tried to institute another. Both failed for the same reason, the people involved could not work together long enough to even establish by-laws. A centralized group to coordinate a county wide effort is essential. The larger cities have their own but the smaller cities and rural areas currently are not being served at all.

Q. What can be done to make the county more efficient and more effective? Would a County Administrator help the process?

A. There are very few problems unique to Marion County, other counties have faced the same issues. I feel it is incumbent on Elected Officials and Department Heads to converse with their counter parts in other counties to solicit ideas. Local citizens coming forward have also provided great input in the past, and should be encouraged to do so.

I voted against the Administrator idea for the following reasons:

No job description. The only reasons being put forward to justify this position during the election were “other counties had ones”, “cities had one”, “school districts had one”, and an administrator could write grants. No specific improvements or deficiencies to be corrected were identified that an Administrator would be expected to deal with to justify the money we would be spending.

No cost provided. I heard the $70,000-$80,000 price range being batted around for a salary. What was not discussed is benefits, staff, office space, equipment etc. I am sure all things considered, we are talking well over $100,000. All these questions would have to be answered (and pass a vote by the public) before I would consider hiring an Administrator.

Personal information.

Holub is retired from the Navy and retired in general. He previously served three terms on the County Commission (2004-2016). He is married with 6 children.