Election brings change to county commission board

>The Free Press

Incumbent Marion County Commissioner in District 2 Dan Holub (R), lost to Dianne Novak (I), 715-994 in the Nov. 8 general election.

Novak said she wanted to thank all the people who placed their faith and trust in her.

“I want to thank Dan Holub for his many years of service to our country and his 12 years of dedication to the people of Marion County,” she said.

Holub and write-in candidate Mike Ben­e­ke, who received 253 votes, talked about what they see as priorities for the county.

“Everybody knows what to do (as commissioner), but how they are going to pay for it is disturbing,” Holub said in response to a recent pamphlet distributed by Novak.

He said the state is passing on the expense to counties that had been the responsibility of state government, citing juvenile detention and KanCare as pending examples.

KanCare is the state’s Medicaid program. It is managed-care combining healthcare, like doctor’s visits, with community long-term services and supports, like in the home.

“KanCare is butchering the Community Developmental Disability Organization, serving as a single point of entry for individuals and families needing services through the developmental disabilities system,” he said. “All the people needing these services are going by the wayside.”

A similar thing is happening to Prairie View Mental Health Services, he said.

County administrator

Beneke said he thinks one of the most important things for the county’s future is hiring a county administrator, a position similar to what is already in place within the city of Hillsboro and Marion.

“As the state puts more and more on the counties, that is where a county administrator is what I think is required,” he said.

Beneke said three individuals with limited education in county affairs and lack of time won’t get it done.

Other challenges

diannenovakAdding to an already grow­ing list of challenges, Ho­lub talked about MidCap, the Mid-Kansas Community Action Program.

“MidCap is getting beat up,” he said. “It’s another social program the state is throwing in the county’s lap.”

The program works with low-income families to help them address their needs and regain self-sufficiency, Holub said.

In addition to Marion County, Holub said Butler, Reno, Chase, Cowley, Harper, Greenwood, Harvey, Kingman and Sumner are focusing on additional support for the elderly, children and disabled.

Holub also addressed the 2012 income tax exemption, and how the state is using local ad valorem tax payments to pay its bills—even though its required to pay by statute.

“The demand payments would mean the state levies by statute, and the money then goes to the Treasury Department and from that each year money is given to the counties based on population,” he said.

The state collected the money, Holub said, but it didn’t put it in the Treasury Department, but instead put the money in the state’s general fund.

“To get it out of the general fund requires an appropriation bill, which requires le­gislative action—and the state won’t do it,” Holub said.

Roads are a priority

Roads need to be a priority, according to Beneke.

He said an eight-mile stretch at 330th Road (Roxbury) is one of the most unsafe stretches in Marion County.

“We spent $2.5 million with APAC, who had the contract, for a stretch on 40th, 60th, 120th and eight miles of 330th roads,” Beneke said. “That was a 2-inch overlay on six, one on 5.3 miles, and one for 8 miles.”

Most of the roads held, he said, except the Roxbury Road, where the base wasn’t sufficient.

Passing the torch

Soon to complete his 12th year, Holub said a lot of things happening in the state with KanCare, demand transfers, roads, CDDO and more.

He said it is important for a new commissioner to be aware of what is happening around the state.

“I studied for four months before being a sitting commissioner, and there’s so much stuff coming at you that you won’t see it coming,” he said.

Had Holub won this election, he would be starting his fourth term.

“After the election was over on Tuesday, I went to bed and had the best sleep I’ve had in a very long time,” he said.

Commission District 3

Incumbent Randy Dallke (R) of Peabody defeated candidate Tom Britain (I) of Florence, 1,078-493.

Dallke said he wanted to thank the people who voted for him.

“I bring any problems in District 3 to be discussed at the commission table,” he said. “I will also continue to visit with our residents as I have during the last 12 years.”

Britain said, “I think if I had been elected, I would do a good job—and I’m a glutton for punishment.”

He said EMS is an important core service, not just for Marion County, but for other counties, too. Road maintenance is important, also.

“I have driven a million miles of county roads, and there’s three things everybody needs to know about county roads,” he said. “The way to maintain gravel roads is drainage, drainage, drainage.”

As for economic development, Britain said, the tax rate in Marion County discourages businesses from moving here.

“Our mill levy is 74 percent,” he said. “Saline is 36 percent and Chase is 62 percent to name a few. Why move here when that’s what the property tax is?”

Britain said the county is taxing people out of their homes. He favors a property-tax lid.

“I think it should be up to the electorate,” he said.

Britain also favors recruiting a county administrator who is efficient, effective and accountable.

“We are spending all the money on consultants right now and I think we need a local (person) to understand our problems,” he said.

S46FP November 16, 2016 Don

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