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Riley County Commissioner District 3

Riley County Commissioner District 3

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  • Kathryn Grace Focke

  • Candidate picture

    John E. Matta

Biographical Information

What do you see as the most pressing needs for infrastructure or capital projects in the county? How should they be paid for?

What policy changes or investments are necessary to encourage broader employment?

What element of the county government is most effective, and why?

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Personal Biography KSU Adjunct Professor CBA; Foot Locker VP of Logistics; Walt Disney Company Director of Distribution; Macy's Director of Distribution
Campaign Phone (785) 410-8648
Education MA, International Affairs; BA, Government
Community/Public Service Manhattan, KS City Commissioner & Mayor; Chairman Riley County Law Board; Republican Precinct Committeeman; Sunset Zoo Conservation Trust Board KSU CBA Graduate Advisory Council; Manhattan Chamber, Member; Junction City Chamber Board; Our Manhattan PAC Chairman; FHTP Educational Fund, Inc. Chairman 501 (c) (3)
The most pressing infrastructure need is the main EMS ambulance facility on Claflin Rd. It is inadequate. The ambulances barley fit into the facility which leaves little room for storage. The Director will be moving out due to lack of space in the facility. The kitchen is old, small and cannot handle two people at a time. Sleeping facilities are primitive and lacking which can require opposite sex individuals to share the same room. The medication room lacks proper ventilation which requires a fan to be manually placed in the room during hot time periods. The facilities shortcomings have caused the county to lose potential employees.

The cost should be covered by internal reserves and currently generated funds. Unfortunately, the current commission recently spent close to $900k on a dilapidated church facility that will require even more investment to upkeep. It is doubtful that facility can be sold for the original amount paid.
The commission needs to focus on economic development working with partners such as the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, K-State, the Kansas Farm Bureau, among others. The commission in general should drive things regionally and for Riley County as a whole. However, the commission should specifically target rural economic growth and set up a rural development advisory board to drive the initiative. The initiative will require surveys of current business and infrastructure needs as well as developing a target list of potential high ROI opportunities for the rural areas. Also, a guide to the many support services needs to be compiled.
The roads and bridge work funded by the half cent sales tax has been managed well. There is a board that reviews initiatives and successive commissions have maintained the promise to use the funds for the prescribed purpose. There is some frustration from citizens about the need for the extra tax for this purpose. However, the county has lost other funding which this tax has helped make up for.