I am seeking re-election to be District 3 County Commissioner. For the past 12 years, I have served Lyon County in this position and would like to continue this service for another term. I have worked with the communities of Olpe, Hartford, and Emporia with a lifetime of community service and common sense leadership. I am a leader, listener, and have a cooperative attitude when dealing with issues and residents.
The most critical financial challenge for Lyon County will be adjusting budgets due to lower tax revenue. The projected lower tax revenue is a result of both decreased property valuations and lower sales tax receipts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In weighing priorities for a project, the first step is to determine if the improvement or project is a “want” or a “need” of Lyon County. Obviously, a need is a higher priorty than a want. The second step is budget. Have we planned for the need in the budget or is it a need for immediate consideration? All capital outlay projects are funded through county sales tax receipts
The role of a county commission during a public health crisis is to serve as the public health board as established by the State of Kansas Statutes. The Lyon County Commission annually appoints a Public Health Officer to advise the commission on health issues. However, this is not the only source of counsel when issuing a public health order. The commission also seeks input from hospital professionals, business leaders, and the citizens (through emails, phone calls, and public comment in commission meetings) in order to mold a public health order for the county.
In the next 5 to 10 years, I see Lyon County maintaining a strong financial position by adjusting current budgets to help with the emergency needs caused by the Covid-10 pandemic. Historically, Lyon County has maintained good cash balances, or reserves, to handle the cost of all budgeted and unforeseen events, such as the cost of the 2011 Reading tornado, the six floods of 2019 and the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic. The “Reserves” have prevented disruptions, such as layoffs, furloughs, hiring freezes, etc., to the county's operations.
Furthermore, I firmly believe the county needs to play a larger role in the economic development. The economic base of the county needs to be expanded to include more small businesses, by engaging all economic development groups with a cooperative spirit to GROW Lyon County and prepare for the future.