It is time for the BOCC to step up and make the tough decisions needed for Johnson County to continue to be a livable and successful county.
We must have:
Transparency in governance
It is more important than ever that we have trust in our elected officials. Unfortunately, it has become much more difficult to understand the happenings and decisions that are being made on our behalf. Often times it seems nearly impossible to find the most basic information. As district commissioner, my #1 responsibility has always been to ask the hard questions on our current polices and procedures.
Why are we spending county funds for Racial Equity in Communities training (CRT) without a BOCC vote?
Why aren’t study sessions held in the BOCC Board room where they can be broadcasted to the public?
Why does the BOCC abdicate their responsibility to formulate policy and depend wholly on staff with little or no oversight?
Government should always be accountable to the people first, not special interest groups. Therefore, our solutions need to be looked at with an unbiased approach that involves a deep inquiry of all the options at our disposal. Under no circumstance should decisions be made behind closed doors. Elected officials, have a moral and civic responsibility to represent the people we serve. No tricks or deception and no hidden agendas.
Budget for the Future
With higher costs of living and looming inflation, it is paramount we get our budget under control. Currently, the BOCC is spending $1 billion of your tax dollars every year. One must ask. Where can we cut costs? I believe it is critical to maintain essential services such as public safety (including mental health services), strong educational institutions, and solid infrastructure. Let's work together to find ways to cut costs. For example: It is reasonable to require each department construct a new budget each year, rather than simply adding to the previous year. Do we always need more money? Maybe not.
We can use Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund ($118 million) federal money to pay down our debt. Additionally, we can stop funding the failed system of transit. By the end of 2024 we will have spent (local dollars) $144 million since 1995 on transit or 75% of the cost of our new courthouse to drive empty buses around JoCo.
Civility in Leadership - Education, Not Subjugation
There is no room for public officials to shield themselves from concerns of private citizens. Parental rights are basic and foundational to our Republic. Parents asking about their children's education, or residents who are worried about increasing property taxes should never feel shutout or viewed as a “problem”. An important aspect of leadership is to bring people together especially when we do not agree on issues. Mutual respect is an absolute necessity.
Local Priorities and Public Safety
Safe communities are prosperous communities. Our Sheriff must remain an elected position. The first responsibility for local officials is to serve and protect the resident's in their community. When making decisions on new developments, tax incentives, or county-wide mandates, it is important to understand the impacts on the residents who live here, not outside influences. There have been recent efforts to work across county lines with others and promote an idea known as "regionalism". Johnson County should not have Kansas City, MO telling us how to run our county. The Kansas City Area Transit Authority is not welcome to use imminent domain to take our private property, transfer it to developers, use Conduit Bonds for high density apartment projects and receive up to a 30 year property tax exemption.
As we move forward, our number one objective should be to provide the highest quality of essential services for our residents at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers. Johnson County is a wonderful place to do business and underwriting and subsidizing real estate projects is undermining our tax base and causing your taxes to increase.