Douglas County Commission candidate John Tacha chats about primary election
July 21, 2008
This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
John Tacha is a Republican running for Douglas County Commission in the 3rd District.
Hello and welcome to the first of at least six LJWorld.com Election 2008 chats we're having this week. I'm Online Editor Jonathan Kealing and I'll be your moderator. We have with is today John Tacha, a Republican running for the third district. John, thanks for joining us today.
My pleasure--this is a new venue for an "old dog" and I'm looking forward to it. Thanks for the opportunity.
We have several questions already but we're still taking more. If you have a question for John, please post it and we'll get to as many as we can. Here we go.
Do you feel that Douglas County Real Estate is appraised close to true market value?
How do you propose to hold the line on our taxes?
II'm not sure about that--I do know that until recently, most people would not have been happy selling their homes for their appraised value, so my best guess is that the appraisals have been pretty fair to this point. I would hope that one way to hold the line on taxes would be to encourage the various govt. entities--school boards, city commissions, county commissions to hold regular sessions where cooperative ventures could be explored as ways to save tax dollars. For example, if we looked at maintenance--all the entities have maintenance yards, administrators, computer systems, phone systems, etc.--what if we explored the possibility of having ONE maintence system for the county and put some of the existing yards back on the tax rolls?
What is your position on using tax abatements in an effort to bring more business to the area?
I have always felt that tax abatements are something to be utilized, IF there are parameters on those abatements. For example, after 1 year, 2 years, etc., there needs to be an analysis of the receiving party to see if they have lived up to their projections of increased hirings, etc. If not, then a penalty or discontinuance of the abatement should be considered. There should be NO free abatements without responsibilities lined out for the receiving parties.
Why did you decide to run for county commission?
I have grown up with the idea that one should give back to the "community" in which he/she lives. I have served as President of several entities in the County--school board, Cottonwood, School-Business Parnership, School Endowment, VP of Chamber for community affairs. I think I have the ability to get people to set down together and visit about ways to work for the common good. I think that the fact I have owned and operated a business in the County for the past 35 years and lived with a budget will give me insight into that part of the commission's rold. Basically, I think I can bring new ideas to the plate in terms of saving tax dollars while at the same time being a proponent of bringing in new job opportunities for the county.
I would like to remind our readers that they can still post questions in this chat. Also, John, can you tell our readers what you think of the current commission's proposal to increase the current mill levy by about 2.9 mills?
I think that the current commission has done a very good job in tough times to prepare this current proposal.
Would you fund the Division Pro Tem, which handles child support, juvenile offenders and first appearances, of the Douglas County District Court?
SOMEONE needs to fund this very important position. AGain, I would hope that my ability to get people to work TOGETHER would enable different entities to discuss how to fund the position. The taxpayers are not really concerned as to how many mills each entity taxes them--only what their TOTAL tax bill is. Working together to save tax dollars is again one of my top priorities.
How do you feel about the Couty economic development funding?
The county needs to be an ACTIVE partner in economic development--not just in securing sites, but also in working on all the other parts of making sure that interested businesses can see that our county is COMMITTED to making things happen for them. This means putting money aside, as Bob Johnson has suggested, being a vocal partner with the chambers and the cities, and again, setting time aside for serious discussions with these entities to make sure everyone is on the same page. New job opportunities makes for a more successful county, more sales tax revenues, more home sales, a better chance to keep our young people "home", etc. We need new job opportunities and the county needs to be a leader in this endeavor
It looks like you are the only candidate who owns and operates a business. How do you think your business experience will benefit the citizens of Douglas County if you are elected to the Douglas County Commission?
How do you see the County's role in promoting Economic Development?
two answers--first of all, owning and operation a business for 35 years will be very helpful when looking over the budget requests each year and in looking for ways to save tax dollars. Secondly, as president of the Lawrence school board for 2 terms was helpful in looking at 70,000,000 annual budgets and also in seeing over $100,000,000 in capital improvements for the District come in under budget. There is no quesiton that those two things should ensure the voter that they are getting a candidate that understands budgets and how to live within them.
Mr. Tacha, the county taxpayers bought land from wilma miller over 20 years ago for $750,000 for East Hills. Now 20 years later, why has no profit been made from the sale of the lots there? We are now putting up more tax dollars for more land purchase. The county is not good at real estate investment. How do you plan to change that?
I am not sure if any profit has been made from that purchase or not--I'll have to delve into that issue to give you a good answer. I do know that just having some land available has not been "good enough" for some prospective businesses who have looked at Douglas County. The ability to have unified and positive "vibes" from all the players in terms of economic development must be there to make prospective businesses comfortable with making our county their choice. Frankly, that has not always been there in the past 20 years, and I feel that I can help in that vein--getting the different parties to TALK together, to PLAN together, to SHARE costs together, to feel a win-win situation for all concerned. We have a wonderful county and we just haven't done a very good job of selling ourselves as a UNIFIED body.
What do you feel is the most important issue the county faces and how do you plan to tackle it?
Actually 2 issues:
1. Saving tax dollars by cooperative ventures
2. Job opportunities.
Again, my strengths would be my ability to get people to work together for the common good--in this case, saving tax dollars and increasing job opportunities. Some of the tax dollar savings would be put to use in economic development endeavors. We are a crossroads in Douglas County, and I hope to put my business and leadership experience to work over the next 4 years to help move us forward.
That's all the questions we have today. John, thanks for joining us. And thanks to all of you who sent in questions. If you'd like to post a question in any of our upcoming chats - including a just-agreed to chat with U.S. Senate candidate Lee Jones on Wednesday - you can log on to LJWorld.com/chats. You can also find transcripts of our previous chats with county commission candidates there.
This was fun and I would hope that any questions that didn't get answered today could get that answer by going to my web-site at johntacha.com. Thanks for this opportunity and please remember to vote on August 5. The years ahead are critical ones and we need to have our candidates elected by large representations of voters.