Q. If voters should reject the $4 million bond issue for the south Lawrence trafficway during the general election should the county proceed with plans for the road? If yes, what action should be taken?
A. If the voters reject the southwest Lawrence trafficway, I will take a significant role in determining the reasons for its failure.
If there are alternatives or changes in the proposal that can be made to create an acceptable project, I will find them.
This is an issue of traffic congestion that has been building for years and that problem will not go away. Solutions may be more difficult to identify but that is the challenge of any good leader.
I do feel that if changes are made to the proposal, they must be put before the voters of Douglas County for their approval.
Q. What steps will be necessary in the next few years to ensure that the county has adequate jail or detention facilities for both juveniles and adults.
A. As long as our society struggles with problems of crime, drugs and delinquency, we will need to maintain adequate jail facilities.
In order to avoid overcrowding at our current jail facility, a need for a juvenile detention facility is real. We have the expertise to operate the facilities and receive state funding for its construction and I think this is an opportunity to relieve pressure on our current jail facilities.
We need to maintain a separation of juvenile and adult offenders in our system and with strong leadership, we can finance and build the facility in such a manner as not to overburden the property taxes that we pay.
Q. What should the county's role be in producing the planning document Horizon 2020? What planning philosophies regarding development and land use to you want to see reflected in that document?
A. The county and its citizens should participate greatly with the development of Horizon 2020. The planning commission will orchestrate the majority of the work but the county must participate with input where needed.
Although Horizon 2020 is an opportunity to create one comprehensive plan for the entire county, it is important to remember one thing. Plan '95, the County Guide Plan, the Clinton Mini Plan and neighborhood plans are all viable documents for Douglas County.
These plans need to be refined, not rewritten. Basic land-use concepts such as a strong downtown and restricting the majority of commercial development to the city are all strong foundations on which to build Horizon 2020.
Q. What, if anything, can the county do to lower taxes; or is the county faced with the need to find alternative sources of financing, such as a countywide sales tax? What specific programs would you like to see funded if such a tax were enacted?
A. Lowering taxes is the most difficult task for any elected official. Many citizens feel property taxes are the most important issue today.
The county must continue its effort to lower property taxes by operating county services efficiently.
The other area we can reduce tax pressure is to continue to expand the tax base with sound jobs for our residents. Supporting balanced growth can assist us in spreading the individual costs that each of us pay.
I do not support a countywide sales tax at this time. A continued look at individual user fees should be considered.
Q. If elected, what will be your top three priorities as a county commissioner?
1. Control property tax levels. We must make every effort to minimize the pressure on our property taxes. We need to operate county services within the budget. The commission must look at the appraisal process as reappraisals occur to ensure consistency and equity. I will be a voice to our legislators to support changes in re-classification that created some of the tax shifts.
2. Cooperation and leadership. I hope to be a part of a commission that has positive common goals for Douglas County. Together we can accomplish needed funding for important projects but we must not create divisions among governmental bodies if we are to serve the public effectively.
3. Eastern Parkway. Being optimistic both road projects pass, I will make every effort to assist in obtaining the necessary funding for the eastern parkway. I am committed to a road system that serves the entire county and the eastern parkway is the next link in that system.