Four candidates are vying for two spots in the Tuesday primary for the Johnson County Commission’s 3rd District.
The two winners will face each other in the Nov. 6 general election.
The candidates are Steve Klika, Michael Lally, Terry Presta and Benjamin Hodge. The race is nonpartisan but all are registered Republicans. They are competing for an open seat.
Across the board, the candidates are against building a new courthouse and against automatic commissioner pay raises.
Klika, 58, who is on the Blue Valley school board and the Johnson County transit board, said the success of the county lies with improved education and public works. He wants to increase development planning through improved public transportation and better schools.
“We have limited public transportation that has not evolved with the growth of the county,” Klika said. “Whether this is handled independently or through governance we will have to face this issue in the coming years.”
Lally, 51, wants to continue the Johnson County Commission’s current path. He does not favor any tax increases at this time, he said.
“We have been given a great gift by Johnson County and I think our biggest challenge is that we maintain the quality of life,” Lally said.
Annexation is a big issue for Hodge, 32. He says current law does not give rural residents enough rights when it comes to annexation.
“It’s a basic American right to have control over one’s property and one’s destiny,” Hodge said. “Today, law-abiding landowners in Kansas still do not have enough rights when it comes to annexation, or eminent domain.”
The other candidates disagree, saying changes in state law allow residents to vote on annexations greater than 40 acres.
Presta, 55, favors an increase in the county’s sales tax rate, he wrote in response to a Star questionnaire.
“The property tax was originally a tax on wealth as most property was not leveraged” in England, said Presta, who did not return phone calls seeking an interview. “In modern day America, most property is leveraged and property taxes have been over- emphasized on both individual and commercial classifications.”