Johnson Countians next Tuesday will make decisions on leadership positions for the County Commission and determine the fate of proposed sales tax increases in Mission and Roeland Park.
Here is a summary of The Star’s recommendations:
- Steve Klika and Calvin Hayden are well-qualified candidates for the nonpartisan commission seats.
Klika, running in the 3rd District, brings a strong history of involvement with the Blue Valley School District’s board of education. He also has broad knowledge of mass transit options the county will need to pursue in the future as its population ages. His opponent is Terry Presta, who unfortunately has released a negative ad attacking Klika’s work to develop a good transit plan.
Hayden, the 6th District incumbent, has done what his constituents want by holding the line on taxes and providing solid constituent services. His opponent is John Toplikar, who in his previous time as a commissioner was unhelpful in preparing realistic county budgets.
- In Mission, voters should say “no” to a three-eighths cent sales increase that is designed to help replace the city’s aging outdoor pool, and perhaps support other parks and recreation projects.
The city has not made a compelling case to raise taxes while it is moving forward with the Mission Gateway economic development project, which should boost tax revenues in coming years.
- In Roeland Park, voters also should say “no” to a large three-quarter cent sales tax increase. It is expected to help the city make up for lost revenue from the Walmart store that is expected to close in the next year or so, before a new Walmart opens in Mission Gateway.
That gives Roeland Park time to further trim its governmental expenses and to examine ways to work with other, larger cities to share costs for some of its public services.