County chair candidates visited with the Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce during a networking coffee event at Golden Living Center on July 11.
There are three candidates vying to become the Johnson County Chair of the Board of Commissioners – Ed Eilert, the incumbent; Ed Peterson, a county commissioner; and Patricia Lightner, a former state legislator.
The field of three will be pared to two candidates in a non-partisan primary election on Aug. 5.
Peterson told members and guests of the Spring Hill chamber that the county is losing creative people by not appropriately funding county services. Specifically, he said he’d like to see more resources directed to the Johnson County Library and to transportation services.
“If you’re not changing, you’re falling behind,” Peterson told the crowd of a few dozen people.
Lightner said the commission recently voted to increase the mill levy or tax rate in the 2015 budget, which she opposes.
“There are lots of things we can do,” she said. “I would not have voted to increase the mill levy.”
Eilert said he’s proud of what the county has accomplished in during his 3.5 years as county chair. He said the mill levy increase is to replace funding the county will lose due state statute changes that eliminate the mortgage registration fee. Before this year, he said the county did not increase taxes, despite the challenges of the economic downturn.
“We did not raise taxes,” he said. “We generated more revenue.”
The Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce will next host candidates running for the Kansas Senate from the 37th District. The district includes Spring Hill, Edgerton and the south side of Gardner.
In that race, Sen. Molly Baumgardner faces former state Rep. Charlotte O’Hara. The two will face off in the Aug. 5 Republican primary election. There is no Democrat opponent.
The chamber will host the candidates over lunch from noon to 1 p.m. on July 18 at the Spring Hill Community Center, 613 Race Street.