My reasons for running for City Commission are simple. I feel that young adults are underrepresented in our current administration. People of my generation are an important part of Pratt’s future. I want to be their voice. I also want to see our community grow. In order to reduce our taxes, we need to expand our community in a positive direction. I have no agenda to speak of, no axe to grind, and have nothing but the best interest of the citizens and the city in mind. Having no city commission experience to speak of, I like to think I can offer a fresh perspective on issues facing our community and will do what it takes to grow into a positive and prosperous leader. Just like the city motto “Pratt has something to offer”, I believe I have something to offer Pratt.
Q: Why are you running for City Commission?
A: My reasons for running for City Commission are simple. I feel that young adults are underrepresented in our current administration. People of my generation are an important part of Pratt’s future. I want to be their voice. I also want to see our community grow. In order to reduce our taxes, we need to expand our community in a positive direction. I have no agenda to speak of, no axe to grind, and have nothing but the best interest of the citizens and the city in mind. Having no city commission experience to speak of, I like to think I can offer a fresh perspective on issues facing our community and will do what it takes to grow into a positive and prosperous leader. Just like the city motto “Pratt has something to offer”, I believe I have something to offer Pratt.
Q: Name three things you like about Pratt.
A: 1. The small town feel.
2. We have a great quality of life.
3. Our citizens are concerned and want to see our city succeed.
Q: Name three things about Pratt you would like to change.
A: 1. Some of our well traveled streets are in bad need of repair.
2. I would like to make it easier for prospective businesses and citizens to call Pratt home.
3. I would like to see the city take advantage of current technology to expand its web presence and develop an e-government solution much like Hutchinson, Salina, and Wichita.
Q: Your thoughts on the (south) Main Street project.
A: The city will need to work extensively with Main Street businesses to develop a plan which minimizes the disruptions this major project will create. Through cooperation and advanced planning, I believe we can develop “business as usual” solutions to ensure businesses and customers will be minimally inconvenienced. While brick streets evoke a sense of nostalgia that helps give Pratt that small town feel, this project is much needed and well overdue.
Q: Your thoughts on the U.S. 54 expansion and bypass.
A: Many may view the expansion and bypass as another nail in our city’s coffin, but I choose to take a more optimistic view on what this could mean for Pratt and its citizens. The city commission should create a comprehensive strategic plan for the area around the bypass in order to create a new gateway to the city. The realization of rapid economic development, business relocation, and expansion in this area should have a considerable positive impact on taxes and population. A healthy and inviting gateway into the city will draw travelers in and onto Main Street.
Q: Your stance on taxes in general.
A: Nobody likes to pay taxes, but Benjamin Franklin was correct when he said only death and taxes are certain. In terms of property taxes, Pratt County residents do pay a premium, but it is sometimes difficult to see the forest for the trees. It is commonly misunderstood that the city has control of the majority of these taxes. In reality, the City of Pratt is only responsible for approximately 21 percent of a Pratt resident’s total property tax bill. It is important to make this delineation, as the city has no control over the majority of property taxes Pratt citizens pay. The current and previous city administrations have lowered the city mill levy by roughly 6 mills since 2004. I believe all Pratt citizens would expect to see continued city mill reductions and I would like to work to make that a reality. We have a pretty small fixed base of citizens to spread this burden over, so the more people who choose to call Pratt home, the less taxes we have to pay. Sales tax, however, is a different issue. Pratt County’s sales tax is average compared to other counties in Kansas. We have a very large variable base of patrons to spread this burden out on. Given the choice, I would rather spread a sales tax burden over a base of roughly 55,000 people who purchase goods and services than a property tax burden over a base of roughly 5,800 property owners.
Q: Your thoughts on city/county/government relationships.
A: I really cannot comment on these relationships as I have no basis on which to form an opinion. As the largest municipality in the county, anything that can be done to strengthen the relationships between these two governing bodies is always advantageous. A good starting place would be to combine services offered by both bodies, where applicable. This should increase the efficiency and cohesiveness of the two governing bodies while resulting in a cost savings for both.
Q: Your vision of Pratt’s future.
A: My vision for Pratt’s future is one of continued prosperous economic and population growth, tempered with financially conservative policies, creating a sustainable future for the citizens and city of Pratt.
Q: How do you stand on term limits?
A: I believe that term limits are imposed by the will of the people at an election, not by legal restriction. It is a detriment to lose the knowledgebase an experienced commissioner possesses. However, if it is the will of the people to enact term limits by legal restriction, the will of the people shall prevail.
Q: Are you in favor of the Maple Street extension?
A: I am in favor of the Maple Street extension. There are virtually no open lots in the city available for new construction and this area is the logical choice for residential expansion. While the city would be spending money to pay for the road, it will be paid back through taxes assessed in this new development.
Q: How would you further Pratt’s growth?
A: I would further Pratt’s growth by fostering a climate of positive economic and population growth, maintaining and improving its citizens quality of life, and supporting or creating initiatives to retain current citizens and businesses. I believe Pratt is at a crossroads, of sorts, where we can choose to do what it takes to be successful or maintain the status quo and stagnate. I choose success, and I hope our citizens will as well.